World record 9ft 4¼in fish is caught in Italian river after a 43-minute struggle

A ‘monster’ catfish could be the largest ever caught at a staggering 9ft 4 1/4 inches, after an Italian angler fought with the bottom-dwelling beast for 43 minutes before eventually reeling it in.

What started as a normal day of fishing on the river Po for Alessandro Biancardi soon turned into the stuff of dreams for the keen angler.

He managed to hook the record-breaking catch after just a few casts, but was ‘sent into a panic’ after he realized he was facing the biggest fish of his 23-year career completely alone.

The pro fisherman, who is part of the MADCAT fishing team, did not realize the scale of the wels catfish until it started to breach the surface, and struggled to haul it in from his boat and on land.

Alessandro said that while he was curious about the weight of the behemoth, he didn’t want to distress it too much, and decided to release it ‘hoping it could give another angler the same joy he gave to me.’

Italian angler Alessandro Biancardi managed to catch a record-breaking catfish in the river Po

Catch of the day! Alessandro was ecstatic at reeling in his ‘dream’ fish, which is over 9 ft 4 inches in length.

After a recent drop in water levels following huge floods in northern Italy, Alessandro decided to take to the water last week.

Not expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen on his solo trip, the fisherman prepared for his day on the water as he usually would.

He checked his equipment, saying ‘I always need to be 100% sure that everything is in place if a dream fish decides to bite my lure.’

Lo and behold, his dream came true, and he hooked a mammoth catfish which he has now shared incredible pictures with on the river bank.

Alessandro described his amazement at coming across the ‘prehistoric fish’, which is almost the length of two people.

‘When it surfaced for the first time, I really realized that I hooked a monster, adrenaline started pumping hard and the fear of losing it almost sent me into a panic,’ he said.

‘I was alone facing the biggest catfish I ever seen in 23 years.’

Alessandro’s battle with the big cat saw him tackle fast-moving water and debris in the swollen river, and even almost lose his boat and equipment as he jumped onto land to try and haul it in.

Alessandro tried to glove the mouth of the monster fish as he fought to reel it in for 40 minutes.

‘The fish stood still some seconds before starting a very complicated fight,’ he said.

‘I tried gloving its mouth two-three times, but it was still too strong. I decided to go in shallow water trying to land it from shore and after a few tries, I managed to land it!’

The fisherman then tied the fish up to let him recover from the long fight, before suddenly realizing his boat, which was not anchored, was drifting off in the current.

If a battle with a giant catfish wasn’t enough, Alessandro was forced to swim to recover his boat and all his belongings.

He then called in his friend to help him measure the beast, as he was sure the fish was a special one.

Sure enough, the catfish was a record breaker, with Alessandro and his fellow anglers scarcely believing their eyes when they measured it.

The massive catfish surpasses the current IGFA all-tackle world record for length by a full 40cm.

‘I was very curious about the weight but I feared to stress too much that rare specimen so I decided to safely release it, hoping it could give another angler the same joy he gave to me,’

MADCAT says that the massive wels will break the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) all-tackle world record for length.

It surpasses the current record holder, another fish pulled from the Po by angler Attila Zsedely in 2010, by a full 40cm.

Sadly, since Alessandro decided to release his impressive catch, it will not count in terms of this record.

It will however qualify for IGFS’s catch-and-release length record, beating the previous record-holder, a massive fish also caught in the Po, by four centimeters.

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