A fisherman who reeled in a 110-pound “monster” catfish in Georgia, setting a new state record, is also catching heat for the rare fish’s death.
The massive fish, hooked last week on the Chattahoochee River, is the largest ever blue catfish caught in Georgia, the state’s Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday. It was nearly 5-feet long and 48 inches in girth.
Tim Trone, of Havana, Florida, took the prized catch to DNR for an official weigh-in this week, and the record was made official.
The 110-pound blue catfish outweighs the previous record by 17 pounds, WRDW reported.
“Congrats to you Tim — that is a whopper of a tale to tell!” Georgia DNR said.
However, sometime between when it was reeled in and when it was weighed in, the catfish died.
“So sorry this fish died but it’s official, 110.64lbs,” Trone said on Facebook. “New Georgia State Record.”
Trone was upset the fish died, saying he worked hard to keep it alive long enough to weigh and release back into the wild.
“I never keep bluecat, I always cut them loose,” he said. “This fish went from wide open to just nothing. I’ve babied this fish, can’t describe how I feel. Depressing for sure.”
While most were just impressed by the size of the catch, some were angered after hearing the fish was dead.
“Why was she not released?” one commenter asked.
“What a shame. All for a record.” another said.
Some blamed the death on mishandling of the fish, while others didn’t blame the fisherman at all.
“Things could have been done differently to help save that fish. DNR dropped the ball by making him wait till Monday to certify it,” one person wrote.
“Sad, that he could not release it, when it sounds like he wanted too,” said another. “That old man/old lady has been around awhile.”
The Georgia DNR says it is working on determining the age of the catfish.
Still, many defended the new state record holder.
“Congrats Tim. We can still be conservationists and take fish now and then,” one commenter wrote. “In my eyes a fish that breaks the state record is a valid reason to do so.”