Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency / Facebook
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported on their Facebook page that two men, Matt and Jason were fishing for striped bass when Matt hooked something entirely different, and special.
The two of them were fly fishing on one of Middle Tennessee’s infamous rivers, the Caney Fork. Matt felt a tug on his line but had no idea what he caught. The fight took half an hour and towed them around in the boat for over half a mile. They eventually landed this 5 foot long, 55-pound paddlefish. Both men were surprised at the unexpected catch and took a few pictures before releasing it back into the river unharmed.
Tennessee paddlefish average 36 inches in length and the range is 24-60 inches. The state record is 104 pounds. While mainly referred to as a paddlefish, other names include spoonbill, spoonbill cat, shovelnose cat, boneless cat
According to a Facebook post from the Tennesee Wildlife Resources Agency, the American paddlefish is prehistoric fish that can grow over five feet long, weigh as much as 200 pounds and live beyond 30 years. The agency added American paddlefish can be found throughout the Mississippi River Drainage and generally inhabit large rivers like the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.
For more fascinating facts about the paddlefish, check out the video below.