PHOTO: Virginia Man Hauls in Monster 66-Pound State Record Blue Catfish

by Lauren Boisvert

A man fishing in Virginia hauled in a record-breaking blue catfish recently. Jason Emmel from Louisa, Virginia bowhunted a 66-pound, 5-ounce, massive catfish on the Pamunkey River on Monday. The fish was 3 feet, 6 inches long, and set a new state record.

The Virginia Department of Fish and Wildlife posted about the catch on Facebook. “Congratulations to Jason Emmel from Louisa, who arrowed a 66-pound, 5-ounce blue catfish from the Pamunkey River for the new state record archery blue catfish,” the department wrote alongside a photo of Emmel proudly holding his catch. “The fish measured 3 feet, 6 inches and had a girth of 35 inches. After biologist verification and review by the State Record Committee, Emmel’s catch was certified and is recognized as the current Virginia Archery State Record Blue Catfish.”

The department also acknowledged who held the old record, writing, “The previous record was held by William Bates, Jr. with a 62-pound, 4-ounce blue catfish captured in 2021 from Occoquan Bay in Fairfax.”

In the photo, Emmel holds the giant catfish and smiles wide. I’d be smiling too if I just set a state record. The catfish is totally massive, and it looks almost hard to hold, it’s so big. Way to go, Jason Emmel from Louisa, Virginia. We hope you enjoy your giant fish and your incredible state record.

Virginia Man Lands Record Breaking Catfish; Plus, Pennsylvania Man Hauls In Massive Butterfly Ray in Delaware

In Delaware, a bowfisherman from Pennsylvania arrowed a gargantuan butterfly ray with a little help from his friends. Jeremy Gipe was fishing with friends Corey and Aaron Brossman on their charter company boat. They were on Delaware Bay, but weather conditions weren’t great for fishing that day. Then, the weather cleared suddenly, and Gipe recalled that he saw a flash under the water.

“I happened to just see a light flash out of the corner of my eye that I thought was a bluefish,” Gipe recounted later. “Then, I saw the triangle shape of the butterfly ray. Honestly, I figured it was one of the 130- to 140-pounders we’d caught before.”

The ray the group arrowed and hauled weighed a little more than Emmel’s catfish: a massive 222.54 pounds to be exact. It was 7 feet, 4-1/8 inches long, with a wingspan of about 88 inches. Usually, butterfly rays have wingspans more around 48 inches. This was clearly a special case. “I actually felt nauseous,” Gipe admitted. “I couldn’t believe it when I realized how big it was.”

Gipe also noted that they were going to use all the meat provided by the ray, letting nothing go to waste. “It’s very similar to crab,” he said. “We’ll fry it up and make it like pulled pork. We’ve also made it in different dips like a buffalo chicken or spinach dip.”