Tucker Martin was down to his last minnow Wednesday morning at Lake Mineral Wells when he caught a catfish nearly as long as he is tall.
The flathead catfish weighed in at 25 pounds on the nose and from tail fin to its gaping mouth, measured 38.5 inches long. Not bad for a 7-year-old who had been fishing for crappie all morning with his dad, his two brothers and his great granddad.
“I thought [the hook] was stuck to a stick,” Tucker said. But after fighting the big ugly beast for 15 minutes, it surfaced for the first time behind his great grandfather’s boat, on which the family had been fishing from all morning. “Then I thought it was a shark.”
“He started screaming when he saw it,” said Tucker’s father, Thadd. “It dove back down and we fought him for another five minutes before we got him in the boat.”
The catch, if all the paperwork is confirmed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, will be a new Lake Mineral Wells record in weight for a junior angler. The current record for anglers under the age of 12 is 24.3 pounds, according to Mariah Pogue of Trailway Trading Post, the park store for Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway.
The overall record weight for a catch at Lake Mineral Wells is over 53 pounds, Pogue said. A week earlier, another angler on Lake Mineral Wells caught a 32.5-pound catfish on a crappie jig.
The Martins, who live in San Angelo, were in Mineral Wells visiting family. Thadd Martin said Tucker has been fishing as long as he’s been able to hold on to a reel, and his catch Wednesday probably has him hooked for life.