Why do wels get so big?

Discussion in 'Wels Catfishing' started by tomcat85, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. tomcat85

    tomcat85 New Member

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    i was just wondering why wels cats got so big compared to the ones over here in the states?
     
  2. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

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    United Kingdom
    I don't claim to be a biologist, but it could be that they don't have any competition. The only other predators that can beat a relatively puny 20 lbs are northern pike and walleye in the waters they live in. (Okay, in Russia they have the Beluga sturgeon which I understand can get to thousands of pounds, but these are relatively localised.) Compared to a wels the northerns and walleyes are simply another dinner option.

    The second reason I can think of is CPR. I read that flats could get/have got in the past to weights of over 200 pounds as well. Maybe it's because the bigger fish get removed? I know that many in the BOC release the biggies now, so you may see some bruisers sooner than you think if the practice becomes standard. The vast majority of wels get returned in Spain. I fished Romania some years ago where they took almost all of the breeding stock by electro-fishing and it was full of stunted fish between 3 and 20 pounds. Oh - and the VERY occasional fish that shredded the gear I was using (200lb braid; Shimano TLD20 multiplier and an Ugly Stik conger rod).

    I suppose another reason is food; in Spain the larger wels live predominantly on carp. These carp often spawn 4 times a year which means the rivers are heaving with potential meals. I have no idea how your waters are in relation to this.

    And the last and probably most important reason that springs to mind are genes. To answer a question with a question: why does the gator gar dwarf the other gars..?

    But like I said, I'm no biologist - I'm just a catfisherman! :lol:

    Happy New Year to you and your family
     

  3. tomcat85

    tomcat85 New Member

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    Thanks man! that was a good enough explanation for me! someday we'll have bruisers here i cant wait for that day. happy new year to you also!
     
  4. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

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    Out Fishing
    They are garbage trucks, living for some 100years old where possible, so a 80 year old garbage truck from the Danube or Volga is gonna be big.

    They are a scavanger more than a predator, thats why the Spanish ones have suddenly started to knock on the door of recent record books. The biggest Spanish Cats more often than not have come across a bed of pellet, a fish feed high in fatty protein combined with an appetite stimulator which leaves our kitties permanently in search of food.

    At the moment we would expect our catfish to be sleepy, instead they are roaming the river hungry, two mornings ago I saw one of a dozen new year catfish, the best being a hot off the press 202lb specimen.

    large land mass, high tempetatures, clean environment, regular feeding behaviour in addition to rich / diverse food source, all equaltes to bigger fish to come.

    I dare say you guys accross the pond have a few surprises in store, there may be more than one previously uncaught monster swimming under your rod tip next time your out?

    Us Europeans are mad for our fishing, we re morgage our homes and sell all bar the bare essentials in order to go fishing, as a result our fish have become our pets, in most parts we gently return them for another days fishing, and thats why we see some big fish.

    With Eastern European borders slowly being exposed I hope to see rod and line catched of Wels go throught the roof in relation to weight, a 500lb wels is a realistic target, obtaining big fish is all about education, dont you think spanishcatman?
     
  5. tomcat85

    tomcat85 New Member

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    Thanks for the post steven. Wels cats are an amazing fish. hopefully someday we'll be able to have bigger and larger fish over here due to catch and release. sometimes i dont understand why people would want to take a huge fish out of the lake. i figure throw it back and it will be bigger for the next year. But that is just my opinion. Thank you for the explanation on why wels get so big.

    Tight lines to ya.


    Tom
     
  6. CatfishHateMe

    CatfishHateMe New Member

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    Il
    well, theres plenty of very old storys of blue cats gettin to be 350-400 pounds, and flatheads getting up to 350 pounds, look at that mekong catfish that was cought not long ago, in my opinion thats basicly a blue cat from the looks besides that very weird eye placement. so what could get our cats from getting that big besides the fishing community keeping to many of the wronge fish? how many miles of river do we have that have flatheads and blues? how many fish go a whole lifetime without ever getting cought? you cant tell me theres not a blue cat out there in the ohio or mississippi thats pushing 200 pounds or more. just my opinion.
     
