Arizona man reels in 49-inch catfish as part of catch-and-release challenge

Erik Barrantes shows off the 49-inch flathead catfish he caught in Arizona Sunday. (Erik Barrantes via Arizona Game and Fish)
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MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (WTHR) - An Arizona man has one heck of a fish story to tell.

Photos shared by the Arizona Game and Fish Department show Erik Barrantes posing with the massive flathead catfish he reeled in as part of the "Fat Cat Challenge." The fish measured 49 inches long and had a 30-inch girth.

Barrantes said he used a 3-way rig with a live bluegill to catch the huge fish.

12 News in Phoenix reports the Fat Cat Challenge encourages fishermen who catch a flathead catfish longer than 45 inches to document the fish, then release it. The goal of the challenge is to reel in (and release) the biggest, oldest, most valuable fish.

Barrantes made the catch Sunday at Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix.

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