A North Carolina angler just caught an incredible 102 pound blue catfish, and guess what? It's not even his biggest!
Do you think you'd be a little excited if you boated a fish that weighed over 100 pounds? Yeah, we think so too! That understandable reaction is just what happened when Zakk Royce landed a 102 pound blue catfish.
"We were yelling and screaming," said Royce, a Murfreesboro, North Carolina resident. "We couldn't believe the size of the fish."
Royce is an experienced catfisherman - he operates 'Blues Brothers Catfish Guide Service' - so it's pretty cool that a man who makes his living catching big cats still feels the adrenaline and excitement of catching monster fish.
"When you see it in person, in the bottom of your boat, it's just mind blowing," he said.
Royce and Tyler Schultze were trolling gizzard shad on northern North Carolina's Lake Gaston when they hooked the beast on August 1.
"Tyler caught one early on that weighed about 25 pounds," said Royce. "We were happy to be off to a good start. We could see bait fish coming up, stripers busting on top, there was a lot of life out there. We kept seeing huge fins coming out of the water and the only thing out there that big is catfish."
Sounds like a fisherman's dream day. But fighting the monster proved a little more difficult than normal, given that the big blue employed an unusual technique once it got to within about ten feet of the boat. Royce recounted the battle:
"The rod slowly started bending over and I started reeling to get the circle hook in the fish. When I grabbed the rod out of the holder it was like I just hit a wall. It was dead weight. Within about 15 or 20 seconds, the fish came up to the surface and slapped its tail hard on the water. I thought to myself, this is probably a 100-pound fish.
I had never had a big fish do anything like this one. The fish was opening its mouth really wide and it was catching water like a parachute would catch air. It was just dead weight. I could not get the fish within the range of the net."
Finally Royce and Schultze were able to net the fish; at least they were able to get it's head in the net and heave the rest of it aboard.
The blue weighed 102 pounds and measured 54 inches long with a 41 inch girth! Good grief, that's a whole lotta fish!
But the kicker is, this wasn't even Royce's biggest blue catfish to date. It's his second biggest. He caught one that weighed 105 pounds back in 2015, which at the time was big enough to beat the current state record...wait for it...the current state record of 91 pounds set the day before by Royce himself!
This guy is a monster catfishing machine!
Royce's state record blue has since been eclipsed by a 117 pound, 8 ounce fish caught by Langdon Evans.
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