Monster Mississippi Catfish Caught With Rod and Reel Smashes State Record

A monster blue catfish caught in Mississippi with a rod and reel has smashed the state record by almost 40 pounds.

Angler Eugene Cronley caught the 131 pound fish on April 7 in the Mississippi River near Natchez.

It took him 40 minutes to land the monster, with a rod and reel and a skipjack herring as bait, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries said in a statement.

Cronley told the Department it was "truly a fish of a lifetime."

The ginormous blue catfish broke the previous "rod and reel" record set in 2009 by Dakota Hinson, who caught a 95-pound catfish. It was also larger than the trophy record, caught by Freddie Parker and Brad Smith in 1997, which weighed 101 pounds.

monster catfish
Monster catfish breaks Mississippi state record. The fish was reeled in by Eugene Cronley on April 7. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

All these titan catfish were caught in the same part of the Mississippi River, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries said.

Blue catfish can be found around Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Rio Grande. They have been introduced to other areas in recent years purely for fishing purposes.

The species are a popular catch across the world because of their size. It is a particularly hard fish to reel in, due to its strength and savviness, meaning they are often regarded as a prize catch.

Blue catfish can grow as large as 5 feet long and the majority do not exceed weights of more than 100 pounds. They normally live for about ten years, however there have been reports of some living until 25.

Cronley told The Clarion Ledger that when he felt the pull on his rod, at first, he was unable to move the fish. At this point, he knew the fish was big however did not imagine it would be 131 pounds.

"We catch a lot of 50-pounders down there and I knew he was bigger than that. We didn't know until we pulled him up. We knew then we had a monster," Cronley told The Clarion Ledger.

Monster catfish
The fish took Cronley 40 minutes to reel in Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

When Cronley finally won the battle, he said he could hardly lift the fish onto the boat. "I was wore out," he told The Clarion Ledger.

Cronley said holding the state record still seems unimaginable. He has been fishing for catfish his whole life, he told the newspaper, but he had "never dreamed" of something like this.

The fish was 4.7 foot long, and had a girth of 41 inches, The Clarion Ledger said.

Cronley said the pictures of the catch does not truly capture its monstrous size.