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Monster landed amid dramatic scenes

Tostedt. Fighting a 130-kilogram catfish is never a cakewalk. However, what Black Cat team angler Benjamin Gründer and his guiding guest Markus Brock experienced at the end of January on the Po in Italy was something far more spectacular!
For over a year, Benjamin Gründer had been repeatedly noticing a very big fish on his fishfinder during his tours. He had spotted the fish no fewer than 21 times on a stretch of five kilometers of river. Gründer takes up the story: “Initially, I always thought it was obstacles on the bottom, like sunken trees, that would produce such a signal. But at a certain point, I realized it had to be a fish of monstrous proportions!”
He had his first chance to land the behemoth in December but, unfortunately, he lost the fish during the fight. After taking the bait at a depth of just 3.5 meters, the fish took off against the current like a steam train. Then disaster struck, the hook pulled out and the chance was lost.
At the end of January, Benjamin Gründer returned to the Heiner family's Wels Camp on the Po with two guiding guests, Kai Weber and Markus Brock, which he uses as a starting point for his vertical fishing tours.
In his luggage were the new Cat Balls from Black Cat. Cat Balls have been designed to allow silent and inconspicuous bait presentation. The big catfish on the Po are now familiar with vertical fishing and the noises a normal weight head makes on the bottom. As expected, at a water temperature of seven degrees, the fish were extremely passive. The anglers found most catfish in areas of slack water with a depth of three to five meters.
On the second day of their vertical tour, Benjamin detected the presumed giant specimen yet again but all attempts to convince it to take the bait were in vain. On 31 January, the anglers were given another chance. They spotted the giant on the fishfinder, around 600 meters away from its location the previous day.
A hand-sized crucian carp on a size 6 rigging hook and a size 3 ghost hook through the 130-gram Cat Ball were presented floating off the bottom. Markus Brock got his chance. The fish took his bait and the make-or-break battle commenced. The first 25 minutes proceeded according to plan.
However, Markus was unable to gain the upper hand in the fight and the fish remained stubbornly on the bottom. Then it swam, rather unhelpfully, through a sunken tree in six meters of water. This called for teamwork and creativity. Kai Weber had to try to hold the boat in the current while Markus Brock maintained pressure on the fish with the Black Cat Vertikal LS rod and Benjamin Gründer tried to free the line from the tree using the anchor.
In the event, the professional guide managed to use the anchor to haul the entire tree to the surface. Since nobody knew exactly how the line was tangled around the tree, Gründer decided to take drastic action. He wound the line around his arm and Kai Weber cut it free from the tree. The two guests were then able to untangle the line from the tree and tie it back onto the end wrapped around their guide's arm. Thankfully, that concluded the drama and, 20 minutes later, the fish made its first visit to the surface.
Markus Brock and Benjamin Gründer finally dragged the fish into the boat with their last vestiges of strength and everybody immediately realized that this was a fish of exceptional dimensions. The measuring tape recorded a length of 268 centimeters. The scales were dispensed with for the sake of the fish's wellbeing but its weight was estimated at 130 kilograms.