GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – What’s the biggest fish you’ve ever caught? You’ll always remember that moment, finally pulling it in the boat. Depending on how big it was, you were probably exhausted!
A group of local guys have made a hobby of catching the big monsters in Lake Guntersville. Their most recent catch was the night of Friday, March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day.
Andrew Osmer, Ryan Richards and Timmy Richey were fishing late that night when Osmer hooked a huge catfish. It was five feet long and weighed 89 pounds.
“His mouth was so large you could have put a basketball in it,” said Richards.
The guys, along with friends Andrew Buck and Daniel Rice, have caught several big catfish in recent years. One weighed 127 pounds and another was between 130 and 135 pounds. “Not quite big enough to break the state record,” Richards said.
They won’t give away their fishing hole, though. “It’s near the dam, that’s all I’ll say,” said Richards.
Richards did reveal the kind of bait they use. They catch shad and cut it up in big pieces. “The bait we used for this one was bigger than my hand,” said Richards. “Smaller fish will just swim by, but the catfish will go for it.”
Andrew Buck and Daniel Rice are part of the fishing group too.
Richards said commercial fishermen often ask where they can catch the big guys. The guys still won’t budge.
“We’ve had bigger ones break our poles and our lines and we use 13-foot catfish rods and 130-pound braided line that they break like it’s nothing and almost pull us out of the boat,” said Richards. “We had our hands on the pole as the fish pulled us around like it was nothing!”
So, what do they do with the fish afterwards? Richards said it’s all about catch and release. He said they took Friday night’s catch to a nearby gas station to weigh him because the batteries were dead on their scale. They kept him alive in some water, weighed him, then released the 89-pounder at Chickasaw Landing on Hobbs Island Road.
“We held him down in the water for about five minutes and he swam away strong,” said Richards.
“There are still some monsters out there!” Richards added. “Not just where people fish but where they swim as well!”
Check out pictures of the guys with their big catches below.
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