Monster Fish Breaks Record In Arizona

By Matthew Klickstein , Apr 16, 2013 05:06 PM EDT

A 76.52-pound flathead catfish caught by none other than "Flathead Ed" — a fisherman and guide in Arizona — has turned out to be a record breaker. It's in fact the heaviest fish of any species ever caught in the state's history.

Eddie "Flathead Ed" Wilcoxson, 56, was asleep on his boat on Friday, April 12 while fishing on Bartlett Lake. He had used a two-pound carp as his bait. Around 2 a.m. the massive flathead began tugging on the carp and the pulling woke Wilcoxson on his 24-foot pontoon boat.

"Everybody's got the same chance I do," Wilcoxon said afterward, as relayed by GrindTV. "You just have to get out and do it."

The line that caught the monster fish was a 60-foot braided line and the struggle took about 35 minutes. The 76.52-pound flathead "measured 53.5 inches and boasted a 34.75-inch girth," GrindTV says.

"When it came close to the boat, I saw there was only one treble hook in the corner of his mouth," Wilcoxson said in an Arizona Game and Fish Department news release, "so I backed off on the drag. If not, it would have ripped right out of his mouth."

The record for heaviest fish caught in Arizona previous to Friday's amazing triumph by Wilcoxson was a flathead that weighed in at 74 pounds. That fish was caught in 1988 in the Colorado River.

The all-tackle world record weighed in at 123 pounds in 1998 and was caught in Kansas.

"I sleep out on the water three to four days sometimes," Wilcoxson said. "Sometimes during Thanksgiving I'll spend three weeks straight out there. Also, I fished 39 weekends last year."

It sounds like Wilcoxson has at least been heading to the right place, as Bartlett Lake was also the location of a record-breaking carp caught in 1987 by Jonathan Gardner. That carp broke the state record for the species, at 37 pounds.

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