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Fishing: Justin proves he's the cat's whiskers; In association with Shakespeare SINCE 1897.

Byline: By JOHN INGHAM

IF a duck or moorhen disappears with no more than a startled squawk, you can bet your best wellies a big catfish is eating its supper.

The Danubian wels catfish, known in the sport as pussy galore, is a giant nocturnal loner that feeds mostly between dusk and the wee small hours, using hundreds of tiny teeth to mince mammals, wildfowl, fish, frogs or water rats.

This monster grows to 9.8ft (2.98m) and 440lb (220kg) in Eastern Europe's River Danube, and even bigger in Spain's River Ebro.

Britain's first wels went into Woburn Abbey Lakes, Bedfordshire and more followed in a few other lakes.

The British Record Committee closed the books at 62lb (28.1kg) in October 2000 after bigger catfish were imported by some fisheries. Further claims are barred. But Justin McArthur, 26, from Goring, West Sussex won a 40-minute battle with a 63lb 15oz wels to join the tiny band of unofficial British champs.

He spent three days and four nights in a bivvy at Roman Lake, one of six in the Furnace fisheries at Slinfold, a few miles from Horsham.

Plasterer Justin opened the second night with a 23lb (10.4kg) mirror carp.

That was followed by an 11lb 2oz (5.0kg) mirror and a fine 31lb 14oz mirror (14.1kg) that topped his previous best by 3lb 14oz.

"I was over the moon after landing a personal best," he told People Sport. "Then I re-cast with a spicy boilie bait and the line suddenly screamed off the reel and everything went solid when I struck.

"I knew it had to be with one of Roman Lake's big cat fish . I just prayed my landing net was big enough, but the fish was so tired that when the head went in the body just followed."

Just in closed with a 21lb 3oz common carp and lost two other heavyweights. His scorching scorecard wins a pounds 160 Shakespeare Superteam LXL match rod in our competition.

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Justin McArthur with his monster catfish
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2007
Words:341
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