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Home --> Photo Gallery --> Animals --> Catfish

Catfish

Claim:   Photograph shows a record 140-pound catfish caught in Lake Texoma, Texas.

Status:   Real photo; inaccurate description.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2004]

Talk about one BIG fish!!

Check this big ole fish out. According to the internet, the old record was 121 pounds.

New state record catfish. 140 lbs. caught in Lake Texoma. This is one of those legendary fish that scuba divers say they see at the bottom of dams that are big enough to eat a person

Click photo to enlarge

Origins:   Large catfish are a subject of fascination both because they feature in urban legends about giant, man-eating critters lurking in the depths of murky waters, and because catching a record-sized fish is a source of tremendous pride to anglers.

Some species of catfish do grow quite large, upwards of 650 pounds in weight and 10 feet in length, so photographs of fisherman proudly displaying man-sized catches are far from uncommon. Yet although the picture reproduced above is probably genuine, we're not sure whether the text accompanying it is accurate.

In January 2004, 27-year-old Cody Mullennix of Howe, Texas, landed what was reported as a world record-sized blue catfish at Lake Texoma, a monster that weighed in at 121½ pounds and measured 58 inches long by 39½ inches in girth:

Click photo to enlarge

According to the Dallas Morning News:
Mullennix had caught big blues at Texoma before, but nothing like this. He was fishing from the bank with a 14-foot surf rod and a reel loaded with 300 to 400 yards of 20-pound test line. He was using a dead shad for bait, fishing on the bottom. Fishing alone, Mullennix had already caught and released a 56-pounder when the big one bit. It took out 70 to 80 yards of line, then surfaced as blue cats sometimes do.

"When I saw the fish's tail, I knew this was a huge fish," Mullennix said.

All Mullennix could do was hold on. What followed was a seesaw battle with the fish taking line and the angler fighting to get it back. Though it seemed much longer, Mullennix thinks the fight lasted about 20 minutes.

Though the blue cat was exhausted, the fight wasn't over. Mullennix had to wade into the water and roll his catch onto the bank. That's when he pulled out his cellular phone and called a fishing buddy to bring a set of 100-pound scales.

Determined not to kill the big fish, Mullennix stood in the water about an hour, holding onto the fish, waiting for the scale to arrive.

"The fish bottomed out the 100-pound scale before we even got him off the ground," he said. "We knew we had to take this fish to a certified scale. We loaded it into a fishing buggy that I use to haul my gear to the water, then put it in the bed of a pickup truck."
Since the text accompanying the photograph at the head of this page references a "new state record catfish" caught at Lake Texoma and mentions that "the old record was 121 pounds," the picture would presumably have to depict a fish landed since Cody Mullennix's record-setting effort of January 2004. But even though Mullennix's 121-pound blue catfish caught in the same location was prominently featured in a number of news stories, we haven't turned up any recent news reports of anyone's hauling in a 140-pounder.

The photograph is a real one, and the fish pictured may actually weigh close to 140 pounds, but the picture wasn't taken at Lake Texoma (and the fish shown isn't a blue catfish). It's a photograph taken out of context from a French web site devoted to catfish angling and circulated with a fictional explanation, created a mixed bag of "real photo, inaccurate description."

Additional information:
  Texas Angler Gets Record Case of the Blues   Texas Angler Gets Record Case of the Blues
  (ESPN)
Last updated:   18 February 2004

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
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  Sources Sources:
    Burkhead, Lynn.   "Texas Angler Gets Record Case of the Blues."
    ESPNOutdoors.com.   20 January 2004.

    Sasser, Ray.   "Texan Lands a Load of Blue Heaven."
    The Dallas Morning News.   23 January 2004.