Hunting Fishing

He reeled in a record-breaking ‘monster’ catch — nearly as big as him, official says

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SCREENSHOT Facebook/Oceans East Bait and Tackle

Jeffrey Dill has caught his fair share of big fish.

A quick look at Dill's Facebook page shows the Virginia man proudly displaying his trophy catches in a series of photos over the years.

As impressive as many of the images are — and there are lots of big fish pictured — none compare to one of Dill's most recent catches.

That's because Dill set a record when he hauled in a massive flathead catfish while out fishing last weekend. Dill battled the massive fish and broke a 24-year-old record for largest flathead catfish caught in the Virginia Beach area, cbsnews.com reported.

Using a run-of-the-mill rod he bought at Walmart for $20, Dill battled the catfish for more than 15 minutes after first feeling a tug on the end of his line, according to gearjunkie.com.

Dill knew he had caught a massive fish as he finally prevailed and pulled it out of the water.

"I put him on the dock, held him down for a minute. He was so big," Dill said of the catfish, which he named "Big Earle," nbc4i.com reported.

That was not the end of the line for "Big Earle."

Dill took him to Oceans East Bait and Tackle to be measured by a biologist from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, according to Fox News.

This past March, the South Carolina record was smashed when a man reeled in an 84-pound, 9.6-ounce flathead catfish in the Cooper River, carolinasportsman.com reported. According to ncwildlife.org, the record in North Carolina waters is 78 pounds, which was caught in the Cape Fear River in 2005.

Though those record fish are all larger than "Big Earle," commenters are still sharing their amazement.

"Goooood God THAT’S a biggin’! .... ya neva know what’s under you!" one person wrote in a comment on the Oceans East Bait and Tackle Facebook post, which has more than a thousand comments, reactions and shares. Another person posted: "How many ducks that thing got in its belly?"

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