Species of UK
Fishing for catfish, description
of catfish, baits for catfish and methods for catching Wels catfish
Common name: Wels catfish
Latin name: Silurus glanis
UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record
Catfish uk record - 62lb (28.123 kilo’s) 1997 R Garner from Withy
Pool, Henlow, Bedfordshire
Description and Habitat of Wels catfish - Silurus glanis
Wels catfish - Silurus glanis
The catfish, so named for their prominent barbules that look like a
cat's whiskers is the longest and heaviest species of fish in the UK.
I have read somewhere that the Wels catfish is originally from the
eastern countries in Europe. They were introduced into the UK more
than one hundred years ago and was stocked in the lakes of Woburn
Abbey in Bedfordshire by the Duke of Bedford. Since then there are
more commercial venues where they have been stocked. It looks nothing
like a 'regular' fish. It looks similar to an eel and has a long scale
less body, an enormous head with six 'whiskers' protruding from it and
an equally enormous mouth. The large head tapers back to the large
tail. The fish has a small dorsal fin and an anal fin that stretches
backwards until it almost reaches the tail. The paddle like pectoral
fin is also very large. The head has tiny eyes with two very long
barbules, one protruding from underneath each eye, and four shorter
barbules on the lower jaw. The mouth is filled with hundreds of tiny
soft teeth on the top and bottom of its jaw. These teeth are used to
grip its prey before passing it to the two sets of crushing pads at
the back of the throat. Colouration of catfish is normally a dark
greeny, brown black body with creamy yellowish sides creating a
mottled camouflage effect ideal for when they are hunting their prey.
The male can be identified by a pointed flap of skin behind the vent.
In the female the flap of skin is shorter and fatter.
Spawning in the UK usually takes place during late spring - early
summer when waters warm to around the 70 degrees Fahrenheit mark.
Unlike most other fish the male builds a nest for the female to lay
her eggs. The nest is normally in a secluded spot such as a natural
cavern, a hole or under banks or logs. The female deposits the eggs,
anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 and 3mm in size, and they hatch in 3 to
10 days depending on water temperature. The male catfish will guard
the eggs until they hatch and protect the fry until they leave the
nest. The fry are believed to feed on larval aquatic insects, aquatic
plants and plankton and as they get older they feed on larger food
stuffs such as small crustaceans, small fish, mussels, molluscs,
crayfish, worms etc. Catfish are not fussy eaters and will eat almost
anything, live or dead.
Methods for catching Wels catfish - Silurus glanis
Catfish can grow to a monstrous size and weight so make sure you have
the tackle to cope.
Fishing for catfish in the UK is similar to fishing for eels and
mostly done by ledgering a deadbait. Predominantly, coarse fish such
as roach, rudd and bream are considered the best deadbaits but this is
an individual choice. Sea fish can also be used as deadbaits, and
mackerel and herring are good choices because they are an oily fish
and their scent trail carries a long way in the water. Using coarse
fish or sea fish is an individual choice as I have mentioned but it
also depends on what the owner of the water you are going to fish
allows. Check with him or her first. I have read that boilies and
pellets are also being used for catfishing. Whether these bring more
results I don't know. The catfish can usually be found patrolling the
margins or in in deep holes, among weed beds and lilies, hiding in
hollows under the bank or lurking under overhanging branches of trees.
Snaggy areas are a favourite. I have read that catfish feed mainly at
night, but will feed at any time in coloured water and that fishing at
night in coloured water produces the best results. (stands to reason
Baits for catching Wels catfish - Silurus glanis
The main baits for catching catfish is any fish as live or deadbait.
Also used is fishmeal pellets, fishmeal based boilies, worms
There are many Catfishing holidays abroad where you have the chance to
catch a true monster.
The famous River Ebro in Spain was stocked with catfish in the late
1970's and these fish now average a weight of 40 to 60 kg, with fish
over 75kg being caught.
France has the River Seine and also lakes where catfish have been
stocked - in one lake 50 tons of huge Carp and Catfish have been
Check out my fishing holiday pages.
If you catch a 'big un' drop me a line and a photo
The Wels catfish is declared noxious in Queensland, Australia. It is
illegal to possess, rear, breed, sell or buy Wels catfish, live or
dead, without a permit. It is an offence to release Wels catfish into
Queensland waterways or use them as bait, live or dead. Penalties of
up to $200,000 apply.