‘Humongous’ Catfish


‘Humongous’ catfish caught in Pennsylvania nabs angler a state record. See the catch

When Michael Wherley felt a tug on his line on a Pennsylvania river, he knew there was something big on the other end.

He was right. Hooked on his line was a 66-pound flathead catfish.

“When it finally came to the surface, all I could think was that it was humongous!” Wherley said, according to a June 6 news release from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The 46-year-old Fayetteville native has been fishing for flathead catfish on the Susquehanna River for about 15 years, he told officials.

On May 14, he was out on the river with a friend around 10 a.m. when the fish started to bite.

“It was a little bit crazy, but we managed to start reeling them in,” Wherley told officials “There was a 30-pounder, and then (my friend) brought in a 45-pounder that ended up breaking the net when we tried lifting it into the boat.”

He felt his third rod start to spin and spent the next 30 minutes trying to reel it in, his arms cramping in the process.

“When I got the fish next to the boat, I handed the rod to (my friend), and I stuck both hands in the fish’s mouth and pulled as hard as I could to bring it aboard. We knew we had something,” he told officials.


Wherley told officials he knew about the previous state record, 56 pounds and 3 ounces, and thought he might have it beat.

He kept the fish alive in a bucket with water and an aerator and brought it to a certified scale location to weigh the monster.

Soon after, a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officer officially weighed the catfish at 66 pounds and 6 ounces, beating the previous record by more than 10 pounds.

With the official record, Wherley brought the big fish back to the river and released it, officials said.

“This is just incredible, and I’m really glad we were able to release the fish back into the river,” Wherley told officials. “My previous personal best flathead was 44 pounds last year. I know I’ve had bigger ones on the line, but they got off before I could get them on the boat. I’ll enjoy this record as long as it lasts, but I’m sure it will probably be broken in a year or two, if not sooner. I’m a hundred-percent certain there are even bigger fish out there.”

Wherley caught the fish on the Susquehanna River near Conestoga, about 70 miles west of Philadelphia.


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