Last Saturday, a West Virginia angler on the Ohio River was simply trying out some new gear in his boat at the right place and right time when he hooked and landed a 47.75-inch, 52.95-pound blue catfish—beating the previous state record of 43.9 inches and 44.5 pounds.
Check it out:
The MetroNews says 22-year-old Austin Hoffman took his girlfriend to fish below Robert C. Byrd Lock and Dam when they decided to make one more run. Just before motoring upstream, the fish of a lifetime took the bait.
“About the time I started reeling the ones on the rear up, I saw the front one go down,” he said. “I fought him for about 15 minutes and when I got him to the surface, there was no doubt in my mind it was a new state record.”
Hoffman’s blue catfish is especially noteworthy because locks and dams constructed on the state’s rivers have since caused the fish’s populations — a native species to the area — to plummet. Five years ago, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources began a program to restore blue catfish numbers, and believe Hoffman’s catch is a sign things are working.