Fishing lines: Strike a blow for Britain - clonk a cat

Remember, you read it here first. The new must-have item for fishermen is going to be... a clonk. It doesn't look too special. In fact, it's just a bent piece of wood. But those who fish for the country's ugliest fish assure me that if you want to catch a catfish, get a clonk.

Remember, you read it here first. The new must-have item for fishermen is going to be... a clonk. It doesn't look too special. In fact, it's just a bent piece of wood. But those who fish for the country's ugliest fish assure me that if you want to catch a catfish, get a clonk.

A Budapest company exhibiting at this weekend's European fishing-tackle trade show, Efftex, in London have a stand offering only "traditional Hungarian hand-made clonks". A decade ago, they wouldn't have taken a forint. But in today's catfish- loving climate, they will probably do pretty well.

Imagine a slightly crooked hockey stick, with the business end replaced by the head of a large, rounded wooden nail. You might imagine that the idea was to brain your quarry. On the contrary: you whack the water repeatedly with the clonk, and it sings a song that cats find irresistible.

It sounds ridiculous. but serious catfish anglers say a clonk is almost as important as bait. Using echo sounders, they can watch a clonk draw catfish from 40ft of water or more, right up to the surface.

Nobody is quite sure why it works. Maybe it makes the noise of a love-hungry catfish of the opposite sex. Maybe it imitates a shoal of feeding fish. Some claim it mimics a frog on the surface. Whatever the reason, it has become a vital piece of catfishing equipment.

Catfish are still uncommon here. But it won't be long before they are living near you. A lake not 200 yards from me now holds catfish over 40lb. They shouldn't be there, but loonies unmindful of the effects of foreign species are smuggling them into England. And they're not kittens, either; one notorious Essex water contains a catfish of over 100lb with a distinctly foreign accent. That's like keeping an elephant in your window box.

Worse, the wels, or European catfish, is immensely greedy. It will mop up everything else in the water that's smaller than itself. Fine if you enjoy catching these prehistoric horrors, with their long feelers and little mean eyes. Bad if you want to catch almost anything else.

You might think the answer is for the Environment Agency to buy a clonk, flail away until Mr Catfish turns up, and net it out. If only it were that simple. Clonkers assure me that not just any clonk will do. Sky presenter Nigel Botherway, who actually collects clonks, tells me that you need a different one for different waters. So a Spanish clonk (called a buschello) won't charm the cats in Croatia, and vice versa.

So I'm not sure quite how much business Energofish are going to do, selling their Hunor Clonk. (They claim the River Tisza in Hungary is the birthplace of the clonk, though nobody really knows.) But I feel duty-bound to go along and find out more.

There is, of course, a sure-fire way to catch catfish. It is, however, so outlandish, so downright scary, that it will never catch on here. Or could it? Judge for yourself. I'll tell you all about it next week.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower