June 05, 2018
A Virginia man reportedly used a $20 rod to wrestle in a record flathead catfish.
We all know fish only care about what's at the end of the line, not where the line begins.
Virginia angler Jeffrey Dill can attest to that. He reportedly used a $20 Walmart fishing rod to land what appears to be the biggest flathead catfish in state history.
Once officially confirmed by the state, the 68.8-pound flathead would break the current record (66 pounds, 4 ounces, caught by Mike Willems in 1994) by more than 2 pounds, according to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries data.
>> Click Here: Virginia's state-record freshwater fish
It took Dill around 15 minutes to subdue the potential record — nicknamed "Big Earle," according to reports — on May 26 while fishing with a friend at Lake Smith near Virginia Beach.
"I talked with some of my older buddies and they said some people fish their whole lives and never get close to a state record; it's a big deal," Dill told VirginiaFirst.com.
Lake Smith is listed by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as one of the state's flathead hotspots, but an agency biologist said it was a surprising to see such a trophy come from coastal Virginia.
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The fish was weighed on a certified scale at Oceans East Bait and Tackle in Virginia Beach, which posted photos of the catch on its Facebook page. Fisheries biologist Chad Boyce observed the weigh-in. "It was a true river monster," Boyce said.
The big flathead wasn't the biggest whiskerfish caught out of Virginia waters. The 143-pound blue catfish caught by Nick Anderson (June 2011, Buggs Island) is also a world record.
Dill's state-record application is expected to be approved, Boyce said.
>>Must Read: Biggest Catfish Records All-Time
It would be at least the second freshwater record set so far this year in Virginia.
Del Pool broke the freshwater drum record on March 26 with a 29-pound, 6-ounce fish caught at Buggs Island.
Last year, only one freshwater record fell (spotted bass, 4-10, Dec. 17). Two saltwater records were broken last year (gray triggerfish, 6-12, Nov. 1; golden tilefish, 58-0, June 27).