Angler catches Britain’s biggest freshwater fish… and at 8ft it’s longer than him


A stunned angler was left reeling after he hauled in Britain’s BIGGEST FRESHWATER FISH – which was longer than him.

Alex Fanshawe, 32, battled against the behemoth for 15 minutes before he finally landed it – a Wels catfish weighing in at a whopping 119lbs and measuring 8ft long.

The giant fish, which was longer from nose to tail than Alex is tall, was caught during his first angling trip to Oakwood Park Predator Lakes in Norfolk.

Alex Fanshawe, 32, with the 8ft long Wels catfish
Alex Fanshawe, 32, with the 8ft long Wels catfish

Alex, from Ruislip, north-west London, had only just joined the Catfish Conservation Group of freshwater fishermen – when he landed their top prize.

He said: “It was the last morning of the trip when I was awoken from my slumber at 5am by the sound of my alarms and a screaming reel telling me that something big had picked up my bait and was moving off at quite some pace in the opposite direction.

“A few minutes into the fight and this fish wasn’t budging and it started to dawn on me that this could be a real monster.

“With the help of some fellow anglers, who had heard the commotion and gathered behind me, we were all able to lift the fish onto the waiting mat on the third attempt.”

Alex snagged the giant catfish – which he has nicknamed The Duke –  on the second day of his three-day fishing trip using a bait of mackeral.

He said: “I’ve only been catfishing for about a year, and so far that trip I’d only managed to land a small carp so the lads were laughing at me.

“They weren’t laughing after I caught The Duke though. Before The Duke, the biggest fish I’ve ever caught was probably only a 5lb catfish.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was like a serpent, when we were pulling it in, it just kept coming out of the water like a serpent.”

He battled for around 15 minutes against the massive fish before he was finally able to haul it ashore, with help from fellow anglers.

DJ Alex cheekily reckons the eight-and-a-half stone fish is heavier than most of his ex-girlfriends.

He added: “I’m definitely going to try to catch a bigger fish, but it may be a problem since I’ve landed the biggest coarse fish in Britain.”

Fishing experts The Angling Trust said they were not aware of a bigger freshwater fish in Britain.

A spokesman said: “I’m not aware of a bigger freshwater fish. It must have been difficult to land something that is bigger than a person.

“15 minutes is quite a long time in those circumstances. Many bigger fish are landed in much less time.”

The carnivorous fish, known as Duke, is well over 30-years-old, and is the second biggest freshwater fish ever caught.

Alex added: “I stood there in total shock and disbelief.

“To say I was over the moon was an understatement. It was the largest fish I have ever seen on the bank and the most amazing experience of my life.”

Wels catfish can grow to whopping sizes because of their varied and meaty diet, which consists of fish, insects, frogs and mice, and even ducks and pigeons.

Adrian Hills, from the Catfish Conservation Group, said: “I think it’s safe to say that Duke is probably Britain’s largest living freshwater fish. Well done, Alex.”

* In 2012, chef James Jones landed a 144lb Wels catfish at a lake in Essex. However, that monster fish has since died.


  1. Are u sure this is the largest living freshwater fish in the uk I’m sure I had one at 144lb in 2012 is still alive as I was fishing for it only yesterday


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