French River Monsters

The large rivers of France, particularly for UK anglers, are synonymous with two species of fish – carp and the European wels catfish. Both species grow to huge sizes with carp exceeding 70lbs, and catfish reaching almost 3 metres in length and weights of nearly 300lbs!

Having moved to France in 2019, these fish offered me the best chance of catching a truly large fish from freshwater. However, with virtually no prior experience of fishing for either species it was hard to know where to begin.

A few carp had graced my net over the years, but always by chance rather than design, and honestly speaking it has never been a branch of the sport that has particularly interested me. However, as a keen pike fisherman – the pike being the apex freshwater predator on the UK rivers where I grew up – I was intrigued by the prospect of tracking down a wels catfish using scaled-up pike tactics. I say ‘intrigued’ rather than ‘enthusiastic’ for a number of reasons …

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