‘Monster of the Mere’ still evading anglers

James Williams with the 100 lb catfish caught in Diss Mere in July. ANL-150312-103830001
James Williams with the 100 lb catfish caught in Diss Mere in July. ANL-150312-103830001

The 100lb catfish reportedly caught in Diss Mere in July has evaded anglers since then.

After it was photographed and returned to the water, Diss Angling Club began trying to catch it and move it to a lake at Stuston which is licensed to stock catfish. It is classed as a non-native invasive species which can be damaging to fish like crucian carp, for which the Mere is particularly well-known among anglers.

However, it was reported to the Town Council’s amenities and property committee last week that the catfish has not been caught and attempts to land it will begin again in April after its hibernation period.

Ben Wilby, who is on the club’s fishing committee and submits angling reports to the Diss Express, said the catch was still a mystery. His father had fished in the Mere for 60 years and had never seen it, and stocks of carp were not diminishing. Match-winning catches were, in fact, increasing in weight, he said.

The club had spent about £400 on a favourite catfish bait to tempt it to a particular part of the Mere where anglers could concentrate on trying to catch it but there had not even been a sighting of it.

Mr Wilby said it had been suggested that the fish had been illegally placed in the Mere but it was a puzzle why anybody would choose that way to get rid of a potentially valuable fish.