SPANISH LAKE, Mo. – Joshua Jones Jr. is taking it all in after a recent midnight miracle on the Missouri River.
Inspired by a contest, and with support from his father, Joshua made a once-in-a-lifetime catch around midnight Wednesday, reeling in a 108-pound catfish from the river near the St. Louis suburb of Spanish Lake, KTVI reports.
Joshua had actually dozed off when the catch happened, exhausted after a long night of fishing.
“I was sleeping when the fish got on, so it kind of woke me up,” said Joshua. “And then I felt the pull and drag, which really woke me up.”
It took about 20 minutes of fighting the line, but Joshua was able to reel in a monster-sized catfish and get it on the boat.
“It was pretty exciting at first when I was fighting the fish,” said Joshua.
He developed his passion and fishing skills through a bond with his father, Joshua Jones Sr. The two have spent countless hours out on the water.
“I had him on the bank before he could walk, trying to catch bluegills,” said Joshua Sr.
A love for angling is something Joshua Sr. learned from his father, driving his inspiration to teach his own two sons.
“I couldn’t wait to have a boy to take out with me and fish and be my best friend out on the river,” said Joshua Sr.
A best friend, also ready to battle the bite. “Take your time. Take your time. Take your time,” said Joshua Sr. recalled telling his son as they worked to tire the massive fish.
Joshua Jr. recalled several instances where he had to grab the catfish with his own hand, guiding it in the right direction. After grueling minutes of toggling with the fishing rod, the small boat’s crew conquered the catfish.
“It’s a monster! It’s a monster!” both said in a video they recorded of the encounter.
What did young Joshua do with his big catch? He took a photo with it, then released it in hopes of entering it into a contest.
“He was determined and always told me, ‘I’m going to catch the record. I want to catch a 100-pound fish, and he caught it,” said Joshua Sr.
“We come out here to fish, but we also come out here to hunt for those big fish,” said Joshua Sr.
They were hoping for a $500 reward in a Mad Katz fishing contest. Joshua Jr. and his father thought they’d be making history and getting a few extra bucks for their bait. Unfortunately, they were disqualified due to a rule violation – judges were unable to visually see the bottom of the net while the pair completed the weigh in.
“A lot of guys search for a fish like that for a long time,” said Joshua Sr.
The whole Jones family has caught countless catfish out on the Missouri waters, but they haven’t seen anything of this size before. Joshua Sr. realizes that no matter how big the catch, fishing is more about the connections.
“To get out here and experience such a thing, to throw a fishing rod, big fish, small fish — a lot of times, it doesn’t matter. Just love the experience itself,” he said.
According to CatfishEdge.com, the largest catfish ever caught in the Missouri River weighed 130 pounds. Greg Bernal caught the catfish in 2010, a one-time world record.