Waverly's Paula Curtis Smith catches huge 69-pound catfish in the Tennessee River

Published Apr 7, 2:11pm

Paula Curtis Smith from Waverly, Tenn. hasn't allowed her battle with cancer to affect her fishing.

Smith, who has caught some huge catfish in the Tennessee River over the years, started finishing again recently while undergoing treatment following her diagnosis in October.

Over the weekend she hooked one her biggest catches:  a 69-pound blue catfish in the Tennessee River in Humphries County. 

Smith caught the big fish in about 45 feet of water using frozen cut skipjack as bait.

It took her about 10 minutes to get the fish in her boat. Smith released the fish after weighing it and snapping some photos.

Smith caught a 70-pound catfish last May before her diagnosis.

"No one should ever give up regardless of what they are facing," Smith said. 

Smith's goal is to catch a 100-pound catfish. She caught an 88-pounder in 2018. 

The Tennessee record blue catfish weighed 112 pounds, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. It was caught in 1998 by Robert Lewis in the Cumberland River. 

In 2019, Smith caught four catfish weighing at least 40 pounds.

Smith will return to competitive fishing April 28 in the SeaArk Owners Invitational Catfish Tournament at Ingalls Harbor on the Tennessee River in Decatur, Alabama.


From "Waverly's Paula Curtis Smith catches huge 69-pound catfish in the Tennessee River" by Mike Organ, The Tennessean