The Wels Catfish has a long, scaleless body like an eel, with a large head and mouth. The inside of the mouth has rows of 100s of tiny little velcro like teeth on the top and bottom of its jaw, these are used to hold its prey before passing it to the two sets of crushing pads at the back of the throat. It has six barbules, two long ones on the upper jaw for detecting its prey and four shorter ones on the lower jaw. It has a small almost pointless looking dorsal fin whilst the anal fin stretches backwards until it almost reaches the tail.
The colouration of the Wels can vary from fish to fish but normally they have dark eyes with a dark greeny black body with creamy yellowish sides creating a mottled effect. Albino looking catfish are sometimes found but are very rare, these have red eyes and a yellow/creamy colouration to its body.
How to catch a Wels Catfish
There are various methods to tempt the Catfish, one is to ledger deadbaits consisting of Roach, Rudd, Carp, Tench or eels. From the information i have found it is best to look for any likely feature that the Catfish would patrol like marginal shelves, deep holes, old stream beds and snaggy areas and place your bait here and wait.
Livebaits are another top favourite, fishing with the above fish baits but alive! The bait can be presented just below the surface using a dumbbell rig or if possible a weak link tied to the opposite bank. I have been told this method produces very violent takes, so make sure you are by the rods at all time!
Worms are a very underated bait and can be devastating if fished just off the bottom, only to be used at night though as every other fish in the lake will want to eat them during the day.
The most common bait to be used on most commercial fisheries at the moment is the Halibut pellet. The pellets come in various sizes and are best fished with a few large pellets on a hair rig over a bed of smaller pellets.
Catfish like to hide away in dark quiet places until they are ready to feed, which is not very often. Look out for overhanging trees, weed beds, lilies and hollows under the bank, a bait placed near any of these areas is a good bet. Anglers do say that when a catfish is on the feed it will come to you and will not be a fussy eater either.
Wels Catfish uk record
62lb (28.123 kilo’s) 1997: R Garner from Withy Pool, Henlow, Bedfordshire.
Recommended Catfish Venue
Carpenwater, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex, England
Contact Phil on 01255 479918 or email to Carpenwater@btinternet.com