Big Fish Stories: Miss. River catfish
ALTON, Ill. (AP)—The beast would have been enough for a feast. But 19-year-old angler Dustin McEwen says he’s just happy to have had the experience of wrestling a reported 80-pound catfish to shore.
The East Alton teenager muscled in the massive fish over 45 minutes while fishing the Mississippi River near Alton, using shad on his hook. He was fishing in late November.
The Alton Telegraph reported that the fish was a blue cat, but pictures would seem to indicate that this was instead a flathead catfish. The state record flathead is a 78-pounder caught by Jody Harris out of Carlyle Lake on Aug. 11, 1985. Click here to read more about Harris’ fish.
McEwen says he knew the fish was huge, and he didn’t want to lose it. His mission was to simply wear out the fish he later dubbed “Old Faithful” enough to reel it in.
McEwen snapped photos of his large catch and contacted his wife, who hustled to the river with McEwen’s 2-year-old daughter to see the catch.
But the fish caught a break. McEwen released it back into the water to fight another day.
Jeff Lampe contributed to this report.