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Missouri fisherman lands record-breaking 130-pound blue catfish

July 21, 2010 |  4:12 pm

Greg Bernal of Florissant, Missouri, holds the new state, and possibly world, record for blue catfish with this 130 pound giant.

A man fishing with his girlfriend Tuesday morning landed a new Missouri state record -- and likely new world record -- blue catfish, pulling in the 130-pound behemoth from the Missouri River.

"That rod just started screaming," Greg Bernal, of Florissant, Missouri, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I knew he was big. It raced out, I set the hook and there was no movement at all. I just kept the pressure on him and finally I could feel him thumping."

Bernal caught the big cat using a chunk of an Asian carp, which jumped into the boat, for bait. He fought his big catch for 15 minutes and spent another 30 minutes -- with help from his girlfriend, Janet Momphard -- pulling it into their johnboat.

"I am still numb," said Bernal, a lifelong fisherman. "That's the biggest fish I've ever seen."

The fish measured 57 inches in length and 45 inches in girth. It has been confirmed by Missouri Department of Conservation biologists as the new state record, besting the previous state pole and line record by 27 pounds. Application for world record status has been submitted to the International Game Fish Assn. and is currently awaiting confirmation, but the huge blue cat also stands to topple the standing record by six pounds.

Bernal, an unemployed land surveyor, said he won't eat the record-breaking fish, instead planning to mount a reproduction in his home, next to a 79.12-pound catfish he caught in 1995. He hopes there's room for another someday.

"I'm going to go out there and catch a bigger one -- they're out there."

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Greg Bernal of Florissant, Missouri, holds the new state, and possibly world, record for blue catfish with this 130 pound giant. Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation
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