Lighting struck twice for West Virginia angler Allen Burkett. On July 20, he caught a giant channel catfish that broke the state record—which he set in the same lake last June. You read that right. For the second year in a row, the same angler broke the same record while fishing in the same waterbody.
Burkett pulled the 37.5-pound channel cat from South Mill Creek Lake in Grant County. He was using a dead bluegill as bait, according to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, which certified the record on July 26.
The catfish replaces Burkett’s previous record catch, a 36.96-pound channel cat. He caught it on June 20 of last year, and tried but failed to keep it alive during the weigh-in process. (Check out this story for more details on Burkett’s 2022 record breaker.)
“He didn’t make it,” Burkett told reporters last year. “He was just too weak to return to the water. It would have been nice to have gotten him back as big as he was. But I was able to filet him and got quite a few bags of meat.”
This also means that the state-record channel cat that Burkett caught last Thursday was a different fish than the one he caught in June 2022. (It’s unknown if he kept or released his most recent state-record catfish, and Burkett did not respond immediately to requests for comment.)
Before Burkett’s back-to-back run on record channel cats, the West Virginia record for the species had stood for 18 years. The previous record fish, caught in 2004, weighed just over 33 pounds and was caught in Patterson Creek by angler Michael Sears.