Skip to main content

Blue Catfish Record Broken for 4th Consecutive Year

Huge Ohio River whiskerfish sets a new record in West Virginia.

Blue Catfish Record Broken for 4th Consecutive Year

Michael John Drake was the fourth angler in as many years to break West Virginia’s blue catfish record. (Photo courtesy of Mustad)

For West Virginia angler Michael John Drake there’s no fishing like catfishing. And considering the record-breaking fish he hooked in December, it’s easy to see why.

Drake broke a state record for blue catfish after he landed a 69.45-pound behemoth. It broke the previous record by two pounds. It was the fourth time in as many years that the state’s blue catfish record has been broken, according to the West Virginia DNR. The previous record caught last year by Steven Price weighed 67.22 pounds. He was fishing in the R.C. Byrd Pool of the Ohio River near Gallipolis when the big fish struck. It took him 20 minutes to boat it.

"That’s about all I fish for. If I’m not catfishing, then I’m catching bait for catfish," he said in a news release from Mustad.

record catfish
Michael John Drake’s record-breaking blue catfish weighed 69.45 pounds. (Courtesy of Mustad)

Drake baited fresh gizzard shad onto a 10/0 Mustad Demon circle hook on a Carolina rig with a 24-inch, 80-pound-test mono leader. The circle hook, with Mastad’s UltraPoint 4.3, assured the fish was released after certified. The catfish was measured at 50.51 inches by WVDNR hatchery manager Ryan Bosserman.

"I have relied on the Demon circle hook for many years. It suits me perfectly because I’m a CPR (catch-photo-release) guy.," Drake said in the Mustad release. "The way it works is fantastic; you engage the reel, put the rod in the holder, and then when it bends over, you crank down and the hook sets in the corner [of the fish’s mouth].

“I like to let all my fish go so I try to return them just as healthy as they were when they came in the boat,” he said. "With the Demon circle hook I rarely if ever gut-hook a fish. It’s always a perfect set in the corner of the mouth."

As the 40-pound monofilament mainline peeled off Drake's Abu Garcia 6500 reel, he knew a potential record was on the other end. “I’ve caught a lot of fish in the 45- to 50-pound range, and when they hit, they’ll pull some drag," he said. "When this one hit, it smoked my reel. It let me know really quickly that it had some shoulders on it."

Drake was able to keep the record fish alive in the 65-gallon live well of his G3 Sportsman 200 boat.

gaf-westvirginiacataward
Courtesy of Mustad

"You always hear the horror stories of everything going wrong with a big fish. You spend all the time, effort, and money going out chasing them. I try to cut out all the potential issues that could happen, and it all starts with having the right hook,” said Drake.


This article was written with information from news release information from the West Virginia DNR and Mustad




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Fishing

Advantage: Catamaran

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Fishing

Fly a Kite

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Fishing

Bumping Along

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Fishing

Bass Crash Course: Offshore Cranking

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Gear

Trika Rods

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Gear

New Shimano Baitcasters

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Hunting

Incredible Turkey Audio: Tommy Allen Punches his Minnesota Tag IN THE SNOW

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Destinations

First Turkey Ever: Perfect Conditions Make for a Short Hunt

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Fishing

Bass Crash Course: Bass Froggin' Game Plan

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Videos

What to Know Before Going Off-Road

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Learn

Off-Road Safety Tips and Techniques

Making sure you select the correct set of tires for off-roading is extremely important. There are three types suited for...
Gear

The Right Tires for Off-Roading

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now

Never Miss a Thing.

Get the Newsletter

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

By signing up, I acknowledge that my email address is valid, and have read and accept the Terms of Use