Tue May 24,10:56 PM ET
ALTON, Ill. - It sounds like the sort of tale Mark Twain might have cooked up: A man fishing in the Mississippi River hauls in a blue catfish roughly the size of a sixth-grader. But this is no fish story. Early Sunday, Tim Pruitt caught a 124-pound blue catfish.
Once that is done, the catch should be approved as the world's largest blue catfish, replacing the current champion that was caught Jan. 16, 2004, in Lake Texoma, Texas, said Becky Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the association.
Pruitt's fish, measuring 58 inches long and 44 inches around, was swimming below the Melvin Price Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River at Alton on Saturday night when it grabbed Pruitt's line. The two struggled for more than half an hour, and at one point the fish dragged the boat carrying Pruitt, his wife and a friend before Pruitt could reel it in.
The fish has been kept alive and will be on display in a tank at the Cabela's Outfitter store in Kansas City, Kan., according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Pruitt, 33, of Godfrey, told the (Peoria) Journal Star's outdoors columnist that he considered releasing the fish in the river but decided to donate it to Cabela's "because I thought it might be neat to give people a chance to see a fish that massive."