Oklahoma Fisherman Lands 106-Pound Flathead Catfish While Noodling

by Courtney Blackann

If you’ve never tried it, it’s a pretty creepy concept. The thought of blindly shoving your arm down a watery hole seems like quite a risk. However, the sport of ‘noodling’ is actually quite popular. And one Oklahoma fisherman has landed himself a huge catch.

Unlike fishing with a rod and reel, noodling refers to using your bare arm to reach into the water and sand and grab fish out by their mouths. So basically, your arm is the bait and you are your own rod. The sport is wildly popular in the south as well.

Levi Bennett was fishing with his wife, Kodi, and friend in East Texas. The three are avid noodlers, with Kodi Bennett holding a few titles. However, Levi Bennett blew his wife’s titles out of the water – literally – when he pulled a record 106-pound flathead catfish from the murky water.

If it’s difficult to imagine wrangling something that large with just your hand, you’re not wrong. The angler fought with it as he lured it from the pipe where the three were fishing. When Bennett finally pulled the animal ashore, he guessed the creature was around 94 pounds or so. So it was a real treat when he laid his catch on the scale and it reached 106 pounds – breaking the world record by more than 20 pounds.

While the fisherman would need an official scale to post the world record, he and his wife decided to let the animal go.

Bennett explained his decision saying “to me, it’s not worth killing a fish that big and that old just to have some record.”

Big Game Fishing Records

While a 106-pound flathead catfish is a monster of a catch, imagine taking three hours to reel in something that’s over 1,000 pounds. That’s exactly what a Florida man did while fishing the annual  Mid-Atlantic Billfish Classic off the coast of Maryland earlier this summer.

Billy Gerlach captured a 1,135 pound Atlantic blue marlin worth more than $1 million dollars. The crew was about 70 miles from Ocean City and trolling. The day had been a bit slow. But that’s when the fisherman felt the bite of his life.

Once the vigorous fight was nearing an end after three hours of hard work, Gerlach saw his catch and knew he’d be coming home a rich man.

His blue marlin broke the 2009 state record by more than one hundred pounds. The fish required a boat full of crew members to lug onboard. Before the boat returned to shore, rumors swirled about the large catch and viewers gathered to catch a glimpse. To say it was the catch of a lifetime is quite an understatement!