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Oklahoma Record Channel Catfish

September 11, 2005

A routine fishing trip turned into a record-breaking day for one Muskogee man. Gary Doak Jr. caught a 35-pound, 15-ounce channel catfish while bass fishing Sept. 11 at Taft Lake west of Muskogee.

“If someone told me there was a fish that big in the lake I would have probably said they were crazy,” said Doak, Oklahoma’s newest record fish holder. “That is

one of the things that makes fishing so much fun – you throw your line in the water and you never know what will bite on the other end.”

Doak, who lives in Muskogee, got more than he bargained for when he hooked the huge fish in the predawn hours of Sunday, Sept. 11.

“I was bass fishing just before sunrise when the catfish hit in about 10-12 feet of water. I didn’t know what it was, but I was hoping it was a state record bass. It kind of pulled me around for some time in my little boat – I was just hoping my rod and reel would hold together,” Doak said.

Doak was using a two-inch long plastic sunfish bait and 16-pound test line. He realized he had a catfish when he went to scoop it up in the dip net.

“There was no way that fish was going to fit in the dip net, so I just horsed it in as best I could,” he said. “Because it was still dark and it was so big, I assumed it was a blue cat.”

It wasn’t until the sun came up that Doak realized he had caught a channel catfish, but he still didn’t realize he had a potential state record.

“When I told a buddy I had caught a channel catfish that might weigh 30 or 35 pounds, he said to take the thing straight to the nearest certified scales,” Doak said.

He quickly contacted officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation who certified the fish as the new state record. The huge fish was 39 1/4 inches long and measured 26 1/4 inches in girth. Doak plans on having a taxidermist mount the fish.

The previous channel catfish record of 34 pounds, 11 ounces was set by Barry Bond who pulled the big catfish from Canton Lake in May of 2002.

For a complete list of record fish and the procedures regarding certifying state record fish, consult the “Oklahoma Fishing Guide.” If you think you may have hooked a record fish it is important that you weigh the fish on an Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture certified scale and the weight is verified by a Wildlife Department employee.

Check out the other Oklahoma State Fishing Records



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