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.

News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape