This massive blue catfish may break three different records!
Landon Evan’s massive catfish is a new state record for North Carolina, but it may also be a junior world record and a line class record for 30-pound line.
The 15-year-old was fishing Lake Gaston last Saturday night when something huge took the gizzard shad he was using as bait from a dock just after sunset. He was actually fishing two different set-ups, but the fish that struck took the bait off a baitcasting rod intended for bass.
In fact, he only had 30-pound line on the reel. “As soon as I picked up the rod and reel, I knew this was a larger fish than I’d ever caught before,” Evans told North Carolina Sportsman. “I fish for catfish at Lake Gaston and have caught a fair number of 30- and 40-pounders, but nothing like this.”
It turns out Evans had greatly, greatly underestimated exactly what was on the other end of the line. “It was pulling hard and took line anytime it wanted,” Evans said. “I was thinking it might go 50 or 60 pounds.”
After 20 minutes of fighting, Evans got his first look at the fish and realized this was bigger than he could have imagined. He called to his parents, who came down to dockside to aid in the final landing of fish.
The massive blue catfish broke the rod, but not before the boy’s mother was able to get a net over its tail. His father got a second net over the head and Landon jumped down to help. It took all three of them to get the fish onto the dock.
The Evans family had some 100-pound digital scales, but the fish was too big. So they put it in a pool with an aerator in hopes they could keep it alive and get it weighed properly the next morning.
The fish died overnight, but the family took the massive blue catfish to a larger set of scales at a marina. When the scales there showed 120 pounds, they knew they had to find a certified scale because it was state record material.
At 55 inches long and with a 40.5 inch girth, it’s one impressive catfish!
The fish didn’t get weighed officially until Monday morning when a North Carolina Wildlife Resources biologist met them at a hardware store in Littleton. It was there that an official weight of 117.5 pounds was recorded. The biologist recommended the fish to be the new state record.
It was also then they realized the other records the fish may break. They have to wait for the IGFA to certify the other records, but there’s little doubt Landon’s parents are excited and proud of the 15-year-old’s accomplishment.
“I’m really proud of Landon,” his father Brandon Evans said. “This was quite the catch and he did everything but the netting on his own.”
Lake Gaston is apparently a huge blue catfish hot spot. Evans’ massive fish is the second time the record has been broken in six months. Zakk Royce pulled a 105 pounder out of the lake back in January.
In a testament to a fisherman who is a good sport, Landan sought Royce’s advice when they realized how big the catfish was and he helped the teen figure out everything he needed to do to get the catch certified.
“Zakk was very helpful,” Evans said. “He told me where to download the state-record application form, to call a biologist and that his record fish had been weighed at the Ace Hardware in Littleton.”