Aug. 20, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. – That’s David Hayes’ story and he’s sticking
with it. The Wilkes County angler used his granddaughter’s Barbie
Doll rod-and-reel combo — all 2 ½ feet of it — to reel in a new
state record channel catfish that measured 2 inches longer than the
David Hayes and Granddaughter Alyssa With
(previous) State Record Channel
NC WRC Photo
Hayes landed the record-breaking fish, which weighed 21 pounds, 1
ounce, on Aug. 5 from a private pond in Wilkes County while fishing
with his granddaughter Alyssa, 3.
According to Hayes, the unusual fishing experience began in the
early evening with a trip to the garden for bait. After collecting
several black crickets, he and Alyssa went down to the pond behind
the house to fish for bluegill, an activity the pair have enjoyed
together since Alyssa was barely big enough to hold a fishing rod.
Like previous fishing trips, Hayes baits the hook and Alyssa catches
the fish, using her hot pink Barbie doll rod and reel combo. It is a
routine that usually works well — until that afternoon when nature
called at the most inopportune time.
“After catching two or three bluegill, Alyssa turns to me and says
‘Papa, I’ve got to go to the bathroom. Hold my fishing rod’,” Hayes
recalled. “A few minutes later, the float went under and I saw the
water start boiling up — I knew right then that I had my hands full
with that fishing rod.”
It took Hayes about 25 minutes to land the fish, which measured 32
inches in length and 22 ½ inches in girth. Once he got it to the
bank, Hayes said he was pretty certain his channel cat would exceed
the current state record, an 18-pound, 5-ounce fish reeled in by
Wesley Trucks of New Bern in August 2007.
was weighed on certified scales at Thurmond Grocery in Thurmond,
N.C. It was certified by Kin Hodges, a fisheries biologist with the
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
To qualify for a state record, anglers must have
caught the fish on a rod and reel, must have the fish weighed on a
certified scale witnessed by one observer, have the fish positively
identified by a qualified expert from the Commission and submit an
application with a full, side-view photo of the fish.
Hayes says he’s been getting a lot of ribbing
from folks who kid him about a grown man fishing with a hot pink
Barbie Doll rod and reel. But Hayes takes the kidding in stride,
knowing that he’s the one with the new state record and a great
memory to share with his granddaughter for years to come.