VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announced a near-record catfish was caught at Arkabutla Lake on July 19.
The guide service, Southern Boyz Grabbling, used a weighted wooden box to catch the 81.2-pound female flathead catfish by hand. At 54.5 inches long with a 36.5 inch girth, the catfish was just 8.3 pounds shy of the current state record.
Fishermen Dalton Scott, Josh Bennett and Jacob Bennett were guiding a client through her first grabbling experience at the time.
“The catfish instantly hammered my hand as soon as I reached into the box,” said Scott. “Her mouth went all the way up to my elbow, and she began to thrash around.”
Scott’s client then retrieved the fish from the box and brought it to the surface. The group opted to swim the catfish to shore. The fish was kept overnight in a large aerated tank and weighed on a certified scale the following day.
The fishermen contacted the Arkabutla Lake Field Office to inform the staff of their find and brought the fish to the office. Park rangers supervised the fishermen’s safe release of the catfish back into the lake. The fisherman said they hoped to catch the fish again in the future when it has gained enough weight to be the new state record.