A British man named Ian Welch is the talk of the globe today, as during his journeys in Thailand he managed to hunt down and capture a record setting 7′ 7”, 770 pound giant freshwater stringray.
The giant, massive Goliath of a stingray was boldly encamped in Taiwan’s Maeklong river, where for years this great beast openly defied anyone to cross its path. (article and photos continue after image)
That is until the day a British man named Ian Welch descended into the angry, raging waters of the Maeklong.
As if guided by fate, Welch set out in his boat on that epic day, a crew of loyal mates in toe. They had no idea the upcoming battle that would face them as the 154 pound Welch casually tossed out a line from his high grade fishing rod.
The sun mounted high in the midday sky, burning bright as the brave boats-men noticed a strange calm had come over the mighty river. For a moment, just a moment, it was as if all had a moment of epiphany. The calm, being one with nature and enjoying the glories of creation gave each man a unique, ethereal feeling.
But suddenly, however, a terrifying tempest without precedent set upon the shocked men of the expedition. Their lives would never be the same.
The storm started as Welch’s rod suddenly snagged something unknown on the foot of the river. Whatever had snagged the rod instantly brought Welch’s boat, even with its powerful churning engines, to a dead halt. An eerie silence fell over the crew, with only the rhythmic cadence of their alert hearts being set upon their ears.
Then without warning, faster than one can make a blink of the eye, Ian Welch found himself completely airborne and being dragged by his rod. He did not let go and he knew that what had snagged his rod was alive, perhaps it was the legendary beast of the Maeklong.
Welch’s life flashed before his eyes as his airborne body reached the edge of the boat, the river’s body being its next destination. Fortunately, the quick hands of one of his sailors caught him by the seat of the pants and together, the sailors saved Welch from the death the river monster would have instantly brought to him.
What followed next is the stuff of novels. The crew, a full compliment of 13 men, versus nature, a giant sting ray, with a swagging 10-foot tail of death. Many of you may remember that it was also a stingray, a far smaller variety, that brought death to famed naturalist Steve Irwin.
Their boat now being dragged by the powerful stingray, the band of brothers united to pull the rod, efforts combined to tide the ray’s power by wearing it out. Welch gives this eyewitness account of his epic battle:
“‘It buried itself on the bottom. I tried with every ounce of power but it just would not budge. After half an hour my arms began shaking and after an hour my legs went.” Welch continues:
“‘Another 30 minutes went by and then I put a glove on and physically pulled the line with gritted teeth.’ ”
But through perseverance and a battle that had the beast dashing the boat with its giant 10 foot tail, the men dodging near death all the while, they finally managed to tire it out and bring it aboard.
The battle was over. Welch then quickly set to work in tagging the stingray, extracting its DNA, discovering it was a pregnant female and setting it back to the river as mandated by the program to tag vulnerable species of the river.
But the true story is of course that of man’s dominion and respect over such a great creature of the river. Rightfully, the exhausted brave crew of the Maeklong took pictures and boasted, treating themselves to nice, iced waters as they retold the adventures they faced that day to their friends and patrons of a local eatery.