Teen catches Florida-record 63.8-pound catfish

A teenager from Alabama caught a Florida-record 63.8-pound flathead catfish last Sunday on the Chattahoochee River in the Florida Panhandle after reluctantly agreeing to go bream fishing with his mother and stepfather.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 13-year-old Charles Patchen set his hook into the Jackson County water and thought his line was stuck on something underwater. He handed the pole to his stepdad, Bryan Atwell, who tugged the line and felt a fish take off.

Atwell handed the pole back to his stepson, who then battled the catfish for nearly two hours before being able to reel it in. Atwell had to help Patchen roll the fish onto their boat, because it was too big for their net.

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“I was so tired after reeling it in that I fell back into the boat to rest,” Patchen told the wildlife commission.  “But I’m glad my mom made me go fishing that day because now I am the catfish master!”

An official weigh-in and measurement for the catfish, conducted by FWC biologist Katie Woodside, revealed that the fish was 48.03 inches long and had a girth of 35.43 inches.

The catfish also weighed 63.8 pounds, breaking the previous record of 55.05 pounds that was set in 2011.

Patchen will receive a state-record certificate for his catch.