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HOOKED ON EAST TEXAS: Whitehouse man catches monster catfish

It's not the first giant catfish caught at this East Texas lake.

WHITEHOUSE, Texas — For Joe Agosta, of Whitehouse, a fishing trip on a Friday after work started out like any fishing trip on Lake Tyler.

But the trip soon took an unexpected turn when he felt a big tug on his line. Agosta says he was using a blade bait and was fishing for bass. 

Lake Tyler has its share of big bass and when Agosta's line went tight he thought he caught a log. But Agosta tells us the log started pulling back. 

To his surprise, it was a very large fish. 

"After the first minute of two, I knew it wasn't a bass. I knew I had a big catfish on," said Agosta.

The catfish was so big it took nearly a half hour to reel in. The fish almost broke his pole. Somehow, his 35-pound line held. But Agosta's net didn't hold up. 

The net broke before he managed to drag the fish into the boat.

 "And I finally got it into the boat and so I was just amazed at how big it was, you know, I never thought I'd catch a catfish over fifty pounds bass fishing", said Agosta. 

The catfish weighed more than 50-pounds and was four feet long and covered more than half his boat deck. It was truly a monster from the deep as it broke his scale as he tried to weigh it. "I had originally put it on the scale. My scale went up to 50-pounds but it was the clasp style and when I put the clasp on it, the fish shook and broke the clasp," Agosta explained.

Fortunately, two Crappie anglers were nearby. They offered Agosta their scale and he was able to confirm it weighed more than 50-pounds. 

This isn't first big catfish caught at Lake Tyler. Last year, you might remember, we did a story about two Troup teenagers Jakob Hardy and Luke Skillern. They caught a 50-plus pound catfish in November of 2021.

Lake Tyler Marina operator Brent Allen told us he knows of at least four 50-pound catfish caught at Lake Tyler within the last couple of years and agrees with Hooked On East Texas that Lake Tyler may be the big catfish capital of East Texas, "It cerainly seems that way. Over the last couple of years, they've pulled some monsters out of this lake," said Allen. 

If you're wondering whether Agosta kept the catch of a lifetime. He says no, not this time. "I figured it would be better to release it and let someone else enjoy the fight."

If you've recently landed a big bass or huge catfish or even a giant crappie, let us know. We'd love to share the story and get more people hooked on East Texas. 

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