Jaylynn Parker just caught the biggest catfish in Ohio history. Parker, a sophomore at New Richmond High School, landed the 101-pound blue catfish while fishing on the Ohio River.  

Parker and her family are jug fishers—a method in which a baited hook is suspended beneath a large milk jug or other float. When a fish bites, tension provided by the float automatically hooks the fish, which can then be pulled up by hand. 

On Sunday, April, 7, a fish took the bait—and it was an absolute tank. Parker, who’s fished for catfish since she was a toddler, got support from her father and their family friend to pull it out of the water. “Obviously, I needed help with the fish since I’m only 117 pounds myself,” Parker told WLWT5. “Without Jeff and my dad, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Once the group landed the blue catfish, they knew they had something special. They weighed it on a home scale, which showed it at 108 pounds, and called in an Ohio Department of Natural Resources warden. The warden taped the fish at 56 inches long, with a girth of 39 inches, and confirmed its species. But at the time, every place in the area with a certified scale was closed. So the family kept massive fish alive overnight in a bait tank at the pond on their property.

The next morning, they got the monster fish officially weighed. It came in at 101.11 pounds, which is well above the current state record for the species—a 96-pounder caught by Chris Rolph in 2009. 

It’s not immediately clear if the fish will qualify for a state record given the method of take; alternative fishing methods like jug fishing are usually prohibited from recreational fishing record books. In the Buckeye State, fishing records are verified and kept by a professional organization known as Outdoor Writers of Ohio. The group has two record categories—“hook & line” and bowfishing. Field & Stream reviewed the state record fish application, which does not include any explicit rules regarding jug fishing. 

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Regardless, Parker’s fish is almost certainly the largest catfish ever documented in Ohio. After weighing it, she released it back into the Ohio River. Though it will be hard to top this fish, Parker plans to keep on fishing. “The older I get, the more joy it brings me,” she told “It’s so relaxing. It brings me so much peace and happiness.”