A Mississippi angler has netted the biggest blue catfish in the state’s history, smashing previous records.
Eugene Cronley, from the city of Brandon in the state of Mississippi, caught the 131-lb whopper in the Mississippi River on April 7th.
In a statement obtained by Zenger News, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks said this week that they have confirmed a new state record for a blue catfish.
The government office said: “The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries Bureau has certified a new state record blue catfish.
“Eugene Cronley, the lucky angler from Brandon, caught the 131-pound fish on April 7, 2022 from the Mississippi River near Natchez. Mr. Cronley said that it took him forty minutes to land the huge fish.”
Cronley said: “It is truly a fish of a lifetime.”
The Mississippi bureau said the blue catfish broke the previous rod and reel record from 2009 as well as the trophy record from back in 1997.
The statement said: “The fish shattered the previous rod and reel record of 95 lbs. caught by Dakota Hinson in 2009 and is larger than the trophy record blue catfish of 101 lbs. caught by the team of Freddie Parker and Brad Smith in 1997.
“Interestingly, both of those fish were also caught from the Mississippi River near Natchez.”
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries Bureau added: “Mr. Cronley caught the fish with a rod and reel using skipjack herring as bait.”
The blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) can live up to 20 years is the largest species of North American catfish, reaching a length of 165 cm (65 in) and a weight of 68 kg (150 lb).
The typical length is about 25–46 in (64–117 cm) and the blue catfish is mainly found in the Mississippi River drainage, including the Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Arkansas Rivers.
They have also been introduced in a number of reservoirs and rivers, notably the Santee Cooper lakes of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie in South Carolina, the James River in Virginia, Powerton Lake in Pekin, Illinois, and Lake Springfield in Springfield, Illinois.
It is also found in some lakes in Florida and is often considered an invasive pest in some areas, particularly the Chesapeake Bay.
Blue catfish can tolerate brackish water, and thus colonize along inland waterways of coastal regions.
On June 18, 2011, Nick Anderson of Greenville, North Carolina, reeled in a 143-lb blue catfish from John Kerr Reservoir, more commonly known as Buggs Island Lake, on the Virginia-North Carolina border.
And on February 7, 2012, a 136-lb blue catfish was caught on a commercial-fishing trot line in Lake Moultrie, one of the two Santee Cooper lakes, near Cross, South Carolina.
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