A 15-year-old Missourian caught the fish of his dreams during a mid-August outing on the Missouri River with his father, boating a 108-pound blue catfish that some say is the second largest ever caught with a rod-and-reel in the state.
Joshua Jones Jr. was fishing with his father near Spanish Lakes, Missouri, on August 9 when he nodded off. Sometime around midnight, he jolted awake to find a river monster on his line.
“I was sleeping when the fish got on, so it kind of woke me up,” Joshua told the local TV news program Fox 2 Now. “And then I felt the pull and drag, which really woke me up.”
Joshua Jones Sr. told Fox 2 Now that he learned to fish from his father, and in turn started taking Josh Jr. fishing before the boy was old enough to walk. He said his son has long had a goal of catching a big, record-setting fish.
“He was determined and always told me, ‘I’m going to catch a record. I want to catch a 100-pound fish,’” Jones Sr. said. “And, ‘boom,’ it happened.”
In a video they recorded of the 20-minute battle, Jones Sr. can be heard coaching his son, “Take your time, take your time,” as the fish thrashes on top of the water only yards from their boat. After hauling it out of the river, they took photographs of the monster cat before releasing it.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, native blue catfish are found mostly in the state’s big rivers and are most common in the Mississippi, Missouri, and Osage rivers and sometimes in the lower reaches of those rivers’ larger tributaries—including the Grand, Gasconade, and Salt Rivers. Accounts from the 1800s tell of specimens weighing as much as 315 pounds, and blue catfish weighing more than 100 pounds were reportedly common.
The state record blue catfish is a 130-pounder caught by Greg Bernal during a thunderstorm in 2010. That fish reigned for a time as the IGFA all-tackle world record. Prior to Bernal’s catch, Missouri’s state record in the pole and line category was a 103-pound blue cat landed in 1991. The trotline record is 120 pounds, 8 ounces, caught on the Missouri in 2015.