Monster cat

Published 4:29 pm Monday, April 5, 2010

It was a frigid morning in December when Jake Lusk caught the biggest fish of his life while fishing on the James River near Claremont.

With a little help, the 16-year-old from Sedley reeled in a blue catfish that tipped the scales at just over 100 pounds.

“It was easy up until we got it to the boat,” Jake said of reeling in the huge fish.

Getting the fish into the boat was anything but easy.

“I tried to lift him off the bottom — he didn’t like that too much. Then he started swimming under the boat, away from the boat behind the boat and got tangled up in both of the anchor ropes,” Jake said. With the help of his two fishing partners — Tim Ashworth and Joe Pope — Jake was able to get the fish in the boat.

Jake said the only thing that kept the boat from tipping over were the two anchors attached to the other side.

“Once we got him in, I was tired,” he said. “My shoulders were hurting, my back was hurting …, so I just sat down and rested for 5 or 10 minutes. Then another reel went off right behind me, I grabbed it and landed another 30-pound catfish.”

After about an hour of taking pictures and measurements, the three decided to let the fish go. It took all three of them to lift it over the side of the boat.

The huge catfish was just shy of a state record, Jake said. In July, someone caught a fish that was 102.4 pounds — about a pound heavier than Jake’s fish.

Jake, the son of Mitzi and Jimmy Lusk, fishes every chance he gets and enjoys the complexity of the sport.

“Every time I go out I learn something new,” Jake said.