82-pound blue catfish caught, released at Lake Wylie
What’s almost certainly the largest fish ever caught at Lake Wylie was reeled in and then released.
Jeff Manning, 47, of Gastonia caught an 82-pound blue catfish while fishing alone last weekend. The fish measured 50 inches in length, 36 inches in girth.
After its weighing, tagging and some photographs, Manning slipped his trophy catch back into the lake.
“I don’t kill fish except small ones to use for bait,” said Manning. “The others, well, I hope to catch them for fun again – or that someone else can do it.”
Anyone who might hook the behemoth blue that Manning outfought better be prepared for a battle.
“I anchored in a favorite spot on the N.C. side of the lake, fanned my baits out in different directions and set the rods in holders,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting much because I was using small baits, pieces of white perch about the size of the end of my thumb. The last few years I’ve targeted big fish, so I ordinarily use baits large enough to choke an alligator.
“After about 20 minutes the tip of one rod bent down.”
Manning fought the fish for about 12 or 13 minutes, he said, and called a friend to come see it after he got it in the boat.
“We noticed that my 25-pound test braided line had been been badly frayed by the anchor rope. I wrapped that length of line around my hand and broke it easily.”
Perhaps the biggest catch of all time at Lake Wylie almost became the one that got away.
Wilmington man wins dogfish tournament
Wilmington angler Aaron Collier landed the winning fish in the 10th annual Johnnie Mercer’s Pier Dogfish Tournament on Saturday at Wrightsville Beach, weighing in a 10-pound, 9-ounce spiny dogfish.
Second was Brian Cain of Cary with a 10-pound, 2-ounce fish, followed by Dave Hannah of Wilmington with a 10-pound, 1-ounce fish.
A total of 117 anglers weighed in 65 dogfish in the catch-and-release pier tournament, with at least five others thrown back before weighing. That compares to one caught in the 2014 event.
Dogfish are small coastal sharks. The tournament fish averaged 7 pounds, 6 ounces, according to director Al Baird, a Charlotte business executive. Jack Horan
Catches of the week
• A 29-inch striper, 13 hybrids and four spotted bass at Lake Norman by Sam Newman of Mooresville while fishing just south of the N.C. 150 bridge.
• A 91/2-pound largemouth bass at Santee-Cooper by local angler Steve English.
• A 25-pound blackfin tuna off Hatteras Village by Kenneth Stalings of Shiloh.