A longtime Mississippi angler has broken a state record after catching a “monster” catfish weighing 131 pounds (59.4 kilograms).
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said Eugene Cronley of Brandon caught the blue catfish on April 7 in the Mississippi River near Natchez.
“I’ve been catfishing my whole life and never dreamed of anything like this,” Cronley told the Clarion Ledger.
He said he used a rod and reel with skipjack herring as bait and it took him 40 minutes to catch the fish.
According to Cronley, the struggle with the fish began five minutes after his bait entered the water.
“We had to untie the boat and float down the river,” Cronley told the Clarion Ledger. “I couldn’t move it. I was shooting at him and taking a foot line and he was shooting and taking 10 feet. I just sat there like I was suspended.
“It really is a fish of a lifetime,” he said, adding, “It’s a monster.”
Due to its size, Cronley had to take the fish to Van’s Deer Processing and Sporting Goods in Rankin County, Mississippi, which had a certified scale large enough to weigh the fish.
The department said the Cronley fish broke the previous rod and reel record of a 95-pound (43.1 kilogram) fish caught in 2009. It is also larger than the 101-pound blue catfish ( 45.8 kilograms) captured by a team of two. people in 1997. These two fish were also caught in the Mississippi River near Natchez.
Cronley was just over 10 pounds lighter than the world record for catching a blue catfish, which was set in 2011 when a giant 143-pound (64.9 kilogram) was brought in from a Virginia Lake, according to the International Game Fish Association. .
Cronley said his fish was 56.6 inches (1.4 meters) long with a circumference of 41 inches (1.04 meters).
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, blue catfish typically grow to two feet or less. In rare cases, they can exceed 5 feet and 100 pounds.