Arizona Fisherman Catches Potential Record-Breaking Catfish and Is Ready to Fry the Catch

by Jennifer Shea

An angler in Arizona landed a potentially record-breaking catfish. There was just one problem: the fisherman was at a family fish fry, and he was surrounded by hungry relatives expecting some fried fish.

So he decided not to certify the fish. Family came first.

Last weekend, Steve Cooper was fishing at a special fishing hole discovered by his father. His nephew Mark Henry was with him, and they were about to reel in the fish of their dreams.

“We’ve been catching big fish for a long time but I think this one set the family record,” Henry told ABC 15.

Cooper was using a live bluegill for bait. He had already landed some bass, some bluegill and some channel catfish when something major tugged at his line.

“We know we’re gonna catch something, but I didn’t know Moby Dick was coming up,” Cooper told the news station.

Fisherman Potentially Breaks State Record

At the end of the line was a heavy flathead catfish – so heavy, in fact, that Cooper strained to reel him in.

“I fought him for a good half an hour,” Cooper said. “I fought for a good half an hour and he got my blood racing several times.”

For a while there, Cooper feared it was going to get away from him. But eventually, he got the better of the enormous fish.

“Right before you land him, a lot of things could go wrong, right, and I didn’t want [to] be that guy telling the story, he broke the line right there,” the fisherman told ABC 15.

Once they got the fish reeled in, they measured and weighed him. On multiple scales, the 3-foot-long fish weighed 79 to 80 pounds.

The Arizona record for flathead catfish is 76 pounds.

Angler Decides Not to Certify Fish

The anglers knew that they had likely broken a state record. But they had other things to consider before getting the fish officially certified – like their relatives. It was a family weekend, and people were ready to eat some fried fish.

“We didn’t get it certified, but it’s fine with us,” Henry said, according to Outdoor Life. “We just want to have a good time and eat some good catfish, that’s all.”

At the end of the day, the anglers have a picture of the monster catfish in their cooler and their own memories of catching it. And that’s enough for them.