Hitchin man hails 'catch of a lifetime' after reeling in one of Europe's biggest ever catfish

PUBLISHED: 17:10 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:22 18 September 2019

The Mandarin Catfish is a rare breed of wels catfish native to Europe. Picture: Robert Webb

The Mandarin Catfish is a rare breed of wels catfish native to Europe. Picture: Robert Webb

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A Hitchin man has hailed the "catch of a lifetime" after reeling in a 230lb Mandarin catfish thought to be a Spanish record.

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Robert Webb was on the last day of his fishing holiday at River Segra, in Spain, and had been casting his rod on the bank of the river for three days.

Fishing in near total darkness, the 63-year-old was just about to pack in it and go home, when he felt a fierce pull on his rod that "brought him to his knees".

"It took 30 to 40 minutes to pull the thing in, and I could barely breathe by the end," Robert said.

The mandarin catfish weighed a whopping 230 pounds. Picture: Robert WebbThe mandarin catfish weighed a whopping 230 pounds. Picture: Robert Webb

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"It really was such amazing luck. I've been chasing the mandarin for seven or eight years, but never expected this."

The monster catfish measured a whopping 8ft 5 inches long, with a mouth of 23 inches.

Robert's prize catch is considered one of the biggest Mandarin catfishes in Europe. Picture: Robert Webb.Robert's prize catch is considered one of the biggest Mandarin catfishes in Europe. Picture: Robert Webb.

After posing for pictures, Robert and a team of helpers released the fish back into the river, attached to a rope, so that it could be babysat and pictured again in the daylight.

"Once we'd lowered it back into the water, I just burst into tears," Robert said.

"I've been fishing since I was five years old, and this is what you dream about. It's a catch of a lifetime."

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