• Moore Boats


Record-breaking CatfishNever doubt Rodney Akey when he says he’s gonna catch you a big one.

Just ask his buddy, Will Skalla.

“Will likes his bluegill fishing, but I prefer bigger fish,” said Akey, a catfish specialist. “I told him that bluegills were for women and children, and that if he would come with me I’d show him what big fish look like.”

So, on May 22, the Niles anglers headed to the St. Joseph River below Berrien Springs dam. About 8 p.m., Akey’s line began to move. He let the fish run a bit, set the hook and the battle was on.

Thirty minutes later, the two men wrestled a 49-pound, 8-ounce flathead catfish onto the bank.

It shattered the Michigan state record of 47-8 that was set in 1943. It might have weighed more, but it lay in tub of water overnight and died before Akey could find certified scales that were strong enough to handle it.

Akey drove the fish to the DNR fisheries station in Plainwell, Mich. the next day to get it certified and the record confirmed by state officials.

“I knew it was a state record when I caught it,”