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Catfish hooked in Virginia may be world's largest

Tuesday - 6/21/2011, 7:51am  ET

catfish record (Mecklenburg News Progress/Dallas Weston)
Nick Anderson (left) holds the 143-pound blue catfish he caught late Saturday. He was fishing with his dad, Rick (center) and brother Jeramie Mullis. (Mecklenburg News/Dallas Weston)

RICHMOND, Va. - Nick Anderson has a serious fish tale to tell. The high school football coach reeled in what could be a world record. He caught a 143 pound, 13 ounce blue catfish.

The Greenville, N.C. man caught a 57-inch long catfish that had a girth of 43.5 inches . He made the catch just before 8 p.m. Saturday while fishing in the Kerr Reservoir along the Virginia-North Carolina border.

Anderson, 29, tells The Richmond Times Dispatch he battled to bring in the fish for 45 minutes, bringing it to the boat four times before he, his brother and dad could get it on board.

Up until now, the biggest catfish the Kinston Vikings head football coach had caught was 13 pounds, Anderson tells Kinston.com.

Anderson knew the fish was a biggie -- bigger than the 95-pounder his dad caught three weeks earlier -- but he didn't realize how big.

Because it was Saturday night, the trio didn't know who to call after reeling in the fish, so they called the sheriff. The sheriff contacted the Mecklenburg Supply in Chase City and gaming officials. The shop opened up, and with 30 to 40 people watching, the fish got weighed on certified scales.

Don't look for Anderson to tell you what bait he used. He says it's a family secret and will remain one.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is reviewing Anderson's entry, which looks legitimate. The International Game Fish Association will need to certify the catch as the largest on record in the world.

According to the International Game Fish Association, the current world record is 130 pounds, set last year in Missouri.

In March, the current Virginia record was set when a 109-pound blue cat was caught on Buggs Island Lake near the confluence of the Dan and Roanoke rivers.

WNCT-TV has more photos of the catfish in this video.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)