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Christian Ritzinger and Stefan Seuß break the magic mark: 2.81m catfish out of the Po!

Tostedt. Personal record? Po record? World record? Probably all three since Easter for Stefan Seuß, his personal record for sure! He crowned 25 years of trips as an angler and guide on the Po to Northern Italy with what is probably the largest European catfish ever caught with rod and reel.

The river monster, which can only be described as such, measured 2.81 meters in length in front of five witnesses. Of course, this magnificent fish was not weighed in a time-consuming manner, but was gently put back in the Po soon after it was caught. Experts estimate its weight to be far beyond the 140 kilo mark (309 lbs).

Stefan's guiding guest Christian Ritzinger seduced this incredible fish in the middle reaches of the river on Easter Monday at around 10 a.m. on a sandbank with a water depth of just two and a half meters. He used a Black Cat Passion G2 rod with a length of 2.40 meters - a sample rod that will be available in fishing shops from autumn 2023. He combined it with a Black Catextreme reel and Black Cat Zeus Line G2 with a diameter of 0.55 millimeters. The rig used was a stone rig and a 2.50 meter long and 1.2 millimeter thick mono leader with two red Micro-U floats and a bait fish.

Spring is known to be a good time for catching particularly large catfish, but the current low water levels may put some anglers off. Not so Stefan Seuß: "The fear of blanking is not justified, even at low water levels there are sufficiently deep zones where the capital catfish reside and hunt for prey!".

Stefan continues: “We had chosen a sandbank as a fishing spot where I had spotted a shoal of mullets. Of course, hungry catfish are always to be found following the prey fish. On the first evening there were already two bites from specimens up to 1.90 meters in length. But the next morning it was really rumbling!

We played the monster from the inflatable boat for no less than 40 minutes. The first attempt to land went wrong, I was literally thrown through the boat by the giant catfish! However, everything went well on the second attempt.”

Stefan Seuß, who can book the most 100-kilogram+ catfish as a guide and angler, sets another benchmark. A dream came true for him. But he is also sure that this is not the only fish in this caliber. There are probably a few more of this size from the original stocking in the river. It will be interesting to see when Stefan's mark will be broken.

Main photo from left to right: Heike Rothmann, Adolf Dremmel, Christian Ritzinger, Stefan Seuß