He caught the state record blue catfish while testing new fishing equipment on the Ohio River.
Last Saturday, angler Austin Hoffman was debating whether or not he should go fishing on the Ohio River to try out some new gear.
It’s a good thing he did. Hoffman bagged the new state record blue catfish.
Hoffman, 22, was with his girlfriend on his boat near the Robert C. Byrd Lock and Dam when he hooked the monster blue.
“I fought him for about 15 minutes and when I got him to the surface, there was no doubt in my mind it was a new state record,” Hoffman told the MetroNews.
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Big blue measured 47.75-inches and weighed 52.95 pounds, surpassing the previous state record of 43.9 inches and 44.5 pounds.
Hoffman’s catch is also signal that the state’s efforts to restore blue catfish to the region are working.
Locks and dams built on rivers in West Virginia have caused blue catfish numbers to plummet. But Hoffman’s catch is evidence that monster blue catfish are starting to make a comeback.
State biologist Scott Morrison – who verified Hoffman’s catch – said he expects to see more state record blue catfish in the coming years.
“We suspect records for a new fish like this are going to be broken quite a lot,” he said. “However, this time it wasn’t broken by just a pound or so, it was broken by a considerable amount.”
As for the fish, Hoffman released it alive into the Kanawha River.
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Featured Image via MetroNews