Tennessee Angler Breaks Catfish Record While on a Date

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Over the weekend, a Tennessee angler managed to break a now pending state catfish record while he was on a date with his wife.

For the Win reports that the Tennessee angler, Micka Burkhart, and his wife were out fishing during their date on Saturday (September 24th). That was when Burkhart caught a 118-pound, 7-ounce catfish. Among those who helped weigh the fish was a state biologist. It was eventually released back into the Cumberland River where it was discovered. 

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency shared a series of pics featuring the monster-sized catfish and some details about the catch. “Now, this is a blue!” The organization shared. “Micka Burkhart caught a monster blue cat yesterday at 12:30 p.m. on the Cumberland River in Stewart County on skipjack and a 30-pound test line! The 118-pound 7-ounce blue catch will be a new Tennessee record pending verification certification.” 

The organization further explained that the catfish was 54 inches long and had a 41-inch girth. The current record size fish is 112 pounds. This was set in 1998 and also on the Cumberland River. Speaking about the experience, Burkhart shared with News 9 about how he and his wife rarely get to fishing together. “We don’t get to fish together a whole lot [so] this was kind of like a date,” he explained. “IN fact, that morning she made a joke saying, ‘Every time we go on a date, somehow or another your friends get involved.’ I told her, ‘Nope, today, it’s just you and me on the river.” 

Burkhart also spoke about his initial reaction to catching the catfish. “I almost didn’t get him certified,” he admitted. “Because I didn’t want that fish to die. I wanted to do everything in our power to release it.” 

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Officer Recalls Weighing Angler’s 118 Pound Catfish

Meanwhile, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency official Dalton Gooch recalled having to weigh Micka Burkhart’s 118-pound catfish. 

“It took a while but we got in touch with him,” Officer Gooch explained. “We waited at the launch ramp with the fish in the livewell while he went looking for a certified scale. Just like me, he wanted to keep the fish alive, so he had to find a scale that was pretty close.”

Four hours later and as Burkhart was prepared to set the catfish free uncertified, Officer Gooch managed to get a certified scale at Who Dat Processing. It was then that they discovered that the fish weighed 6.7 pounds more than the state’s previous record. 

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency biologists need to review Burkhart’s application as well as certifying species and other details before making the official declaration of a new catfish record. In regards to how he feels after catching the fish, Burkhart added, “It hasn’t really set in. All my buddies are probably more excited than I am. It just really hasn’t set in for me yet.”