  7. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

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    Some good points Catbusster and I agree with them. When the pellets first started getting introduced into the Ebro in meaningful quantities it didn't take take long to see an increase in the fish's sizes - also particularly apparent was the sudden appearance of smaller fish in the 40-60lb class. If you remember, it wasn't that long ago when everything seemed to be over 100lbs... I think the cats had eaten just about all the smaller carp and jeuvenile cats were forced to gain weight by bleak-bashing and bagging the odd crayfish! The pellets have provided an easy meal for cats of all sizes and as a result they have grown through. The big ones are still there (and still growing at silly rates), but there are just more around generally. And that's a good thing in my book! At the current rate of growth I expect the Spanish record to be beaten again this year. And maybe again! It seems sometimes that a bigger fish is caught before the guy who caught the latest record has even had the photos developed! They will get MUCH bigger yet.

    And you're right about education and the awareness of the impact of removing the big girls which really upsets the natural balance; it's easier to ruin even a huge venue than you think... You mentioned Eastern Europe. The potential there is clearly amazing, but the electro fishers and deadlines have already spoiled some fine venues: the Romanian Danube was a real mess 6 years ago. Only the Sulina arm of this massive river had anything to speak of left in it. Of course it will recover if left alone, but I was appalled at the poaching I witnessed. Don't get me wrong, there was still potential for fish that would rewrite the records! I saw with my own a fish well in excess of 3 meters. It was in a local village and had been hit and stunned, presumably by one of the Turkish ships that navigate the river. The villagers had rowed out and dragged it ashore for food. There is no judgement here - it's their way of life and they definitely needed the food. I've seen fish over 200 pounds, but man this one was H-U-G-E...

    So in my opinion, the more fish are returned, especially the 'bigguns', the better chance of a real monster. I seem to have rambled on a bit here - sorry about that, but I've had a beer or two! (It is Saturday...)

    :wink:
     
  8. tomcat85

    tomcat85 New Member

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    mike i also agree with you. the bigguns do need to be returned. that way theyll get bigger:lol: enjoy your beers!
     
  9. chipblevins

    chipblevins New Member

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    salem, va
    what is the record for a wels cat? these are an amazing fish!
     
  10. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

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    cool stuff Steven and Mike. thank you
     
  11. gadzooks

    gadzooks New Member

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    Kingwood, Tx (Houston)
    I believe a 226 lb fish out of the Ebro in Spain holds the record. Just a minnow when put up beside a Mekong catfish.
     
  12. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

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    Oklahoma
    wels catfish get so big because that's how big they get ... it's their genetics ... it's the same the other way around ... why do white cats not get any bigger than 3 or 4 lbs on average ... it's because that's what they've evolved into. each species has it's own growth rate just like anything else ... you can't compare one species to another as far as growth or size because they're just a different species ... same thing with why do elephants get so big and mice so small ... they're both mamals so why aren't they the same size. it's no different in fish species ... it'd be the same as "why do blues or flats get so big and channels don't get as big" it's because it's not in their genetic make-up to be any bigger than they've evolved into being.
     
  13. SkiMax

    SkiMax Well-Known Member

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    2,012
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    Rising Sun, IN


    exactly what i was going to say!!! it is simply not in our catfishes genes to grow that large. There could be a blue maybe 200 pounds, but i doubt even that anymore. There are stories of them getting that big but remember: that was before our large rivers were damned. Blue cats are highly migratory and all the research i've seen shows that blues would migrate way down the missippi every year, which means they hat alot longer growing season. They would be actively feeding year round and not getting 'holed up' in the winter. So while there could be a freak out there I don't think they ever will get as big as they did in the 1800's, when those monsters were reported. JMO but hey, a 100 blue is still huge!!!
     
  14. KingCatBrad

    KingCatBrad New Member

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    Duncan, Oklaho
    When it comes to the size of the Wels Catfish and our Catfish you would have to look at there growth rate.

    These are just some examples to think about.

    There is not that much info on the Wels Catfish but from what I have found they grow to about 10 pounds in there first year on Plankton and insects. After that they grow an average of 10-20 pounds a year with an expected lifespan in the wild is as high as 20-30 years old. Now with that being said 20x30=600 pounds.

    Our Channel Catfish grow an average of 1-3 pounds a year with an expected lifespan of 10-20 years. With that being said 3x20=60 pounds

    Our Blue Catfish grow an average of 1-5 pounds a year with an expected lifespan of 20-25 years. With that being said 5x25=125 pounds

    Our Flathead Catfish grow an average of 1-5 pounds a year with an expected lifespan of 20-30 years. With that being said 5x30=150 pounds

    Fom this you can see why our cats are not as big as the Wels but they will not all grow or live to the max.

    Of course this is just some stuff that I pulled off the net.