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Kentucky's State Record
Channel & White Catfish Caught

Frankfort, KY (July 15, 2004) - Many anglers start fishing by using a Zebco 33 spin cast reel and a matching Zebco rod. But, most anglers don’t land a state record fish with one.

I threw out my pole and it took off and I jerked on it and I knew it was a big one, said 10-year-old Kyle Estep of South Point, Ohio who fished the Ohio River with his Dad on May 26. It was the biggest catfish we’d ever seen. I called Mom and she looked on the internet to see what the state record was.

Estep landed the new state record channel catfish, a 32 pounder that was 39 and one quarter inches long with a girth of nearly two feet. Estep subdued the fish after fighting it for nearly ten minutes with his Zebco 33 and 10-pound line. The huge fish fell for a nightcrawler.

We were fishing a drop off about one mile from the Ashland Boat Ramp, it is the closest boat ramp, Estep said. The only thing Dad helped me on was dip netting.

There is something special about the month of May for trophy catfish. Estep’s record catch bested the old record of 28.3 pounds caught on May 29, 1994 by Hope Tinsley of Ft. Worth, Texas out of a Hickman County farm pond.

Another record catfish bit this past May. Charlie Crain of Shelbyville still fished a night crawler at Guist Creek Lake on May 3 when an unusual catfish struck his line. It is now the state record white catfish.

Kentucky possesses small populations of white catfish. Native to the Atlantic coastal streams such as the James River in Virginia, a population of white catfish swim in Guist Creek Lake.

Crain’s record white catfish weighed 1.82 pounds. It was 16 inches long with a girth of 8.6 inches. It bested the old record of 1.78 pounds caught by Stephen Daisey from Guist Creek Lake in August, 2002.

For more information on Kentucky’s state record fish program, call 1-800-858-1549. Anglers may find record fish applications in the Kentucky Sport Fishing and Boating Guide available wherever fishing licenses are sold and on the internet at

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