Aug. 22, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C. — Although it remained unbroken for almost two years
since the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission decertified it in 2005,
the channel catfish state record has been broken for the second time
this year — this time by Wesley Trucks of New Bern, who caught an
18-pound, 5 ounce channel cat from the Neuse River on Aug. 15.
Wesley Trucks Record Channel
NC WRC Photo
Trucks caught his fish using a Tsunami rod, Shimano 6500 Bait Runner
reel and cut eel as bait. He was using the deep-sea gear, including
100-pound test line, in hopes of hooking a sizeable cat.
“If you use smaller gear, you’ll never get a big catfish to the
boat,” Trucks said. “But with 100-pound line, the fish has no chance
— if it’s hooked, it’s coming on the boat.”
An experienced catfish angler, Trucks knows that patience and
fishing go hand-in-hand. And this night was no exception. “Nothing
had bitten all night, and then, when I was getting ready to leave,
the fish hit the line!”
Trucks said he knew as soon as he saw the fish’s anal fin that he
had hooked a channel cat. Channel catfish have an anal fin that is
round with 24 to 29 rays while blue catfish have an anal fin that
has a straight outer edge and 30 to 36 rays. Shortly after reeling
in the record-breaking channel cat, Trucks caught a 35-pound blue
Most trophy catfish anglers fishing the Neuse River hope to hook
into a flathead or blue catfish, the channel catfish’s much-larger
cousins, which can exceed 50 or 60 pounds. Neuse River channel
catfish, by comparison, average only 2 to 4 pounds.
While they’re common in North Carolina’s large rivers and reservoirs
and are found throughout the Neuse River and its tributaries,
channel catfish as large as the one that Trucks caught are rare.
The fish was weighed on certified scales at Custom Marine
Fabrication in New Bern and was verified as a new state record by
Bob Barwick, a fisheries biologist with the Commission.
Trucks’ catch surpassed the previous record by more than 2 pounds.
John Davinson, of Clayton, caught a 16-pound channel cat from the
Roanoke River on April 10.
To qualify for a state record, anglers must have caught the fish on
a hook and line, 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.
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