Calling Eugene Cronley's big, blue catfish, "the fish of a lifetime" might be the understatement of the year.

It's more likely the fish of several lifetimes!

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According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Fisheries Bureau, Cronley's catch has just been certified a new state record blue catfish for the State of Mississippi.

From Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
From Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
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Mr. Cronley, from Brandon, Mississippi, just east of Jackson, caught the 131 pound fish on a rod and reel on April 7, 2022 from the Mississippi River near Natchez.

Cronley said that it took him forty minutes to land the huge fish which he muscled in on rod and reel, using skipjack herring as bait.

From Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
From Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
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Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks writes:

The fish shattered the previous rod and reel record of 95 lbs. caught by Dakota Hinson in 2009 and is larger than the trophy record blue catfish of 101 lbs. caught by the team of Freddie Parker and Brad Smith in 1997. Interestingly, both of those fish were also caught from the Mississippi River near Natchez.

Cronley told clarionledger.com,

"He hit the rod and started pulling drag."

"We had to untie the boat and float down the river.

"I couldn't move him. I'd pull on him and take in a foot of line and he'd pull and take 10 feet. I just sat there like I was hung up."

From Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
From Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
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Louisiana Fishermen, Time To Nut Up! Mississippi Just Went Ahead Of Us!

To give you a better idea of just how large this blue catfish is, the current Louisiana State record blue catfish, which was also caught in the Mississippi River, weighed in at 114 pounds and the all-tackle world record for the same species of blue catfish is 143 pounds, which was caught in 2011 at Virginia's Kerr Lake.

So, Cronley's fish only fell short of the world record by 12 pounds.  No small accomplishment here!

Now, heat up the peanut oil and start peeling potatoes. It's time for us to party!

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