Angler Steven Price, from Lancaster, Ohio, broke West Virginia’s blue catfish state record with a, 67.22 fish on Wednesday. With his capture, he topped a record that was set just 8 weeks ago.
An avid fisherman for years, Price has recently focused his efforts on fishing the Ohio, Tennessee and James rivers. He generally fishes with friends and more often with long-distance catfish fishing partner, Marcus MacDonald, but on the morning of May 25, he decided to enjoy a single trip to Kanawha, a tributary of the Ohio River, with his Labrador retriever , Daisy. “I wanted to go out on my own and just enjoy the tranquility,” Price tells Field & Stream. “It was the first time I ever did this in the river.”
The price was using shad cut for bait. His first fish of the day felt like a flat monster, but the fish broke his line into an obstacle. The price was feeling low. “I made a phone call to Marcus and told him what happened and how I was a little upset,” he says. “But I said, ‘Well, before I go to the other place, I’ll rework these rods and give them another 15 minutes.’ I pulled out the rods and very quickly one bent down. I can say that it was another really big fish. “
Just minutes after losing a monster, Price had another one on the boat – a 56-pound blue cat, a new personal best. After taking a picture, Price turned the blue on the water and started calling his friends again, telling everyone about his good fortune. He was talking to a friend when another rod sank. “I take it and I’m fighting it right away,” Price says. “It’s another big one. Now, that doesn’t even seem true. “This is one of those days where everyone dreams of happening.”
He was very sure he had a blue catfish because the fish were swimming towards the surface, unlike the flat heads, which tend to dig towards the bottom when fixed. He saw the water boiling behind the boat and saw a brief glimpse of the fish tail. It was big – and he thought it could be even bigger than the first one.
Price had to navigate eight lines in the water while battling brutality. “The fish cut four rows,” he says. “Typically, I have a partner there to help, but not this time. I had to weave myself under all these rods holding the fish. I finally approached him near the boat and looked back for the net. ”
It was then that the award realized that he had not reconnected the handle to the net after removing it to weigh the 56-pound blue. “So I was sitting there holding on to this fish with one arm and stretching backwards to gather the net with the other,” Price recalls, laughing. Eventually, he was able to reattach the net and maneuver the catfish tail into it. He caught a break when the big blue turned back as he tried to escape and inadvertently swam his head into the net. As Price tried to lift him on the boat, he says: “The reality was that I had an absolute monster. I tried to pass it on the side and on the deck. “
Price provided to keep fish alive while weighing
The price scale on the boat showed over 70 pounds, including the net. Price started making phone calls again. With MacDonald’s help, he was able to find a local fisherman, Todd Anderson, who had an 80 gallon living with an oxygen tank in his boat. He also contacted Ryan Bosserman, a fisheries biologist for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR). Bosserman set off immediately to meet Price at the ramp of Leon’s boat, while Anderson traveled toward the river, stepped on his boat, and sailed 15 miles up the river to meet Price and transfer the catfish to his living well. Meanwhile, Price had secured his net on the side of the boat and was going down the river with the fish in the net, occasionally stopping to start his engine for a while in order to speed up his progress.
“It’s fantastic that the biologist and everyone could get out there so quickly,” Price says. “One of the most important things for me was to make sure the fish stayed alive. It was about an hour from the time I caught him until we released him, and he was in the water most of the time. He hit like a mule and swam very strong in the release. “If anyone had tied him up after that, they would have had another fight in their hands.”
WVDNR has confirmed that Price catch has been certified as the new state record for the blue catfish for weight and length at 67.22 pounds and 50.7 inches long. He topped the previous record, a 61 61.28 blue captured and released in Kanawha by Cody Carver on April 8, 2022, by nearly pa 6. The state record had previously remained intact since 2016.
Read more: Texas fishermen catch rare black Freaking Scary river monsters
“My gut tells me that this record will probably be held for a while,” Price says. “But if it broke down today, I would congratulate the boy. I would be happy for him because it just shows that our catfish are getting big. They are growing. “I think there are bigger fish there, but maybe not many.”