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265 cm titan catfish to round off the year for Black Cat Guiding Tours

Tostedt. For years, autumn in Italy has been a season of high waters. Heavy rainfall means violent river currents, with water levels of up to 6m above the norm not uncommon in 2011 and 2012. Stefan Seuß deliberately plans catfish seminars in Italy at this time of year to target active catfish in the brown floodwaters. However, this year did not go according to plan. This autumn, the Po deceived anglers with occasional summer temperatures and low water levels. Stefan Seuß: "low water can also be a good thing as we anglers can present our rigs in parts of the river that would otherwise be inaccessible to fish. Too much flotsam and raging currents can make bait presentation impossible in many places when water levels are rising.
On the evening of 12.11.2013, Black Cat test angler and guide Stefan Seuß and his guest Peter Neubacher went in search of a very deep river channel that could not be fished from the bank. The pair anchored the boat 150m above the chosen swim and planned to fish the hot spot from the boat. Stefan has equipped his boat perfectly for such occasions, even erecting a tent on the boat to protect anglers from inclement weather. With a 320cm dinghy as a tender, Stefan laid out four subfloat rigs over a deep ledge (7 to 9m water depth) as the darkness fell. The lines were only kept under slight tension from the main boat so that the swaying of the boat in the current did not disturb the rigs. The first bite came at around 9pm and, a short while later, the pair landed a 190cm catfish. The rig was readied again and returned to its spot using the dinghy.
The next action came at around midnight when the tip of the Black Cat Freestyle rod was pulled beneath the water and remained there. Peter Neubacher needed all of his strength to remove the fully tensioned rod from the boat's rod holder. The anglers immediately switched to the dinghy and the fight commenced with both angler and equipment under immense pressure. The fish stuck to the bottom, slowly pulling Peter Neubacher and Stefan Seuß upstream in the dinghy behind it. "After 15 minutes, we had failed to gain any line and my guest had his hands full just to withstand the resistance of the catfish," says Stefan Seuß. "Within 10 minutes of the fight starting, I knew we had a genuinely big lump on the hook! I've caught countless big catfish throughout Europe in recent years but this adversary on the other end of the line was more violent, stubborn and powerful in its runs."
After a 30-minute tug of war with a fully engaged drag on the Black Cat Extreme reel, the anglers slowly began to gain some line. The arm muscles were shaking and the invertebral discs were complaining as Peter Neubacher kneeled at the front of the dinghy and Stefan Seuß tried to follow the direction of the catfish' runs with a 5 bhp motor. After 40 minutes, the pair began to see bubbles at the surface in the glow of their head torches; a sign that the catfish was expelling air to equalise the pressure difference. A short while later, an enormous head appeared alongside the dinghy. Stefan Seuß: "It took my breath away. Never before have I seen such a monster up close. I reached over the side of the dinghy and stretched almost my entire upper body just above the surface of the water to reach the leader with my hand and turn the head of the fish towards us. I reached into the catfish' mouth at the first opportunity.
The fish exploded and I realised that my layers of skin were being shredded between its tooth plates but I blocked out the pain and strengthened my grip. 'Just don't let go' I thought." The landing was successful and, a short while later, the colossus was in the boat, covering the entire length with its enormous body. The guide continues: "We were both speechless and had to release the tension with a whoop of delight. The next morning, we had confirmation that the monster was 265 cm in length and tipped the scales at 107 kg. We had defeated a big and very old man. The fish is one of the largest ever caught in Europe", says Stefan Seuß. Catfish over 260 cm are more than 30 years old and have accumulated so much experience over time that it is almost impossible even to hook one of these giants.
For more information on catfish tours with Stefan Seuß, visit