We’ve all heard stories from fishermen about “the one that got away.” In those tales, the biggest fish ever got hooked on the end of the line and gave such a fight that it escaped its fate.
Sometimes, though, the angler wins the battle, and now Eugene Cronley of Mississippi has a fish story that needs no exaggeration. In fact, the catfish Cronley caught is so big, that it’s been certified as a state record-breaker and could be considered for a world record, as well.
During his April 7 fishing excursion on the Mississippi River near Natchez, Mississippi, Cronley reeled in a 131-pound blue catfish that looked like something from prehistoric times. Needless to say, that big-‘ol blue wasn’t coming out of the river willingly.
“He hit the rod and started pulling drag,” Cronley told the Clarion Ledger. “I couldn’t move him. I’d pull on him and he’d pull and take 10 feet.”
The determined angler spent 45 minutes fighting to reel in the fish and finally, Cronley and the others on the boat got a glimpse of his river opponent.
“We catch a lot of 50-pounders down there and I knew he was bigger than that,” Cronley told the Ledger. “We didn’t know until we pulled him up. We knew then we had a monster.”
“We could hardly get him in the boat,” he added. “I was wore out.”
In addition to its whopping body weight, the blue catfish measured 4.7-feet long and had a girth of 41 inches around.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks took a few days to certify the measurements, but once it did, the news of the broken record spread on social media.
Prior to Cronley’s catch, the state record was 95 pounds.
After already breaking one record, Cronley could also be a line class world record holder based on the size of the fish and the equipment he used.
According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Cronley used a rod and reel with skipjack herring as bait. The line on the reel was a 30-pound test monofilament variety, which the International Game Fish Association needs to confirm. If the organization confirms the equipment, Cronley’s fish will be the biggest fish caught on that strength of the fishing line.
Either way, Cronley said his catch “is truly the fish of a lifetime.”
“I’ve been catfishing all my life and I never dreamed of something like this,” he said.
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