Johnny Cumberland had no idea what was about to happen as he boarded Capt. Bob Crosby’s boat on a recent trip to the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, but he was hopeful of catching a few big blues. After a short trip upriver, Crosby anchored and then baited up rods, as Cumberland made a few casts and let the tempting offerings of fresh skipjack sink into the depths. 

Shortly after the rods were set a strike occurred and I quickly grabbed the rod and caught a nice blue cat. This one weighed 17 pounds and really put up a fight. A few minutes later Cumberland landed his first blue cat also. The action was hot and about to get hotter. 

Wham! Suddenly one of the rods jerked violently as a fish struck and took the bait. Cumberland grabbed the rod, but didn’t have to set the hook as a monster fish tore line out like it was shot out of a cannon. Whatever was on the other end bore down and showed no sign of letting up for at least 15 minutes. 

The big cat was probably 70 feet deep and enraged, as it felt the sting of Crosby’s steel hook. It was nip and tuck for a while, as Cumberland struggled to hold onto the catfish, but he finally turned the fish in the current and coaxed him toward the boat ever so slightly. 

Suddenly another rod bowed up and I had to put down my camera and get it out of the way. Another big cat took the bait and we had a double, which could have spelled doom. Thankfully mine was a small one, about 18 pounds, as Cumberland’s monster fish got tangled with my line. I wore mine down and just kept pressure on it to keep it from breaking Cumberland’s line if I could. 

The tension mounted when the biggest catfish I’d ever seen caught on a rod and reel burst through the surface and thrashed wildly, before disappearing and stripping off line again. Back and forth the battle raged as Cumberland fought to wear the monster blue cat down. Astonishingly the catfish was as big as some sharks and fought as hard too. 

After a 30 minute battle the fish tired and the veteran angler seized the upper hand. Without a gaff or net big enough to land the fish, Cumberland struggled to control the fish. As Cumberland kept fighting, Crosby slipped the net as far up as he could and led the fish near the boat and all three of us hoisted the monster cat into the boat. 

The massive blue cat weighed 67 pounds, and was the biggest freshwater fish Cumberland had ever caught. Cumberland and crew caught several in the 20-pound range and one appaloosa to complete a great day on the water.

If you want the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime contact Capt. Bob Crosby at 601-953-5767, or online at