Record- setting Channel Catfish caught by Justin Hall of Reidsville - Carolina Country

Local Pond Yields Record Channel Catfish

Your next catch could be a record-setter

By Mike Zlotnicki

Local Pond Yields Record Channel Catfish

Justin Hall of Reidsville shows his record-setting channel catfish. Photo by Justin Hall.

A recent trophy catch from a Rockingham County pond is proof that the big ones are out there — and you don’t always have to venture far from home to catch them.

In May, Justin Hall of Reidsville reeled in a 27-pound, 7-ounce channel catfish from a local farm pond near his home. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission certified the catch as a new record, breaking the previous record of 26 pounds (caught in the Neuse River in July 2021).

Justin has been fishing this pond for years, but rarely caught channel catfish from it. That is until May, when his 13-year-old son caught what he estimates to have been a 25+ pounder. They returned it to the water, unaware of the record held at that time.

I told a friend about my son’s catch, and he told me it might have been big enough to beat the state record.

“I told a friend about my son’s catch, and he told me it might have been big enough to beat the state record,” Justin says.

A week later, using bread dough as bait and his Big Cat Fever Casting Rod and Zebco Big Cat XT reel, he got the record-breaker. 

“My wife went down to the waterline to bring it in with the net — and it bent the net,” he says.

The fish measured 36¼ inches long and 24⅞ inches in girth.

To qualify for an NC Freshwater Fish State Record, anglers must catch the fish by rod and reel or cane pole. The fish must be weighed on a scale certified by the NC Department of Agriculture and witnessed by at least one observer. It must be identified by a fisheries biologist from the commission, and the angler must submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish for record certification.

NC Freshwater Fish State Record program

For more information on the NC Freshwater Fish State Record program, go to

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About the Author

Mike Zlotnicki is associate editor at Wildlife in North Carolina magazine. He lives in Garner with his wife, three daughters and two German shorthaired pointers.

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