Aurora, Colorado - When it comes to angling, records are meant
to be broken. No one appreciates this more than Aurora resident Mike
Stone, who caught a 35-pound channel catfish while fishing at Aurora
Reservoir on July 26, setting a new Colorado state record.
Stone, who fishes Aurora Reservoir with unwavering devotion, said he
never set out to break any records on what he thought was just
another typical morning at his favorite fishing hole.
been coming out to Aurora Reservoir pretty much every weekend, rain
or shine, since 2003," said Stone. "That morning I planned on fishing
for trout and walleye but never expected to catch a catfish, much
less anything of that size."
At 6:30 a.m., Stone loaded up his fishing gear and departed to a
familiar location near the dam. Equipped with a Shakespeare "Ugly
Stick" rod and 6-pound test line, he used an unconventional
presentation to attract the large fish.
"I was using a sinker and a floating jig head tipped with a
nightcrawler," said Stone. "I tied the floating jig to a leader 6
feet below the sinker, which allows the bait to float just off the
bottom of the lake."
The unorthodox combination proved irresistible, and the mammoth fish
took the bait almost immediately.
"I had just cast my line into the water and started to pour a cup of
coffee when I saw the tip of my fishing rod move and jerk," Stone
He then grabbed his rod, set the hook and carefully played and
finessed the large fish to prevent breaking the lightweight, 6-pound
line. Stone landed his prize catch after a 15-minute tussle.
Park rangers and Division of Wildlife officers arrived later to take
photos and to weigh the fish on a state-certified scale.
Stone's catfish measured 37-inches in length and weighed 35.22
pounds--nearly 2 pounds heavier than the previous record of
33-pounds, 8-ounces, caught in 1994 by John McKeever at Hertha
Reservoir in Larimer County.
Stone hopes to have his record fish mounted in the near future.
"It looks like this fish and I are going to be joined at the hip, at
least as long as the record holds," he said. "I'll be happy if my
record lasts anywhere near as long as the previous one."
Stone credits his wife for providing added motivation in his early
morning angling pursuits.
"I really need to thank my wife Lisa for kicking my butt out of bed
so early every weekend," Stone said. "She sends me out fishing so she
can sleep in."
The Colorado Division of Wildlife will add Stone's catfish to the
Colorado Fishing Records and update this entry on the DOW Web site in
the upcoming weeks.
"We want to congratulate Mike Stone for his exceptional fish," said
Greg Gerlich, DOW fisheries chief. "It's always exciting when a
record is broken and we get to enter a new name into the books."