For the third time in six months, North Carolina’s Lake Gaston has produced a blue catfish state record. Landon Evans, 15, of Benson landed a 117-pound, 8-ounce cat June 11, breaking a record that had just been set in December 2015.
Evans’ catfish weighed well into the triple digits. In addition, it measured 55 inches in length and 40½ inches in girth. The fish was confirmed as the new state record blue after being weighed at Ace Hardware in Littleton.
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission District 3 Assistant Fisheries Biologist Evan Cartabiano examined and inspected the fish.
To qualify for a N.C. Freshwater Fish State Record, anglers must have caught the fish by rod and reel or cane pole, have the fish weighed on a scale certified by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, witnessed by one observer, have the fish identified by a fisheries biologist from the Commission, and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish. Evans’ fish, caught on cut shad bait, met all the criteria.
Evans’ blue catfish toppled the previous state record, held by Zakk Royce of Murfreesboro since December 21. Royce set the record twice within 24 hours, landing a 91-pound cat Sunday morning and a 105 pounder Monday. They measured 53 inches and 55¾ inches respectively.
“With about a minute left before we were going to pack up and go home, the rod off the exact same side of the boat as where I caught the 91 pounder, bent over immensely,” Royce told the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “When I grabbed it I simply could not believe what I felt on the other end—it compares to Goliath groupers I’ve caught saltwater fishing. At one point I actually thought the fish was going to spool me it was stripping so much line off my reel.”
And Evans’ fish was 12 and half pounds heavier than that!