2 fishermen in North Carolina hook record-breaking catfish days apart

One catch weighed 120 pounds

It's apparently the perfect time to go fishing for glory in North Carolina.

Two fishermen recently hooked record-breaking catfish during separate angling adventures in the Tar Heel State this month.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) confirmed the news on Monday, congratulating both outdoorsmen for their accomplishments.

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Joey Baird (pictured right) and friend Mark Conroy (pictured left) with Baird's 121-pound, 9-ounce blue catfish. 

Joey Baird (pictured right) and friend Mark Conroy (pictured left) with Baird's 121-pound, 9-ounce blue catfish.  (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)

Joey Baird was out fishing at Six Pound Creek at Lake Gaston on July 5 when he caught a blue catfish measuring a whopping 121 pounds and 9 ounces, 60 ½ inches in length and 40 ½ inches in girth, the NCWRC said in a statement.

The Lawrenceville, Va. man reeled in the impressive catch with cut bait. Baird’s blue catfish eclipses the previous record, a 117-pound, 8-ounce fish caught in June 2016.

Historically, Lake Gaston has been home to “some massive blue catfish,” the wildlife resources commission said, as Baird’s catch is the fourth state record-smashing blue catfish to be caught from the lake.

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Tyler Barnes with his 78-pound, 14-ounce record-breaking flathead catfish.

Tyler Barnes with his 78-pound, 14-ounce record-breaking flathead catfish. (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)

Two weeks later, Tyler Barnes reeled in a massive flathead catfish from the Neuse River on July 20. The Pikeville man’s fish measured 78 pounds and 14 ounces, at 52 inches in length and 37 inches in girth.

The angler hooked the beast with live sunfish as bait.

In catching the creature, Barnes also smashed a 15-year freshwater fish state record for a flathead catfish, the NCWRC reported. The record was previously held by a 78-pound flathead hooked in the Cape Fear River in September 2005.

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Notably, both Baird and Barnes used a Big Cat Fever fishing rod to hook their record catches.

More information about the freshwater fish state records in North Carolina is available at the wildlife resources commission’s State Record Fish program page.