Charlotte’s Evan Martin spent a long day of fishing on Oct 24 at Mountain Island Lake that began so tough that he had trouble even catching bait. He stuck to it though, and halfway through the day, he caught a monster blue catfish that tipped the scales at 70.83-pounds. It was the first of seven fish he landed on the day, with three of them going over 30-pounds.

“I got on the water about 7:30 that morning and had a hard time catching bait at first. I finally found some bream and white perch, and I was marking good fish on my Humminbird in a few spots, but they just weren’t biting for some reason,” Martin said. 

Around 12:30, Martin was watching his Humminbird again while looking for another fishing hole. “I marked a big rock pile, and I saw something just right off of it. I have side-imaging, and could clearly see what I thought was another rock pile, and decided I would try fishing there with some cut white perch,” he said. As it turned out, what he saw was no rock pile, but a big catfish.

Martin dropped the cut bait down into about 37-feet of water, and the fish couldn’t resist the offering. After a solid hook set, Martin said the fight was a gratifying one for him. “I have fished this area hard, really hard, for the past few years. I’ve spent a lot of time on the water and have tried to learn everything I could from other catfish anglers,” he said.

“The fight lasted about 20-minutes, and once that fish saw the boat, it got some new energy and took more drag out. I feel fortunate to have been able to net that fish and get it in the boat. I was thrilled when I saw how big it was,” said Martin.

While he was fighting the big fish, a couple of kayakers paddled by and stopped to watch Martin’s battle. They stuck around long enough to see the fish and help Martin with photographing the fish. “I’m glad they came by, because I was fishing by myself, and couldn’t have gotten a photo of me with the fish without their help,” he said. 

Martin caught the fish on a 7’6” Doug Elliot Pro Angler medium-heavy rod with an Abu Garcia 6500C3 reel spooled with 30-pound test Ande line. He used a 50-pound test Ande leader that was about 2-feet long.

Martin decided to try the area a little longer, and ended up catching six more catfish, including two more than weighed over 30-pounds. 

After weighing the fish and getting a few photos with it, Martin released it back into Mountain Island Lake. “I can’t wait for my son to get old enough to fish, so I release all my fish to give him a chance to catch a monster,” he said. 

To read more about Mountain Island Lake's catfish, click here.