Tennessee man reels in monster paddlefish

A Tennessee man reeled in a monster fish over the weekend, possibly setting a new state record.

According to WBIR, Robert Livingston went fishing with a friend on Saturday at Cherokee Lake in Morristown, Tenn. Even though they were seeing big fish on their sonar, the only thing they were reeling in were small catches.

Right as they were about to call it a day, Robert’s line went shooting out. He told WBIR he set the hook, but the line went slack and he thought he lost the fish. Until his line came right back to him and up to the boat.

At first, Robert thought he snagged a catfish. But they soon realized it was a paddlefish. Paddlefish are ray-finned fish that are almost exclusively in America and China. They are referred to as primitive fish because they have not evolved much since the earliest fossils were found.

Robert told the news station catching a paddlefish is rare.

“You can only catch them by accident unless you snag them,” he told WBIR. “This one, it just swam by and caught my hook right in the corner of its mouth.”

Robert and his friend struggled to get the fish into the boat for a picture.

WBIR reported the Tennessee state record for paddlefish was 104-pounds. That monster was also caught in Cherokee Lake. The world record to paddlefish is 151-pounds and was caught in Oklahoma.

Robert and his friend had no way to measure or weigh the fish while out in the open water. He wasn’t willing to let the fish die to bring it back to shore so the catch did not qualify as a record-setting catch. Robert guess the fish weighed at least 150 pounds because he can lift 150 pounds over his head, according to the news station.

If you want to document your catches, be sure to join Connect Fishing League and log all of your catches with ConnectScale 3 and ConnectScale app.   While our scale is not capable of weighing 150 LBS catches, the scale does go up to 110 LBS and the app could help you document and keep track of the next record catch by allowing you to store key data on your personal catch log with our app.  

Robert believes in conservation and catch and release. That’s why he placed the monster fish back in the water.

“I would hate to catch the fish of a lifetime and then say, ‘Yeah, I killed it,’” he told WBIR. “It’s there swimming around so maybe one day somebody else will catch it.”