Pelagic fishing for catfish
Join us on a hunt for the largest predatory fish in the Netherlands: the European catfish. Under the inspirational leadership of our fishing guide Goran Krnjic, you will search for the catfish with top of the line Garmin fish finders, and tempt them to bite. And then… Then you’ll have to put up a fight with a fish that may be bigger than you!
There is no fishing technique more exciting, nerve-racking and fascinating than pelagic fishing for Wels catfish. Goran is specialized in this game and he will take you to the best spots of the river delta in The Netherlands. His fishing area is gigantic and covers the Hollands Diep, the Haringvliet, the Beneden Merwede, the Oude Maas, the Nieuwe Maas and the Noord. The exact fishing location depends on the time of year, the tide and the personal preferences of the guest. This way you are always assured of having the best conditions to make your dream come true.
Teamwork for an unforgettable catch
What can you expect? In all honesty, we simply can't guarantee that you will catch a monster fish. We simply can not rule out a ‘blank’ day when targeting big fish. But we do promise you an extremely exciting fishing experience where our guide will do everything in his power to let you catch a catfish.
This Xperience starts with searching for the fish. You will fish hotspots where the catfish like to hang out, but you’ll also search for actively swimming fish. Along the way, you will be amazed at the possibilities that our modern fish finders offer. Using the Garmin Livescope and Garmin PS30, amongst others, you can track down the fish accurately and determine how to approach them.
Now, by following your guide's instructions, you will ‘drop the bait’ close to the catfish to entice her to take it. It really is a matter of teamwork. This is educational, but above all very exciting and addictive.
Once the catfish has taken the bait and you have set the hook, a whole new chapter begins: the fight. This is really next level, so exciting. But don't panic, because Goran will tell you exactly what to do and what not to do. Enjoy the moment; take your time and eventually even the largest catfish will have to surrender. This is when your guide puts his glove in that mailbox of a mouth and brings the catfish on board. Kaboom: you did it!
Always a chance of a 2 m+ catfish.
Catfish continues in length where pike stops. By far the majority of the fish that we catch measure over a meter, and many catfish reach over 1.5 meters. And that’s only the beginning, because you always have a chance of hooking a catfish over 2 meters. True river monsters. The largest catfish that Goran has caught in the Netherlands so far was no less than 234 cm!
Capital zander as by-catch.
Special zander rods are available at all times. When fishing for catfish, Goran always keeps his eyes open to spot big zander on the fish finder. And we mean really BIG. The zander you catch during a catfish trip are on average 70 cm long, often larger than 80 cm and even the catch of a 90 or 100 centimeter zander is not inconceivable. Not a bad by-catch huh?
When fishing for catfish, Goran relies on the Westin W4 boat rod with an extremely strong Shimano Tranx reel on it. This reel is spooled with 50/00 braided line so that a new Dutch record catfish can also be successfully landed. During the colder months you will mostly be fishing with 20 to 40 cm softbaits. From the spring onwards, large worms are the best bait for catching catfish. Both baits require their own approach, but our catfish guide will explain this in great detail on the fishing day itself.
Chasing catfish throughout the year
From December to early March, most catfish are like to be found concentrated on certain hotspots. You will find them behind ridges, just outside the current, as well. Because the catfish are often found concentrated together, they are relatively easy to catch. During this period you will mainly fish with soft baits.
From March to September, the catfish spread out over the open water, making fishing generally more difficult. Fishing with lures is prohibited in April and May in The Netherlands (this is the closed time for artificial baits and dead bait). But luckily we can now continue to fish for catfish with worms. Fishing in the spring and summer is characterized by a lot of searching, where you always have a chance of finding a really large bonus fish. Note: immediately after spawning, usually in May or June, there is invariably a short period when catfish can be caught exceptionally well. This is when the water temperature has warmed up to 18 to 20 degrees.
In the summer months we like to fish at night as well, also targeting large zander while chasing catfish. As fall approaches, the fish get bigger and bigger. Experience shows that the largest fish are invariably caught in the fall. Even now, night fishing for catfish can be very effective.
The months of October and November, when the water temperatures are dropping, are really a great period for catfish. The closer to winter, the more active the catfish becomes during the day. During this period we fish with both worms and softbaits.
Best time for catfish
The activity of the catfish, and therefore the best fishing time, is mainly related to the tide. Rising water and high tide are preferable to ebb and low tide. The planning of the fishing day is therefore done in consultation with the guide. Two days before the trip, the exact time and location will be determined to maximize the chance of a successful session.