Phil's giant fish

What is he actually doing here?

A friend of mine is an avid fisherman. Avid to the point that it is an all- encompassing interest that takes him to shores far and wide – Belgium, Spain, France, Dagenham… in search of the biggest fish that mankind has ever seen.
And, quite possibly, this is it…
The photo on the left shows a catfish that weighs in at 180lbs (82kgs) – that’s more than me (substantially more than me, if you don’t mind), caught in the river Ebro in Spain, and to me, it begs the question – what the hell did he use as bait??
Of course, on a more serious note, it also prompts one to ask – Why?
Why do intelligent, socially adept, funny and otherwise entertaining people spend thousands of pounds and thousands of hours in a one man bivvy ( which is really a tiny tent that sleeps half), in a quest to hook a beast that defies all description and, in my world at least, exceeds all parameters of the normal imagination? Is it like Everest? Do they need to catch them “because they are there?” Does the struggle to catch such a creature represent something more – man’s need to establish his superiority over every other beast on the planet?  After all – you’re not gonna serve this up with chips, are you? Surely it can’t be argued that it serves any practical use or fulfills any basic need such as hunger??
Don’t get me wrong – I love fishing. I’ve spent many a happy hour watching a bobbing float on the Thames (or one of it’s navigation waters) and I’ve even been known to ledger. And I can remember the sheer ecstasy on my son’s face as he pulled out 7 mackerel on a recent sea fishing trip in Padstow…
I’m just intrigued – I always am – by stories such as this. I love the fact that the human condition requires such challenges to thrive and to be truly motivated, and it reminds me why I want to get out there. Make my mark. Help others to do the same. I enjoy the sensation that Phil is no doubt experiencing in these photos – the sense that we can do really quite amazing things, and that those “things” are only limited by our own imagination – so go ahead, imagine away!
And by the way, Phil puts these fish back into the depths – where they belong, to swim again in all their glory… and as a final postscript the world record for the Giant Mekong Catfish, caught by Thai fishermen in 2005, is 646lbs / 294kgs.