For The Madera Tribune
Joe Snyder Jr. and the pole-bending catfish he caught at Eastman Lake.
A relaxing day at Eastman Lake turned into a record-setting day for Joe Synder, Jr.
About an hour into a relaxing fishing trip on Dec. 3 at Eastman, Snyder saw his catfish pole bent over.
“We got there at about 10 a.m. and set up everything for trout,” Snyder said. “I also set out my big catfish pole. We were there for about an hour, and nothing. The next thing I know, my pole bent over. I grabbed it and the fish was going out to deep water. The fight was on.”
After about a 15-minute battle, Snyder, with help from his son, pulled in a channel catfish that weighed 25 1/2 pounds and was 35 inches long. His bait was chicken liver.
“I was thinking this was a pretty decent sized fish, he said. “I wanted to make sure my net was prepared.”
After he reeled in the catfish, he took a photo of it to the ranger’s station and found out the previous record for a catfish was 17 pounds.
However, the fish he caught that day wasn’t the biggest he has caught.
“As a teenager, I caught a 28-29 pound fish in San Bernardino County,” Snyder said.
Snyder says he tries to go fishing every chance he gets.
“When I’m not working, I’m fishing,” he said. “I’ve fished the canals in Firebaugh, fished in Los Banos, fished the delta in Mendota. I fish for the hobby and fish for the food.”
As karma would have it, Snyder kept fishing that day and didn’t catch anything else.
“We didn’t even get any bites,” he said.
Normally, Snyder does well fishing and although he only caught one fish Dec. 3, it was still a pretty good day.
“Any time you take the family fishing is a good day.”