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'A great 15-minute fight': Record catfish caught in Minnesota

Mark Mosby of St. Anthony, Minn., hoists a 52.5-inch flathead catfish he caught and released Aug. 2, 2017, on the St. Croix River near Stillwater. The fish broke the previous catch-and-release record. Courtesy photo / Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

STILLWATER, Minn. — The St. Croix River has yielded a record-setting catfish.

On Aug. 2, Mark Mosby of St. Anthony landed a 52½-inch flathead catfish while fishing in Stillwater.

The fish, which had a girth of 32 inches (ponder that for a moment) and weighed an estimated 70 to 80 pounds, was recognized this week by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a new catch-and-release state record.

Mosby and his partner were geared for monsters when he hooked the beast. He was using 80-pound-test braided line with a 40-pound monofilament leader — heavy tackle.

"Kudos to my fishing partner John Kaiser for his knot-tying ability," Mosby told the DNR. "The flathead put up a great 15-minute fight right up until he got to the boat, and the knots held true."

Catch-and-release records — for fish released alive after being caught — is a new record the state now recognizes for flatheads, muskies and lake sturgeon as a way to recognize the efforts of anglers who target big fish with an ethic that rare, big, old fish should be released.

Mosby's fish beat the previous catch-and-release record of 49 inches, which was held by Jake Robinson of Shakopee for two different fish he caught this year on the Minnesota River.

The record for a caught-and-kept flathead catfish is 70 pounds.