Tennessee angler says he caught possible record-breaking fish, threw it back in the water

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It’ll never be known if this was a record-breaking fish.

A fisherman in Tennessee caught a fish that he believes may be a new record. Unfortunately, he had no way to weigh and measure the fish before he threw it back in the water.

Robert Livingston pulled in a massive paddlefish while out on Cherokee Lake with some friends, WBIR reports. After a day of only catching smaller fish, Livingston’s line reportedly caught something big right as everyone was getting ready to go home.

“I set the hook on it and start reeling and the line goes slack. And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, whatever it is came off,'” Livingston explained to the news outlet.

Fortunately, the fish was still on the line and Livingston was able to pull it to the surface. He explained that it’s rare to catch a fish like this by line.

“You can only catch them by accident unless you snag them,” he explained. “This one, it just swam by and caught my hook right in the corner of its mouth. It was barely hooked, just a small portion of its cheek. Get it in the boat and I grab it and the hook actually falls out into the water.”


While the fish wasn’t officially measured or weighed, Livingston is confident that it would’ve broken state, and maybe even national, records. The state record is 104 lbs and the national record is 151 lbs, according to the news outlet.

Livingston says that he can lift 150 lbs over his head at the gym, so he estimates that the fish was at least that much. It also reportedly stretched across a boat that is 72-inches wide.


“People keep dogging me for not taking it home,” Livingston explained, “and the people who are avid fishermen are like I did the right thing. I would hate to catch the fish of a lifetime and then say, ‘Yeah, I killed it.’ It’s there swimming around so maybe one day somebody else will catch it.”

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