2018 ended with a bang for a Tennessee woman as she reeled in an 88-pound monster catfish from Kentucky Lake on December 30.
Paula Cathey Smith of Waverly, Tenn., had been in a nearly month-long fishing dry spell. She hadn't caught much to brag about but that all changed just as 2018 was ending and the new year was about to begin. On December 30 she hooked and landed an incredible blue catfish weighing 88 pounds.
"Everything's been messed up for about a month now; I've been managing to catch fish, I'm just not catching my big guys," Smith said, who had just gotten over the flu when she caught the big fish. "We had been out about 30 minutes Sunday and I threw out a fresh gizzard shad and bam! He hit it right off the bat."
Battling river monsters sounds like a great way to get over the flu to us!
Some anglers fish their whole lives hoping for a monster fish like this. But Smith is no stranger to big blues. "I've caught from 38 pounds on up each week over this past year," she said. But this blue catfish gave her plenty to celebrate to close out 2018.
Clearly, if you watch the video, Smith is beside herself with excitement. The 88-pound catfish is her personal best. Her previous PB was nothing to sneeze at either though, it was an 82-pounder!
Smith's husband, Ken, happens to be a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wildlife officer. He weighed the big catfish and Paula couldn't believe it. "I can't believe I got an 88-pound fish!" she exclaimed while trying to hold onto the beast.
"I've fished all my life, and we fish a lot," she said. "He's not crazy about catfishing. He's a big bass fisherman. I've swapped him over to catfishing and talked him into getting a catfishing boat and enjoying the whole deal. He's fixing to retire in February, and we're fixing to travel around the world and catfish."
Traveling the world after some of the biggest game fish in existence? Sounds like a great retirement plan! After weighing the monster catfish, Smith released it back into Kentucky Lake.
The current Tennessee state record blue catfish is a 112-pound behemoth caught in 1998 by Robert Lewis out of the Cumberland River. But the IGFA world record is even bigger than that. The current reigning fish was a 143-pound that came from Virginia in 2011.
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