RALEIGH, N.C. – Officials with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission just certified two catfish state records that were broken within one week of each other in July. Rocky Baker of Four Oaks broke the blue catfish record on July 10 and Taner Rudolph of Hubert broke the channel catfish record on July 17.
Baker caught his 127-pound 1-ounce blue catfish on the Roanoke River with gizzard shad. The fish measured 60 inches long and 40 1/4 inches in girth. He used a Mad Cat rod and Penn Squall reel. His fish was weighed on scales at the EZ Bait & Tackle in Goldsboro.
Rudolph, who broke a record that was broken for the first time in 50 years last year, reeled in his 26-pound channel catfish on the Neuse River using cut bait. The fish measured 38 5/8 inches long and 22 3/4 inches in girth. He used a Shakespeare rod and reel. His fish was weighed on the same scales in Goldsboro as Bakers.
These are the first two freshwater fish state records certified in North Carolina this year. Three anglers broke state catfish records in 2020.
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 Wildlife Commission; and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish for record certification.
For anglers who catch a catfish that doesn’t quite measure up to this latest record-breakers but yet still meet minimum size and length requirements, the Commission has blue and channel catfish classifications for its North Carolina Angler Recognition Program (NCARP). NCARP officially recognizes anglers who catch trophy-sized freshwater fish that do not qualify for a state record with a certificate featuring color reproductions of fish artwork by renowned wildlife artist and former Commission fisheries biologist Duane Raver.
For a list of all freshwater fish state records in North Carolina or more information on the State Record Fish Program, visit the Commission’s State Record Fish program webpage.