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143-pound blue catfish beats world record by 13 pounds

(Raleigh News & Observer) It took Nick Anderson 45 minutes to reel in the monster catfish he snagged at Kerr Lake, a 143-pounder that will probably be a new world record.

The record isn't official, but if 29-year-old football coach from Greenville, N.C., captures it, he will have shattered the old mark for blue catfish, easily passing the 130-pound whopper pulled out of the Missouri River last year.

"My dad netted him by the head, my brother grabbed the tail and I grabbed his body," Anderson said. "We were just shocked."

Anderson hooked his fish just before dusk on Saturday just over the Virginia line, where the John H. Kerr Reservoir is known as Buggs Island Lake. It measured 57 inches long, just shy of 5 feet, and 43.5 inches around.

He won't reveal his bait choice beyond a "family secret," nor his tackle beyond a "rod and reel," but the Virginia weekly Mecklenburg News-Progress listed his gear as an "Ugly Stick" rod with a Shimano reel and 30-pound test line.

For now, the State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is reviewing the application for a new state record, which would beat the 109-pound behemoth caught in the same lake in March.

"Everybody is really excited," spokesman Lee Walker said. "Blue cats are considered one of the top game fish out there. There's a huge following. There's a tournament circle. This will bring national headlines."

It should be an easy jump to the world mark, certified by the International Game Fish Association.

"That's a lot of weight to break a record by," Walker said. "Normally, when you see new world records, it's by an ounce or a tenth of an ounce."

Blue catfish are not a native species, and their growth varies wildly depending on food and temperature, said Wayne Starnes, curator of fishes for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. He guessed a blue cat that large would be about 20 years old.

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Uploaded: 7/30/2011