Full story: Monster Upper Lake Mary channel catfish hit while angler asleep in S.U.V.
Once again on Friday, March 29, Daniel G. awoke to the cacophony of line zinging and fishing bells jingling. Sleeping with the back seats down in his SUV around 8 a.m., and near the shoreline of Upper Lake Mary, the fishing rods were in the front seat, pointing out the passenger side window.
Anchovies were bait at the end of each line. One rod was now bent and bobbing.
Daniel, a local gas station attendant, jumped out of the S.U.V., then back inside. He rolled down the window, removed the rod, and set the hook. Around 10 minutes later, he hauled in a monster channel catfish with 30-pound braided line, a steel leader and a treble hook with an anchovy.
“As soon as I got a good picture of it, I released it,” he said. “It was the biggest fish I’ve ever caught of any species.”
He did not weigh or measure the fish that hit around 20-25 feet from the bank. The inland waters, hook-and-line state record channel catfish caught by Carson Pete at Upper Lake Mary at this same time of year — March 26, 2017 — weighed 33 pounds, 5.76 ounces and measured 39.5 inches. This fish appears to possibly be somewhere in that state-record vicinity.
The gas station attendant is now a local catfishing legend.
“Usually it’s me looking to I.D. them,” he said. “Now they’re looking at me funny, like, ‘Did you just catch a big catfish?'”