On April 30, I obtained a name from native angler Corey Welch. A variety of different catfish anglers have been collaborating in a catfish match on Belton Lake at which Welch was a spectator. A kind of anglers landed an outsized catfish and Welch contacted me on his behalf to see if, certainly, that fish is likely to be a file, and if that’s the case, what wanted to be achieved to submit an software.

Welch is the present catch-and-release file holder for yellow catfish on Stillhouse Hole Lake after touchdown a 41-inch specimen in September 2020, so he was aware of the file software course of.

With Welch nonetheless on the cellphone, I did a fast file seek for channel catfish information on Belton Lake. I knowledgeable him that, based mostly on preliminary measurements, it appeared the catfish Welch was inquiring about would qualify because the “all-tackle” class file for that species.

The angler who made the catch, Cody Smith of Gatesville, was the subsequent to contact me. He and I agreed to fulfill on Sunday afternoon to get an official size and weight measurement on the fish. For some years now I’ve operated as an official Texas Parks and Wildlife Division weigh station open to anglers who catch potential record-book fish.

As we acquired to converse throughout Smith’s go to, I realized just a little about him and the match he was collaborating in when he made his file catch.

Smith, now 34, has been fishing for 28 years and was first launched to the game by his grandfather, who he calls “Grampy.”

When requested concerning the attraction of fishing in a tournament-style setting, Smith mentioned he actually enjoys the problem of fishing with and in opposition to different aggressive anglers.

Smith’s match teammates have been Stormy Lee and Mark Miller of Killeen. The three males did their fishing from a Gator Trax duck boat powered by a Black Demise motor designed for shallow water operation.

The match, placed on by the Temple-based Craig Marshall Company of Farmers Insurance coverage, was orchestrated by Christine Culver. Culver mentioned, “I wished to do one thing that might promote Craig Marshall Company and likewise be entertaining for the neighborhood.”

A variety of native sponsors stepped as much as make the match and prizes doable.

A number of the cash obtained from the occasion is given to charity. Culver said that in earlier years the donations have gone to St. Jude’s Youngsters’s Analysis Hospital.

In the course of the match, Smith and his teammates traveled by boat to set out 70 custom-made financial institution poles. These stout fiberglass spikes that are about 3 toes lengthy and about one-half inch in diameter are designed to have one finish pushed into the financial institution or the lake backside or some type of wooden cowl. A shock-absorbing size of rubber is hooked up to the alternative finish of the spike. A stout size of wire is hooked up to the alternative finish of that rubber shock absorber, and, on the terminal finish of the wire is a big circle hook.

Smith prefers to bait his financial institution poles with reside sunfish. He mentioned, “We catch our bait and place them in clear, filtered water, rinse them, then place them in a clear holding tank and look after and feed them like pet fish to develop them greater.” 

After setting out his poles, Smith went again to verify on them about 5 hours later. As he approached one specific financial institution pole, there was a vigorous fish thrashing on the finish of the road. Smith used a internet to seize the hooked fish and realized proper then that he had an unusually giant channel catfish now in his possession.

In accordance with Culver, the prizes which the 18 groups competed for included $2,700 for first place, $1,350 for second place, $450 for third place, and $175 for fourth place. Moreover, $450 was to be paid out for the most important blue catfish, the most important yellow catfish and the most important channel catfish.

The prizes for first by way of fourth locations are based mostly on the overall weight of fish weighed in.

Every of the groups, which may have as much as three members, paid $175 to enter and had the choice to pay a further $90 to be entered into the three “massive fish” pots.

As Smith and I took the required measurements on Sunday, the fish measured 26¾ inches lengthy with the mouth closed and tail lobes pinched collectively.

I preserve three units of licensed scales, one which weighs as much as 15 kilos in quarter-pound increments, one which weighs as much as 30 kilos in half-pound increments, and one other which weighs as much as 60 kilos in one-pound increments.

Utilizing the smallest of the three scales, we weighed the fish and located it to be 10.25 kilos, thus exceeding the present file of 8.01 kilos set in 2018.

As Smith seemed on, we hooked up his software and required pictures to an electronic mail addressed to the Angler Recognition Program of the TPWD and submitted it.

Smith mentioned, “I want to thank my household for serving to out, and my dearest spouse (Jessika Smith) for dealing with all the pieces whereas fishing, and ensuring we’re fed, together with working the match.”

Smith gained the $450 prize for touchdown the match’s largest channel catfish. He and his teammates took third place with the 480 kilos of catfish they weighed in.

Culver said that subsequent 12 months’s match is deliberate for the primary weekend in Might and that it’s going to launch from Belton Lake’s Cedar Ridge Park. She could also be reached at 254-778-3786 for particulars.

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