The Wels catfish (Silurus glanis) is the largest freshwater fish within the UK and probably also within Europe. Catfish can be large and are very powerful fish. Strong tackle is essential. They prefer to hunt in murky waters and primarily feed during the night. They use their long highly sensitive barbels to sense their surroundings and search out resting fish and other food sources. Fishing tactics similar to those used for large pike or zander are very successful. Unconfirmed (No official records are kept for wels cats in the UK any more) record for a Wells on fly was set early 2019 by Stuart Watson who landed 59.2lb lump of a cat, Stuart Watson is one of the original two anglers who started the UK in to Fly Fishing for Cats; Anglers in Europe have been targeting cats on fly for many years now. Stuarts record was broken early 2021 by Oliver Cullingford with a stunning 66lbs 8oz moggie! who is still the currant holder of this record!
Below is a breakdown of things you’ll need to start targeting Wells Cats
– Fly Rod weight: 12 Weight fast action to cast large flies and handle BIG cats.
– Fly Reel: 10-12 Weight with a VERY good drag.
– Fly Lines: 12 Weight Float & Intermediate.
– Leader: 50lbs minimum X 5-6 feet long (depending on lake depth).
– Trace: Not needed unless your fishing an area that has Pike.
– Trace to fly: 80–100lb rubbing leader (Optional, check fishery rules).
– Fly: Size 6/0 hooks, Patterns can be similar to Pike ones. Bufords or patterns that have Dragon Tails & Rattle chambers. Check with the Fishery on max hook sizes when you book.
– Net: 42 inch MINIMUM (rubber mesh if you can find them) Net will be needed, if you are lucky enough to land a big catfish; you may need the help of a friend to help you land it.
– Unhooking Mat: A must for wells cats + make sure it’s wet before you put the fish on it.
– Forceps/Pliers: Yes.
– Unhooking glove: Optional but strongly advised (If you chin them you will need a glove, the tiny teeth covering the pads are surprisingly very sharp)
Tips for Wells
– Must go with someone as you will need them to help you land the fish.
– Don’t walk around too much as catfish are sensitive to movement on the bank and often stop taking flies. A lot of coarse fishery anglers stay in one spot.
Want a chance to see if Wels catfish fly fishing os for you? There are LIMITED spaces available in May 2023 at a Norfolk fishery with Babs Craig running the session. If you want to know more or book in? Go to:- https://predatorflyfishing.co.uk/coarseflyfishing/wels-catfish/wels-on-fly-intro-48-hr-session/