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Float-tube fisherman nearly pulled underwater by giant catfish

After ‘scary moments' on Ebro River, Gerard Smyth of Ireland lands 169-pound fish, believes it is biggest catfish ever caught from a float-tube

Giant Catfish with Gerard Smyth, at far right, needs help lifting the 169-pound catfish for a photo.

Giant Catfish with Gerard Smyth, at far right, needs help lifting the 169-pound catfish for a photo.

Gerard Smyth nearly got more than he bargained for when a giant catfish he hooked while fishing from a float-tube dragged him nearly a mile down river and at one point came close to pulling him under the water.

The “scary moments” occurred during a 1 1/2-hour battle that ended with Smyth landing the massive catfish weighing a whopping 169 pounds.

Smyth and his “Team Monster” fishing crew believe it is a world record for the biggest catfish ever caught while float-tube fishing. It very well could be, but no category exists for float-tubes with the International Game Fish Association, the keeper of fishing world records.

The giant catfish dives deep, starts to drag Gerard Smyth's float-tube under the water.

The giant catfish dives deep, starts to drag Gerard Smyth’s float-tube under the water.

Smyth, 32, a fisherman from Roslea, Ireland, was fishing the lower stretches of the famous Ebro River in Spain recently with guides Dee Mason and Johnny Kerr of Monster Tours following him in a boat. He explained his big catfish catch in detail via an email to GrindTV Outdoor on Tuesday.

Smyth was on a mission to catch a giant catfish from a float-tube. He was bouncing a dead Vietnamese swamp eel on the river bottom for bait when the fish hit like a “steam train.”

“I didn’t realize just how hard it would fight,” he said. “Quite a few scary moments throughout, [particularly] when the float-tube was getting dragged under like a [fishing bobber] with only my head and shoulders above water level. I finally got the strength to use one arm and loosen the [drag on the reel] a tad as instructed.

Tuber waiting for a catfish bite.

“But it didn’t stop there as the fight carried on down the river, dragging me through the fast shallow regions like a water ski expert, approximately up to a mile downstream.”

Smyth got dragged back and forth until he finally got it to shore and was able to grab the fish by the mouth and chin.

“If I thought the hard part was over I could think again,” he said. “As I chinned the cat [grabbing it by the lower jaw] it went berserk, trailing me round and round like a spinning coin.”

With help from his companions, Smyth was able to land the fish, get it weighed and photographed, and release it alive back into the river.

“Let’s just say with a big smile—and still in shock from the most explosive experience I have ever had fishing—fantastic words can’t explain what was going through my head and the words would probably be unprintable, but I have done it and, to be honest, look forward to doing it again,” Smyth said.

“Without a doubt it was the most exhilarating and hardest but enjoyable experience I have ever had in my fishing career.”

Photos courtesy of Gerard Smyth

h/t to Angling Times

Gerard Smyth up close with the massive catfish

 Gerard Smyth gives the giant catfish a kiss

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