World-Record Blue Catfish From Illinois!

Illinois has some great catfishing spots, but who knew that a 124-pound monster was lurking about?

Prairie State catfish angler Tim Pruitt recently set a fishing record that will be difficult to top.

During a May 21 late-night fishing trip to the Illinois side of the Mississippi River below the Alton Lock and Dam, the Bethalto angler hooked a fish that tested his limits -- as well as that of his fishing gear and boat.

Following an exhausting battle that continued for about 40 minutes, Pruitt landed not only the largest catfish ever landed in Illinois, but the biggest blue cat ever caught in the world, a monstrous 124-pound lunker. The tug-of-war dragged the boat containing Pruitt, his wife and a friend for three miles downriver.

The record catch measured 58 inches in length and had a girth of 44 inches, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources district fisheries biologist Fred Cronin. It weighed in at 124 pounds and topped the previous state record for the species by a phenomenal 39 pounds.

That previous state-record blue catfish also came from the Mississippi River, but nearly 100 miles downstream from Alton.

According to Cronin, Pruitt's fish outweighed the previous world-record blue catfish by 3 1/2 pounds. That fish was caught in Lake Texoma in Texas.

"While we have already verified the catch as an official Illinois state record, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) who maintains the world records requires a greater amount of information for their verification process," Cronin explained.

Interestingly, all the publicity surrounding the record catch now has many Alton area anglers concerned that hundreds, if not thousands, of hopeful record-seekers from across the nation will descend upon their secret fishing hole just north of St. Louis.

"I knew it was just a matter of time before someone landed a new state record from these waters." Cronin said. "There had been several blue catfish in the 80-pound category caught from these same waters in the past year."

You can read more about Tim Pruitt's remarkable catch in the August issue of Illinois Game & Fish magazine, available on newsstands July 19.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.


MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

Wild Game

10 Memorial Day Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ Staff

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these...


Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

See More Stories

More Catfish


Great Plains Catfish Best Bets 2019

Brent Frazee

What catfish anglers can expect in the Great Plains region and a look at some of the hottest...


Georgia Catfish Best Bets 2019

Steven Johnson

Learn where you can find the best prospects for channel, blue and flathead catfish this...


Indiana Catfish Best Bets 2019

Tom Berg

Make big plans this year for catching big cats on Indiana's largest waterways.

See More Catfish

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


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