Joe Granata of Monaca, Penn., kept his mouth shut about the giant Ohio River catfish that chomped down on his bait in September.
Few people knew anything about the Beaver County man's 64.8-pound catch — heavier than a 9-year-old child — until he posted a video on YouTube on Sunday.
The big fish turned up near the Pike Island Lock and Dam, about 84 miles downstream from Pittsburgh near New Cumberland, W.Va. Hefty as it was, it didn't quite measure up to the West Virginia state record flathead caught in 1956. That one was recorded at a massive 70 pounds, 52 inches.
Had Granata's monster been caught in Pennsylvania, it would have destroyed the 56-pound, 3-ounce record set last year on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
"I'm pretty pumped," says Granata in his video. "I spend a lot of time out on the river and that's the biggest flathead I've ever seen, let alone caught.
"I knew he was big, but you never know."
Granata is a veteran flathead hunter. He targets big fish on the Ohio and Allegheny rivers, and his catches have topped 50 pounds before. Check out the man-vs.-catfish match on his YouTube channel, Hammer-Down Catfishing with Joe Granata.
On a dark night with eight lines baited, he and friends Alex Preaux and Steve Reis are seen boating two 20-inch catfish. Then one of the rods abruptly bends and Granata wrestles his catch to the boat. Still in the water, the fish fills the net and it's apparent that this one is more than the fisherman expected,
The men lift the fish to weigh it.
Checking the scale, they measure it again — a brownish beast with a shovel-shaped head, substantial girth, lightly toxic dorsal and pectoral spines and cat-like whiskers or barbels.