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New VA Record Blue Catfish - By: C.C. McCotter - Aug. 2004

It's official, a 92.21 pound blue catfish caught June 29 by William and Nana Zost from the waters of Buggs Island (Kerr Lake) looks to be the new Virginia state record. The Zost's spectacular catch eclipsed the existing record caught April 30 by Vernon McCann weighing 75-4 by 17 pounds.
William Zost gave W2 an exclusive interview recently and described the night he and his wife landed the massive catfish.

The husband and wife began their trip around 8:30 p.m., launching from the Bluestone Creek public ramp on upper Buggs Island Lake. Zost remembered it was a typical hot and muggy summer night.

Once on the lake, the husband and wife duo anchored in 27-30" of water off a point near the mouth of Bluestone Creek and set out their bottom rigs. They caught a number of smaller catfish, but it wasn't until after midnight that the big fish struck.

Using a 7'10" Surge rod (Trophy Cat Series) and an ABU Garcia 6500 Trophy Series reel spooled with 40-lb. Berkley Big Cat line, William set out a line tipped with two, whole 6" shad. He did cut each, but did not fillet them. The terminal tackle consisted of a 8/0 Gamagatzu circle hook, an 80-lb. Berkley Big Cat leader, a swivel, a bead and a one-ounce egg sinker -- not unlike a Carolina rig.
The Zosts set this rig in 17' of water and didn't have to wait long. Around 1 a.m. the rod went down hard and the fight was on. William fought the fish and wrestled it on board, but wasn't too impressed with the effort.

"It really didn't take as long as I thought it would take for a fish of that size -- about 20 minutes. It did fight for it's life, though. We tried to keep it alive after landing it, but our efforts didn't work," he explained.
The Zosts have been fishing Buggs Island for just a year-and-a-half. He told W2 he used to bass fish the lake 15 years ago. Incredibly, Zost and his wife started fishing for small fish last year out of a 11' plastic boat with a trolling motor. He got serious this year.

"My wife and I are relatively new at chasing the big cats. We knew that there were big fish in the lake. It's really a great fishery. It's got a lot of potential and it's only going to get better. I think more and more guys in the catfishing world are practicing catching and release, and I think that has helped a lot over the years."

What about the "secret" spot the Zosts were fishing?

"We had gotten some big fish to the boat at this spot before but not been successful landing them. I think a lot of the fish were pouring back out of the rivers after the spawn."

Zost's hunch has some scientific basis, as the blue catfish were just completing their annual spawn on the upper end of Buggs where the Staunton and Dan Rivers combine.

"The biologist was certain this female had just deposited her eggs and not eaten much. He speculated that if we had caught her a month earlier it could have been a 100-pound fish," revealed Zost.

The new record holder put his catch in perspective, knowing it's just a matter of time before his mark is bested.

"My wife had a lot of confidence in pursuing big fish, and she loves to catch them. Her positive attitude helps. There's no doubt we were truly fortunate. I know someone else will catch a bigger fish, and I look forward to shaking his hand. This was definitely a fish of a lifetime."

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