Marine Corps veteran reels in state record catfish near Kinston

Taner Rudolph, a Marine Corps veteran from Hubert, holds up his state record 26-pound channel catfish caught in the Neuse River near Kinston in July.
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A U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Onslow County is now a North Carolina state fishing record holder. 

Taner Rudolph of Hubert caught a 26-pound channel catfish after midnight on July 17 while fishing on the bank of the Neuse River near Kinston. 

“Once I hooked into him I knew it was a big one, but I was thinking that it was just a big blue cat or a flathead,” Rudolph said. “I didn’t ever think that I’d be catching the state record channel.” 

After about a 15-minute fight, and nearly losing the fish, Rudolph’s buddies helped him get the catfish to the bank around 2:00 a.m. 

It wasn’t until the following day that he identified it as a channel catfish. That’s when he contacted the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, who eventually confirmed it was a state record at 26 pounds, 38 5/8 inches long and 22 3/4 inches in girth. The catch beat out a fish caught in 2020 which broke a record that stood for five decades prior. 

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