An Italian angler is still catching his breath after reeling in a catfish that is likely the world’s largest such catch.
Allessandro Biancardi said the massive 330-pound kitten he captured in the Po River on May 25 was the result of 23 years of hard work.
He beat the previous world record by over an inch.
“Everything started as a normal day of fishing,” said Biancardi who is also a member of MADCAT, a professional fishing team. “I went to the great river Po. Before leaving, I checked knots, hooks, each connection, because I’m extremely meticulous. I always need to be 100% sure that everything is in place if a dream fish decide to bite my lure.”
While on his boat, Biancardi said the water level started to drop on Italy’s largest river following a big flood.
That’s when he decided to fish with a spinning technic and cast into the muddy water.
After a few casts, that’s when a powerful bite arrived.
Biancardi said the fish stood still for some seconds before starting a complicated fight between strong currents and a lot of submerged obstacles.
“I calmly managed to fight what I felt to be a prehistoric fish,” he said.
Biancardi followed the fish for 40 minutes before it surfaced.
That’s when he realized he hooked a “monster.”
“Adrenaline started pumping hard and the fear of losing it almost sent me into a panic,” he said. “I was alone facing the biggest catfish I ever seen in 23 years.”
After a few attempts of gloving the fish’s mouth, the animal was still too strong.
Biancardi said he decided to go in shallow water in an attempt to land it from shore.
After a few tries, he was successful.
“I tied the fish to let him recover from the long fight then I suddenly realized that the boat was not anchored, and it was going away in the current,” Biancardi recalled. “I was forced to have a swim to recover it with all my stuff.”
Biancardi wasted no time after that and called his friend to let others know back at camp what he just fought on his line.
“I was sure that the fish I caught was special, but I never imagined what would happen next when we measured the fish on the mat,” he recalled. “Under the incredulous eyes of many anglers, the meter stopped at 285 cm (9 feet, 4 inches), it was the new world record catfish!”
Following an official measurement and documentation of the catch, Biancardi said he safely released the massive fish back into the river to give another angler the same joy the fish gave to him.