The Jaws of the Catfish world coming to Wigan

Wels catfish
Wels catfish

HOW about that for a smile? This mighty monster from the deep has the appetite of half-starved sumo wrestler, can put on 5lb of weight per month and grows to a jaws-like 12 feet in length.

And four of these Wels Catfish are now happily lurking in a angling lake in Wigan!

Derrick Taylor, of award winning Fir Tree Fishery in Appley Bridge, has become the first in the region to be able to offer the coarse fishing equivalent of the challenge of a lifetime.

Because of the beast’s prodigious consumption of other fish down that almighty mouth, he has had to be specially licensed by the Environment Agency to stock the ancient looking creatures which originate in eastern europe.

Weighing in at 20lb and at around four feet long, the slimy quartet are still classed as juveniles.

But news of their arrival has spread like wild fire through the Wigan fishing world.

And Derrick confirms that when the specimen fish lake opens for sport again in April it is already booked out for an entire month by anglers determined to try and land one.

Fortunately most of the existing fish in the water are giant, wily, old carp, too large and finny to fit into the Wels’ magnificent mouths.

So until they get established Derrick will provide supplementary feeding with small fish until they become established enough to look after themselves.

Derrick said: “To catch one of these things, particularly the bigger ones, is the fisherman’s equivalent of winning the FA Cup.

“Anglers go to a river in Spain where the really big ones lurk to try their luck, it is a bucket list thing.

“Now they will be able to save the air fare and come to Fir Tree instead!”

Mr Taylor said that the catfish grow to the environment they are living in, so are unlikely to get to the epic 350lb size of its Spanish brethren.

But they are still likely to eventually hit a huge slithery size.

Derrick has been digging out the pool with a JCB to make it an eight feet deep in places murky and dark new home for the catfish, and all appear to have settled into their new pad very well.