38-pound catfish caught at Encanto Lake

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by Jason Volentine

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonvolentine

azfamily.com

Posted on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 19 at 1:20 PM

PHOENIX -- Don't be fooled by the calm waters of Encanto Lake. There are some big fish lurking beneath the surface.

One Valley man managed to catch a whopper Friday with nothing but a standard fishing rod.

Martin Maughan loves to fish. When he got something big on his reel, he initially thought it was a turtle.

"He turned and when he moved, you could see the water swell up, boil," Maughan said. "And at that point, I knew it wasn’t a turtle and it was a big fish."

A 37-and-a-half-inch long, 38-pound flathead catfish, to be exact.

"I set the hook and it was a lip catch," he added.

The battle to reel in the big fella took 40 minutes.

"I never saw him but I saw the water swirl," he said. "And then he just turned around and ran."

He held onto the fish with nothing but a four-pound fishing line, which Maughan attributed to “pure luck.”  His aluminum net was not so lucky, snapping at the base, but the fisherman emerged victorious.

"Oh, I yelled, 'Yes!' " he said. "Oh yeah, accomplishment there."

Maughan has made the record book before. In 2002, he won Urban Fish of the Year for a 26-pounder.

He doesn’t use weights and baits the fish with nothing but half of a Bar S hot dog.

While the catch doesn’t compare with the Arizona all-time record, a 76-pounder pulled out of Bartlett Lake outside of Scottsdale, this big catfish is now the best fish story of Maughan’s life.

He knows exactly what he’ll be doing with all 38 pounds.

"We’re going to eat him," Maughan said. "I’m going to share with all the neighbors."

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