Nov 17

Worlds largest catfish

Massive albino catfish caught in Orange River

John van der Merwe and Jacobus Steyn were fishing for bragging rights recently in the Orange River, but could not have imagined catching back-to-back giant albinos; ‘A world first’

Worlds largest catfish

                                         Jacobus Steyn poses with the worlds largest catfish , 100kg 

Like just all fishermen, John van der Merwe and Jacobus Steyn  were competing for bragging rights whenever they’re on the water. Fisherman will always think they the secret ingredients in catching fish. One would get jealous when one sees another reeling in the fish and you are not. Tempers start flying.

But neither of them would ever have imagined a scenario like the one that played out recently on the banks of the Orange River.

John had reeled in a 99kg partial albino catfish, believed to be the world’s largest albino catfish, and wasted no time bragging about his remarkable catch. “He was running up and down the bank shouting, ‘Yes, yes, I’ve caught the biggest fish!’” Steyn told the Afrikaanse Herald.

Worlds largest catfish

                         John van der Merwe (left) and Jacobus Steyn  pose with their  giant albino catfish

But before John could get his bragging rights far ahead, Jacobus was hooked up, and an hour later of agonizing pain,  he landed an albino catfish that weighed 100kg, giving him the bragging rights, and presumably the record of world’s largest catfish.

Both catfish were massive, measuring 2.1m, and 2.4m, respectively.

Albino catfish are not their own species of catfish, so there is no official world record for the lighter-colored fish.

A spokesman for the  Bloemfontein based CatMaster Tours, which booked the van der Merwe and Steyn charter, said these were the worlds largest catfish ever caught and the largest they have ever seen.

Worlds largest catfish                                  Jacobus Steyn (middle) gets help lifing his monstrous albino catfish


“We are as certain that nobody else has ever had a brace of catfish that big before anywhere in the world,” the spokesman said. “So a brace of albino catfish that big … it must surely be the first time that has ever been done … So yes, this is a world first.”

The incredible double-haul undoubtedly was accomplished thanks to a good measure of luck. But the anglers also were very persistent.

Van der Merwe, 75, and Steyn, 68, had been fishing for eight hours before the first of the mammoth catfish was caught, generating the day’s first exciting moments.

“When they were photographing his catch my rod started to go, and I said, ‘I’ve got a big fish here, I don’t know what it was, but it’s Hella big,” Steyn told the Herald. “It was like dragging two sacks of potatoes through the water; it was incredible. I’ve been fishing for 50 years and this was the biggest fight I’ve ever had.”

Baksteen van der Merwe, John’s son,  witnessed the whole commotion, and recalled the competitive atmosphere leading to the catches.

“There was a lot of banter flying between them, half of what they were saying you wouldn’t be able to print,” Baksteen said. “When we meet up again I’m sure dad will be trying to take the title off him somehow.”


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