Micka and Amy Burkhart were expecting a fun day of fishing, but they definitely weren't expecting this. While their day on the Cumberland River in Tennessee started out peaceful and rather run-of-the-mill, it ended with Micka hooking a 118.7-pound blue catfish that was poised to break a Tennessee state record.
Angler Catches 118.7 Pound Blue Catfish, A Tennessee Record
A Monster Of A Catch
Micka's massive catch hit the books at 54 inches long and with a 41-inch girth -- a truly gargantuan catfish.
According to local news, Micka and Amy were fishing in the Cumberland River employing a skipjack for bait when Micka snagged the monster fish on a Mad Katz rod decked out with an 8/0 Gamakatsu hook. Micka was only boasting 30-pound Berkley Trilene on the setup! But even after the lunker was hooked, Burkhart didn't realize how large it was.
"At first it just kind of came in easily, swimming towards me a little bit," he told the news. "At that point I don't believe the fish even realized it was hooked."
Then ... It Realized It Was Hooked
After the monster neared Micka's boat, it finally dawned on the Tennessee man how truly immense his catch was. But this was also when the catfish realized it had a hook in its mouth. The hawg quickly turned and ran, almost spooling the reel by doing so. Micka and Amy were then impelled to race after the fish downstream. The whole debacle took over 45 minutes before the cat finally tuckered out. At that point, Micka and Amy were finally able to net it.
Upon realizing he might have one for the record books, Micka called up a friend, Bryan Ladd, who was fishing nearby. The two men weighed the giant cat on a scale (albeit an uncertified one) and confirmed their suspicions. But Micka wanted to release the cat into the Cumberland again, so they had to act fast.
"I almost didn't get him certified because I didn't want that fish to die," Burkhart said to the news. "I wanted to do everything in our power to release it."
A Job Well Done
Finally, Amy and Micka were able to place their catch in a Livewell so that it could remain alive as they found certified scales. Thankfully, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officer Dalton Gooch arrived on the scene and helped them do just that. The record weight was all but official at that point.
In the end, the cat was released into the wild -- free to swim another day.