Wels catfish caught in Italy by Alessandro Biancardi (photo by Alessandro Biancardi)

Thanks to Outdoor Life for this:

Italian angler Alessandro Biancardi shocked the catfishing world this week with an absolutely massive Wels catfish he caught from Italy’s River Po.

Measuring over nine feet long (285cm), Biancardi’s fish should set a new world record for the species.

A pro-staffer at MADCAT Fishing, Biancardi has been chasing monster catfish in the Po for decades. His pending world-record catch marks an incredible accomplishment in his own career and raises the bar for the global fishing community.

Biancardi also shared some of the story behind his catch with the MADCAT team.

“Everything started as a normal day of fishing,” Biancardi writes. “I went to the great River Po. Before leaving I checked knots, hooks, each connection because I’m extremely meticulous. I always need to be 100% sure that everything is in place if a dream fish decided to bite my lure.”

Wels catfish caught in Italy by Alessandro Biancardi (photo by Alessandro Biancardi)

As it happened, the dream fish bit his lure at the first spot of the day. With the river muddy and still dropping from a flood, Biancardi threw out a Savage Gear Cannibal Shad on a 12/0 jig head. After a few casts, something hammered the soft plastic lure and Biancardi set the hook on “what [he] felt to be a prehistoric fish.”

Doing battle from his john boat, Biancardi navigated strong currents and submerged obstacles as the fish fought deep. After 40 “endless minutes” of this, he says, the catfish finally broke the surface.

“I was alone facing the biggest catfish I’ve seen in 23 years,” Biancardi writes. “I tried gloving its mouth 2-3 times, but it was still too strong. I decided to go in shallow water to land it from shore and after a few tries, I managed to land it!”

The angler tied up the nine-plus-foot-long monster in the shallows to let it recover. But he forgot to anchor his boat and it drifted away, forcing him to swim downriver to recover it.

Biancardi then called his friend Marco to let him know where he was. With 10 witnesses looking on and snapping photographs, they put a tape to the Wels catfish and recorded its official measurements.

“I was sure that the fish I caught was special, but I never imagined what would happen next when we measured the fish on the mat,” he writes. “Under the incredulous eyes of many anglers, the meter stopped at 285cm. It was the new WORLD RECORD catfish!”

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