Giant Catfish

One of the most common mystery animals stories in the United States involves giant catfish.

As the story typically goes, divers descend below a dam to inspect the walls and see a catfish “large as a Volkswagen and big enough to swallow a man”. Usually the story is related by someone who said their friends cousin’s uncle was the diver.

I actually went and dove at a couple of reservoirs to test the feasibility of the legend and traveled to Spain to encounter true giant catfish called the Wels. If you have stories of giant catfish encounters, especially a firsthand encounter click here to contact us. 

wels
The author with a monstrous Wels catfish he caught in Spain’s Segra River in 2005.

It is my opinion that seeing a record class catfish in murky water at close range probably inspired the legend and it grew from there. I had the amazing opportunity to dive with the world record blue catfish (at the time) named “Splash” at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. It gave me a unique perspective on encountering what at the time was the largest known blue and how a diver might respond in dark waters.

splash
Chester Moore diving with “Splash” in 2005 at the TFFC facility. Photo by Kriss Stephens.

2 thoughts on “Giant Catfish

  1. Shannon

    When I was a teen there was talk of a large catfish swimming close to the shore of lake Erie and we went to investigate. It took us some time to find this fish which turned out not to be a catfish at all but a lake sturgeon that wasn’t far from the shore for what ever reason. Within a week the fish eventually moved into deeper waters. I think a large number of encounters are often misidentified.

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