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What a catch! Florida fisherman reels in giant 121-pound catfish

Florida fisherman Joel Singletary reeled in the granddaddy of all catfish.

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Singletary caught the 121-pounder April 11 on the Choctawhatchee River, which flows into the sunshine state from Alabama. 

The white-bellied fish, which weighs more than 1.7 times the current record of 69.5 pounds for a catfish caught in Florida, put up quite a fight as Singletary was reeling it in, according to officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

When the fisherman felt the giant fish nibbling on his trotline, he suspected he was in for a battle.

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“I was shocked. I didn’t think I could get him in the boat,” he told the NWF Daily News. “The adrenaline took over.”

Since it was caught on a trotline, the catch does not qualify as a state record, but remains an impressive feat nonetheless, FWC officials wrote on the agency’s Facebook page. 

Joel Singletary, left, with officials from the (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) as they weigh the fishman’s gigantic catfish. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Originally found in the Escambia and Yellow rivers in northwest Florida, blue catfish are now found in the Apalachicola and Suwannee rivers, too. The fish prefers larger rivers with clearer, swifter currents.

Singletarry told the NWF Daily News that after he caught the cat, he had to concoct a system of pulleys to yank it out of the boat. 

Once out, he strung it up and filleted it. 

Some went to his neighbors, some to a weekly fish fry and the rest was planned for a weekend party.

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As for missing his chance in the record book, Singletary isn’t too concerned and told NWF Daily he’ll be back out on the waters and not soon enough.

“Oh yeah, I was very impressed,” he told the NWF Daily. “It won’t be a record ... but that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience holding that in your hands.”

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