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Illinois Anglers Land 48-Pound Flathead Catfish

Sharlene Parr

Buddies Al Bufford and Mike Kimberlin pulled a monster flathead catfish from the Kankakee River. What they caught it on is pretty cool!

Catfishing is a family affair for the Bufford and Kimberlin clan. And May 23 was no different. Set up in the River Road area, they were catching channel catfish using a secret recipe stink bait.

But when Bufford hooked into a three or four-pound channel cat, the fishing buddies of 18 years suddenly had something bigger to contend with. While reeling in the small catfish, a huge 48.4-pound flathead catfish decided to chomp down on the bite size snack. It was game on.

The battle lasted 15 to 20 minutes, finally ending when Kimberlin waded in with a dip net and the duo landed the trophy fish together.

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This was the largest of their flathead catches to date, but it pales in comparison to the 81-pound, 6.4-ounce Illinois record. The national record is a 123-pound fish caught from the Elk City, Kansas, reservoir.

Although both Al and Mike are meat eaters, the opted to let this trophy fish go. And if it keeps snacking on 4-pound channel cats, who knows what it might weigh a few years down the road.

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Illinois Anglers Land 48-Pound Flathead Catfish