Joe Granata, a fisherman and the owner of the YouTube channel Hammer-Down Catfishing, shared and a video of himself reeling in a flathead catfish weighing a whopping 64 pounds and 8 ounces.
The angler pulled the river monster out of the Ohio River on Sept 24 and would have broken the state record in Pennsylvania if he had been fishing just a couple of miles upstream.
The fish was caught just inside the West Virginia state line and was Joe’s personal best catch for a flathead. West Virginia’s top recorded catch for a flathead catfish is 70 pounds, and that was caught in 1956 by L. L. McClung on the Little Kanawha River.
The current Pennsylvania state record is 56 pounds, 3 ounces for a flathead catfish that was caught in 2020 on the Schuylkill River near the Philadelphia neighborhood of East Falls.
Video footage shows Joe floating on the river with his buddies at night when the river monster hooked onto his bait.
“He made one real crazy run as soon as he was hooked,” Joe says in the video. “Flatheads are notorious for running right back into structure, so I keep the drag very tight on my rods when they’re in the rod holders. That way I can turn the fish right away, so they don’t get back in a snag and break the line. But he was taking line like it was free-spooled, and I knew right there that wow, it was a powerful fish.”
Joe noted that the majority of the fight with the fish was when it was right at the boat. He explained that once you start pulling the fish up from the bottom of the lake, that’s when they really start to freak out.
“There’s really nothing you can do but hold on tight,” Joe said.
Once the fish breached the surface and swam close to the boat, they were able to use a net to capture it and pull it into the boat. The men weighed the fish, took photos and videos, and placed him in an oxygen tank on the boat so it could breathe. The fishermen later released it back into the river.
“I work hard to get better at locating these big fish consistently, so it was an indescribable feeling to see it pay off,” he said. “But the funny thing is, right after we released that fish, I was like, ‘all right, time to go; Let’s find the 70-pounder.’ That’ll never end. It’s the lure of catching a giant. These fish are tremendous, and it blows your mind how big and powerful they are. There’s just something about tangling with the monster in the river.”
Check out the video below showing the catch from start to finish.