i hear what you're saying and i used to think the same thing to when i was younger, but i've been absolutely obsessed with these cats for quite awhile, so i've done a little research. i would love to be able to catch them in the states, but they are predators like blue cats. they would most likely decimate the fish populations back home. these cats have been known to take anything from a full grown duck on down to night crawlers. as a matter of fact, i read an article two week ago about one that ate some poor german lady's wiener dog while it was splashing around near the bank.
and yes flaboy, these bad boys require a kinda light drag. at least, as light as you can handle. you can see a good testimonial to their awesome strength from the many video clips available from the internet. as for anyone getting pulled in, i'm sure it's happened more than it gets reported. when i first discovered this fish for myself in '92, i did a little research in the libraries for them and found an article in an INFISHERMAN magazine about a filipino fellow who went fishing for them in the rhine river near mannheim germany who was never seen again. all of his stuff was found sitting on the bank. him and his rod were not there. at the time, they weren't sure what happened, but they believe he was yanked into the river and consequently drowned.
i would also like to post here a quick thank you to the board staff for adding this thread so quickly. i asked them and it was here in less than 8 hours.
if any of you all have any questions about these giants, ask hoppy 4. he's an experienced wels fisherman.