Largest Freshwater Fish Ever Caught
Every angler dreams of making that enormous catch that will put them into the record books, but it is a tragedy to see the largest freshwater fish ever caught, killed off and eaten.
In May 2012 a Chinese fisherman caught a giant sturgeon, weighing 617 kg. It took a dozen men to load the enormous fish onto a stretcher to carry it ashore.
Fisherman Chen Lin said it was the largest fish he has ever caught in the Heilongjang River, near Tongjian, on the border between Russia and China. Enormous Kalugu have been known to capsize boats, causing the death of fishermen.
Fortunately, this giant fish was not destined to become a meal, it was taken to a local breeding centre, where it is being held. Experts claim the female is carrying 1.2 million eggs. These will be collected and artificially inseminated, before the young fry are released back into the river.
Kalugu sturgeon, are unique to the Heilongjan Basin and believed to be the largest freshwater fish in the world. They are on the critically endangered list, having been fished almost to extinction for their world-famous roe. The largest one fishermen have seen is said to weigh around 1000 kg.
In 2011 a whopping 735 kg Alligator Gar was caught by Kenny Williams, of Vicksburgh, Mississippi. It measured just under 3 metres long. The Alligator Gar feed on the highly prized game fish, the large mouth bass, so this was one giant people were glad to see taken out of the river.
Williams’ catch beat the record that had been held since 1963, when a 678 kg Alligator Gar was caught. Officials estimate Williams’ Gar to be between 50-70 years old. The huge fish truly looks like a cross between an alligator and a fish.
After a 90 minute struggle, in 2009, angler Ian Welch landed a giant stingray weighing a massive 265-350 kg, setting the record for the biggest freshwater fish ever caught using a rod and line.
It took thirteen adult men to heave the massive fish onto the banks of the Mekong River in Thailand, after being towed ashore in a 4 metre net. After a thorough examination by Dr Zeb Hogan from the National Geographic film team, the giant was released back into the river. Giant stingrays are on the vulnerable list.
In 2005 fishermen in northern Thailand caught the biggest catfish on record, a whopping 293 kg giant, the size of a grizzly bear. Dr Zeb Hogan, a WWF Conservations Science Fellow confirmed the giant find.
The freshwater monster was caught along the Mekong River, which is reported to be the home to more species of massive fish than any other river.
Government officials and local environmentalists tried to negotiate for the release of the fish so it could continue its spawning migration to the far north of Thailand. Unfortunately the adult male died and was eaten in a remote village.
According to the National Geographic Society the Mekong giant catfish is southeast Asia’s largest and rarest fish.