Walmart Rod Lands Record-Breaking Catfish

Hauled from a Virginia lake, the catfish ‘Big Earle’ has been dubbed ‘a true river monster.’


Expensive gear doesn’t always mean better results. Just ask Virginia Beach resident Jeffrey Dill, who slapped down $20 for a fishing rod at Walmart and now holds the state-record catfish catch.

On Saturday, after an exhausting 15-minute struggle, Dill pulled a real lunker from Smith Lake, according to WAVY. Weighing more than 68 pounds, it will become the largest flathead catfish ever reeled in from Virginia waters – once the State Record Fish Committee confirms the weight.

“He yanked me so far I had to work the pole back out [of the water],” Dill told WAVY 10 news. “My buddy came over with his net, scooped him up. Halfway up the net snapped. So he had to grab the net ring, and we grabbed that thing, yanked him right up here.”

Record Catfish Catch From Walmart Rod

Dill, who named the catfish Big Earle, immediately took the catch to Oceans East Bait & Tackle Shop. There, a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist examined the fish and observed its first weighing.

Oceans East Bait & Tackle posted a picture of the scale at the weighing. And it shows Big Earle tipped the scales at a massive 68.8 pounds. Once confirmed, that will put Dill’s catch at almost 2.5 pounds over the previous record of 66.4 pounds, set in 1994.

“It was a true river monster,” Chad Boyce, a fish biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, told WAVY. “It was a big fish that you don’t expect to see in this part of the state, especially in Lake Smith.”

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
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