Angler Surprises Himself by Reeling in Record-Breaking Catfish: ‘I Thought I Snagged a Tree’

by Kayla Zadel

This Maryland angler is setting new records in the Old Line State with his massive catch. Joshua Dixon is the first angler to become Maryland’s first record holder for flathead catfish.

Dixon, who resides in Elkton, had his sights set on a walleye, but it seems like the only takers on the Susquehanna River were flathead catfish. The angler didn’t realize what was happening at first. Dixon thought he had just snagged his line because there was no movement at the end of his pole.

“It was really weird because I thought I snagged a tree,” Dixon stated in a news release USA Today reports. “It didn’t feel like a fish, but after a while it was going crazy.”

The catfish measured 50 inches and weighed 57 pounds. This meant that Dixon’s catch qualified for the vacant spot in the state’s invasive species category. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources had previously set 40 pounds as a minimum mark to qualify for a record.

The Maryland Angler Tells His Tale

The 34-year-old reports that he and a friend were casting swim-baits from shore and were catching smaller flathead catfish on Dec. 27. The duo had caught around 30 smaller fish before the big one struck.

Dixon says that he was using a light spinning outfit even though there were swift river conditions. Therefore, hooking the fish was a challenge.

“I barely got it in,” the angler says. “I thought I was going to break the rod, plus I only had 15-pound-test braid [line] and a 12-pound-test fluorocarbon [leader], and the river was in crazy spill conditions.”

The record was officially approved on Dec. 30. Dixon shared a photo of him holding up the massive flathead. He captions the pic with, “What a way to cap off my personal goal of over 300 days of fishing this year. Pending new MD state record.”

Furthermore, Dixon donated fillets from his record-setting catch to neighborhood friends.