Bluebell Lakes angler lands huge catfish after two-hour fight

Daniel Sibley named the giant fish Big Al in tribute to a friend who died last year

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An angler has caught a giant catfish after a two-hour battle during which he was dragged neck-deep into a lake.

Daniel Sibley, 21, of Blaby, Leicestershire, landed the 108lb 4oz (49kg) "beast" while angling for carp with friend Aaron Johnson on Sunday.

The fish, caught at Bluebell Lakes, near Oundle, Northamptonshire, is thought to be one of the heaviest ever landed with a rod and line in Britain.

Mr Sibley said: "I was exhausted. It took me for a right merry dance."

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I got a couple of handshakes and a couple of beers handed to me”

End Quote Daniel Sibley Angler
'Doggy-paddling'

He said he was using a line with a breaking strain of just 8lb (3.6kg).

"After the fish took my line I realised what it was. I just had to get straight in and try to get some of the line back because I had half a reel's worth of line out," said Mr Sibley.

"I don't think it realised it was hooked at first, but as soon as I started to put some pressure on it it took off. Because I was using 8lbs line I had to let it have as much as it needed."

Mr Sibley entered the water during his epic battle with the fish.

"I found myself out of my depth a few times. I was doggy-paddling until I could touch the bottom again," he said.

"I kept thinking: 'When's it going to tire?', but eventually it did."

Aaron Johnson and Daniel Sibley with the monster fish Aaron Johnson, left, helped Daniel Sibley land the monster fish
'Jumping for joy'

It took two landing nets to bring the fish ashore.

"I got a couple of handshakes and a couple of beers handed to me. Aaron was jumping round for joy," he said.

"Everybody mucked in to help us and we got some nice snaps. It was so slimy - it was like holding an eel, but so much bigger."

Mr Sibley, who began fishing aged seven, was using a size 12 hook, measuring just 12mm (0.5in).

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Nationally this would be recognised as a very large fish”

End Quote Ben Weir Angler's Mail

"I'm pretty sure that nobody's caught a fish that size on the tackle I was using," he said.

After posing for photos with the fish, he put it back in the water and it swam away.

He said he had named the fish Big Al in tribute to his friend Alan Thompson, who died last year.

Nick Simmonds, secretary of the British Record (Rod-Caught) Fish Committee, said no records had been kept for the Wels catfish since October 2000 because it was a non-native species.

Before records were suspended, the largest catfish caught was listed at 62lb (28kg).

Ben Weir, of Angler's Mail, said: "Nationally this would be recognised as a very large fish - certainly in the top 10.

"This isn't the kind of tackle you would associate with a fish like this, so he has done very well to land it."

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