Chris Hartley (28) from Rhyl, North Wales, made the 3-hour journey yesterday for a Day Ticket on Masters Lake and doubled his PB by landing a massive 68lb catfish on his first ever cat session.  
Chris fished peg 4 using a Shatterford’s ready-made cat rig (£1.99) and a chunk of pork luncheon meat. For most of the day, he’d been focusing on the carp and was keen to beat his PB of 34lb, but during the latter half of the day, he decided to try one rod for the cats, resulting in action within the hour! 
Chris was ecstatic:  He told us:  “When the line went tight I thought, this just has to be a 20;  no, it’s a 30 – it could even be a 40.  And when I saw it – Wow!  I just couldn’t believe the size of it.  The fight in it was tremendous and thanks to the co-operation of the guys fishing next to me, who pulled in their rods when the cat struck, I was able to let it run.  It took me to the other side of the lake and I knew if tried too hard, I’d just snap.  There was no way that fish was coming my way until it was good and ready!”
With appropriate use of his gear and a good helping of patience, Chris successfully landed the monster in just over ten minutes.  The landing and official weigh-in was witnessed by five other anglers and Daven Percival, a member of the Shatterford team.  It therefore qualifies as the current site record, beating the previous one of 66lb, achieved in May 2008.
Shatterford’s owner, Ivan Norman said:  “Bearing in mind that cats can gain well over 5lb per year and Craig Botfield’s scales bottomed out heavily at 65lb with his cat in October 2009, there’s clearly a chance of a 70lb+ in Masters.  Until that shows, Chris deservedly holds the site record.”
Achieving this record wasn’t the only bonus for Chris.  He’s also managed a friendly Hat Trick by beating his fellow angler, Frank Davis on three accounts.  Chris explains:  “I’ve beat Frank with an 18lb pike, a 34lb carp and now a 68lb cat.  He’ll never let me live it down!”     
Photo Caption:  Chris Hartley (right) and Frank Davis (Rhyl) – 68lb Catfish Masters Peg 4 – 11th May 2010.