His first priority was keeping this massive flathead alive, not chasing the record.
A story that broke on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency-Region III Facebook page was one that was hard not to read. Record fish stories come along seemingly all summer long, but this one has some sort of feel-good vibe to the whole thing, especially considering it involves a possible Tennessee state record flathead catfish.
Troy Powers, 16, from Kingston, Tennessee, was fishing with his dad and a neighbor on their pontoon, spot hopping all over Watts Bar Lake. As soon as Powers set hooks into his fish, he knew right away that it was the biggest fish that he had ever encountered. The others on the boat didn’t believe him…at first.
It wasn’t until about 20 minutes into the fight that the near 100-pound flathead came to the surface and gave everyone a clear view. Fortunately, the fish decided to swim directly towards the boat and into the net.
Once in the boat, pictures were quickly taken and a decision to release the fish was made. However, this was not before it bottomed out a 50-pound scale when it wasn’t even three quarters of the way lifted off the deck.
“We really only keep crappie and everything else we release,” Troy said in an interview with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “We were concerned with keeping the fish alive. It was a hard decision to make.” He added.
“The catfish was older than me. It felt good just to see it swim off and have a chance to grow and get bigger.”
“It’s great to see a species of fish achieve a size that exceeds expectations,” Mike Jolley, a TWRA fisheries biologist, said in regards to this giant catch.
“Watts Bar no doubt has the right ingredients to produce trophy flathead catfish. This flathead caught could easily be over 20 years old.”
When asked how he felt about releasing a possible Tennessee state record flathead catfish, Troy gave the best response he could.
“It was my state record,” he grinned.
When it comes to fishing, that is all that really matters anyways.
Pictures via Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency-Region III