Missouri man snags likely record catfish in river

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | 10:12 p.m. CDT; updated 9:21 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ST. LOUIS — Greg Bernal has some fish story to tell.

The 47-year-old Florissant man was fishing in the Missouri River just before 1 a.m. Tuesday when he snagged a 130-pound blue catfish, measuring 57 inches long and 45 inches in girth.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that it appears to be a state record, topping a 117-pound Osage River catfish caught on a trotline in 1964.

Bernal said he fought the fish for 15 minutes and spent another half hour lifting it into his boat near the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. His girlfriend, Janet Momphard of St. Charles, was on hand to help.

"I am still numb," Bernal said. "I'm still in shock that he's actually that big. That's the biggest fish I've ever seen."

Officials said Bernal's fish appears to be a world record-setter among blue catfish, beating a 124-pounder caught in 2005 in the Mississippi River by an Alton, Ill., angler.

Of those caught in Missouri, the biggest previous blue catfish listed on the state Department of Conservation website weighed 103 pounds and was taken in 1991 from the Missouri River.

Bernal told the Post-Dispatch he can hardly believe the size of his fish.

"This is pretty much it for me," he said. "This is pretty much it. But I'm still gonna go out there. I'm gonna go out there and catch a bigger one. We'll just have to see what happens. You never know."

See the Post-Dispatch for photos and video.

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Michael. Shears July 21, 2010 | 3:38 p.m.

was it snaged or caught with bait?

(Report Comment)
tom kelly July 21, 2010 | 4:27 p.m.

I heard he used a poodle for bait.

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