STEWART COUNTY, Tenn. — Tyler Schmid almost spent Black Friday shopping with his wife, but instead, his buddy Dave took him fishing on the Cumberland River in Stewart County.
Now he knows he made the right choice.
After a mostly slow fishing day, Schmid hooked one of the largest fish ever caught in Tennessee.
After a ten minute fight, he reeled in a 90-pound blue catfish. It measured 51 inches long and 37 inches in girth.
“I was worried that the pole would break. It pulled a lot of drag and pulled the pole down in the water. That’s why I had to take my time,” said Schmid. “It was one of the highlights of my outdoor life for sure.”
Schmid was wearing a GoPro on his head when he reeled it in, laughing and cheering along the way.
He decided to release the fish back into the water, after proudly smiling for a couple of pictures.
“A fish that old, approximately 30 years old, it took a long time for him to get that big,” said Schmid. “And it would be a shame to keep the fish just for pictures. So we released him to let him swim another day and hopefully catch him again.”
Schmid, who lives in Centerville, used cut skipjack for bait and caught the fish a few miles from Lock C on the Cumberland River.
The catch is a bit shy of the state record for blue catfish caught in Tennessee. That record is held by Robert E. Lewis, who caught a 112-pound blue cat back in 1998.