Recently, a catfish grabbling service in Mississippi caught a near-record specimen at Arkabutla Lake in DeSoto County.
The guide service, Southern Boyz Grabbling, utilized the lake’s natural structure and a weighted wooden box to secure the 81.2 lb. flathead catfish by hand. At 54.5 in. long with a 36.5 in. girth, the female fish was just 8.3 lb. short of the state record.
Fishermen Dalton Scott, Josh Bennett, and Jacob Bennett were guiding a client through her first grabbling experience when the group ran into the massive catfish.
“The catfish instantly hammered my hand as soon as I reached into the box,” Scott said. “Her mouth went all the way up to my elbow, and she began to thrash around.”
The client then retrieved the catfish from the box and brought it to the surface before the group opted to swim the fish to shore, rather than risk losing the marshy mammoth.
Instead of taking the near-record breaking fish down to “The Catfish Capital of the World,” a.k.a. Belzoni, the group contacted the Arkabutla Lake Field Office and coordinated a safe release.