Levi Bennett’s massive 106-pound catfish could have been the one that got away, but he knew he got his bare hands on it.
On a recent fishing trip to Texas, the Seminole, Okla.-noodler took his wife and a friend. The trio came back with more than a story to tell. They had some pictures too.
“I felt it and got my hand on it, and it was an absolute giant,” he told Field and Stream. “But plain and simple that fish whooped my ass. Just wore me out.”
The noodler caught up with his prize in a ditch off of an East Texas lake. He was halfway through the 35-foot-long pipe when he met his catch. Little did Levi Bennett know, but there were two of the massive fish around him, according to BroBible.com.
Family Plays A Hand In Noodler’s Bare Handed Catfish Grab
At first, Bennett’s catfish gave him the slip, sneaking by him. But he followed it out.
“Kodi and Jimmy were both looking at me like I’m an idiot,” Bennett told Field and Stream. “I said, ‘He’s gone.’ I was mad.”
His wife, Kodi Bennett, blocked the opposite end of the pipe with fellow noodler Jimmy Millsap. Kodi Bennett is a three-time winner of the Okie Noodling Tournament women’s division. (In 2019, she took the title with a catfish that came in at 54.05 pounds.) The Ada News said the group was using SCUBA gear for fishing the pipe.
“No, he’s right here,” Kodi told her husband. “He just bumped my foot. Get back in there.”
Bennett wrestled it back on the boat. When the group went back to shore, he learned that he landed his biggest catch ever, a 58-inch-long flathead that topped 100 pounds.
“As soon as it broke the surface of the water, I knew it was the fish of a lifetime,” says Kodi, whose personal best is a 74-pound. tournament-winner. “I was in amazement. I’ve never seen a fish that big.”
When thoroughly weighed, the fish tipped the scales at 106 pounds, which would have easily been a new Noodling world record by 20 pounds. The Ada News said an Oklahoma fish broke the national noodling record at 87.85 pounds.
But without a certified scale, he could not know if it was an official world record. Bennett’s options were to keep the fish alive until it was weighed or kill it.
They initially weighed the fish at 97 pounds. But Kodi Bennett thinks there were a few more pounds somewhere.
“Plus, Levi could never get the fish off his body because he had to lean back with it to get it up,” she continued. “So there’s a possibility it might have weighed more.”
After a few fishy glamor shots, he dropped it back in, saying, “to me, it’s not worth killing a fish that big and that old just to have some record.”