Man Reels In 149-Pound Paddlefish, Largest Fish Ever Caught In Tennessee

“I'm a little feller and that fish weighed more than me."

That’s a big fish!

A Tennessee man recently set a new state record by reeling in a gigantic 149-pound paddlefish. Angler Henry Dyer caught the massive fish on Cherokee Reservoir the evening of April 13. 

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s (TWRA) official records, Dyer's fish is not only the largest paddlefish ever caught in Tennessee, it is the largest fish of any species ever caught in the state.

Dyer Paddlefish Record

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

The second-largest fish in the state’s history is a 130-pound blue catfish caught by a commercial fisherman on Fort Loudoun Lake in 1976. The previous paddlefish record was set just last year with a 120-pound catch also in Cherokee Reservoir.

"It's a big deal, at least in my mind it is." Jason Henegar, Assistant Chief of Fisheries for TWRA, told WTVC

Dyer, who hails from Kingston, told the news outlet that he scored the record-setting paddlefish using a heavy rod he calls "Old Blue" outfitted with a Penn fishing reel and 80-pound test line.

"When I snagged that thing, I thought I'd hung on a stump, and then, all of a sudden, it just took off," he recalled. "I was in the back of a boat, and it was everything I could do to hold on to it."

“It took the two of us three tries to get it in the boat,” Dyer continued. “I'm a little feller and that fish weighed more than me."

Paddlefish are ancient creatures, closely related to sturgeon, that feed like whales on plankton and algae. The species can live for 60 years or longer. 

Dyer donated the fish to TWRA who will use it for research purposes. 

"It's quite incredible to see a fish that size,” Bart Carter, TWRA Region 4 fisheries biologist, told WTVC. “That fish could be 30 years old. We'll see."

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