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Angler’s First Paddlefish Becomes State Record in Tennessee

Talk about beginner’s luck…

On April 12, angler Gene Robinson decided to give paddlefishing a try for the first time, and boy was he glad he did.

While fishing on Cherokee Lake, Robinson landed a 95-pound, 69.6-inch long paddlefish – the new Tennessee state record for the species.

RELATED: This record paddlefish would eat Robinson’s catch for breakfast.

Photo via

Robinson told the Chattanoogan that he was fishing in 60 to 70 feet of water with 20-pound-test when he connected with the record paddlefish. He spent nearly 45 minutes fighting with the fish.

“The pole was bent over pretty good,” Armstrong said. “There was a time when I thought it was going to break, but luckily it didn’t.”

Ironically, Robinson was fishing with the angler who caught the previous state record paddlefish, Stephen Criss.

Criss helped Robinson pull the fish into the boat, and encouraged him to weigh it on a certified scale.

The Tennessee Wildlife Agency has certified Robinson’s catch as the new state record. The paddlefish is also the second largest fish ever caught on a rod and reel in Tennessee. The biggest was a 112-pound blue catfish caught in the Cumberland River.

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Angler’s First Paddlefish Becomes State Record in Tennessee