Marine Corps Veteran Breaks North Carolina Channel Catfish Record

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

For the second time this year, a catfish record in North Carolina has been broken.

Earlier this year the Tar Heel State’s Blue Catfish record was smashed by a 127-pound monster. More recently the record book has been re-written for Channel Catfish as well.

Channel cat’s do not grow nearly as large as Blues, but the 26-pound fish caught by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Taner Rudolph is still a fantastic fish. Rudolph was fishing on the bank of the Neuse River near the town of Kinston when he caught the fish.

He spoke with the Daily News about his big catch.

“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.

I didn’t ever think that I’d be catching the state record channel.” 

The fish reportedly fought hard for about 15-minutes before Rudolph and his buddies pull it onto the riverbank at around 2:00 AM. Many catfish hunters know that the middle of the night is the best time to catch the big ones, and catch a big one he did.

They tossed the fish in the cooler and kept fishing. It wasn’t until the next day that Rudolph realized he had caught a huge Channel cat. Thinking it might be a record, he contacted the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission who confirmed that the 26-pounder was indeed big enough to claim the state record. The fish measured just over 38-inches long and over 22-inches around. Length AND girth. That’s everything ya want in a state record fish.

The fish broke a record set in 2020, but prior to that the state’s Channel Catfish record had stood for more than 50 years.

Fishing Is Therapy

Rudolph is originally from Kansas, but he said that after getting out of the Marine Corps in 2020, fishing has become a constant in his life and therapeutic way to combat depression and anxiety. He also emphasized that fishing doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor.

“I’ve learned that Google Maps and YouTube are my biggest friends when it comes to catfishing. 

You don’t need fancy gear or a fancy boat to catch a trophy fish. You just need a little luck with a lot of knowledge on where these guys like to hangout and to put in the work.”

If you want to do some fishing in North Carolina, then step one should be purchasing a fishing license.

Please keep in mind that you do need to purchase separate licenses for fishing fresh and saltwater.

The sale of fishing licenses directly funds the protection and enhancement of public boat ramps, aquatic environments, and fish populations in all 50 states.

It also protects you from potentially being fined, having your gear confiscated, and/or losing your fishing privileges. It’s important to remember that just because you have a fishing license in one state, that does not mean it is valid in another state.

“Another big one! Taner Rudolph of Hubert broke the state’s channel catfish record after reeling in this 26-pound channel catfish on the Neuse River using a Shakespeare rod and reel with cut bait on July 17.

The fish measured 38 5/8 inches long and 22 3/4 inches in girth.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock