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Quite a catch: Catfish shatters state, up for world record

Ben Tomkunas' 21.3-pound catch nearly doubled the previous Connecticut state record.
Credit: AP
Ben Tomkunas holds a catfish he caught in Coventry, Conn., on Aug. 21, 2021, that has smashed a state record and could also be a world record for the species. (Photo by Chris Braga via AP)

A white catfish caught in Connecticut last month has smashed a state record and could also be a world record for the species — though the evidence has been eaten.

Ben Tomkunas, 25, caught the 21.3-pound (9.66-kilogram) fish late at night in Coventry on Aug. 21. It was longer than 3 feet (about a meter).

Connecticut Fish and Wildlife confirmed in a Facebook post that the catch was a white catfish and that it easily broke the previous state record for the species of 12.7 pounds (5.76 kilograms).

“We were just sitting back and drinking a couple of beers and next thing you know, my reel just starts screaming like I had a 30-pound striper on there,” Tomkunas, of Coventry, told the newspaper.

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Tomkunas' friend, Chris Braga, had a digital scale and took a photo of the fish coming in at the record-breaking weight.

The International Game Fish Association has recorded the world record for a white catfish catch to be 19.3 pounds (8.75 kilograms) for a fish caught in 2005 in California.

Tomkunas said he intends to submit a claim to the association to secure the new world record. But he also told the newspaper that he gave the fish to his grandfather the next morning.

“It kind of got eaten,” he said.

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