August 09, 2022
The blue catfish grow so big and are so popular to catch in Mississippi that two different categories are kept for monster hunters — for those caught on rod and reel, and those caught by alternative means.
Both records have now been broken this year with mammoth catches of more than 100 pounds from the same fishing area, Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said.
The latest record came Aug. 1, when Christopher Halley of Brookhaven caught a 104-pound blue catfish in the Mississippi River near Natchez. Halley caught the fish on a trotline, setting a new record in Mississippi's Trophy (alternative methods) Division.
The previous Trophy Division record of 101 pounds was caught in 1997 by the team of Freddie Parker and Brad Smith.
See all of Mississippi’s state records here
Halley’s trotline record is the second state-record blue catfish caught on the Mississippi near Natchez this year.
On April 7, Eugene Cronley crushed the rod-and-reel record for blue catfish with a 131-pound blue that beat the previous record by 36 pounds. The previous record, caught in 2009, weighed 95 pounds. "It is truly a fish of a lifetime," Cronley said of the catch.
Read more stories about state-record fish
Blue catfish, native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Rio Grande river systems, is considered as great a food source as it is a brutish fighter. They’ve also been stocked in 20 states, according to NOAA Fisheries, and their range extends north into South Dakota, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, south into Mexico and Guatemala, and east/southeast to Mississippi, Alabama and the Mid-Atlantic.
The International Game Fish Association recognized world record for blue catfish is 143 pounds, caught in 2011 by Richard Anderson in Virginia.
In case you’re wondering, Mississippi has a third state record division blue catfish — for fly fishing, and it's currently vacant.