Story at a glance

  • A Connecticut man shattered state records when he hooked a massive white catfish in late August.
  • Twenty-five-year-old Ben Ben Tomkunas caught the 21.3-pound behemoth while fishing on a friend’s dock.
  • Tomkunas submitted the information to The International Game Fish Association to see if his fish beats the current world record.

A Connecticut man shattered state records when he hooked a massive white catfish in late August, and he is awaiting results to see if his monster catch breaks the world record weight. 

Twenty-five-year-old Ben Ben Tomkunas caught the 21.3 pound behemoth in late August -- a catch that easily surpassed the previous state record of 12.7 pounds. Tomkunas submitted the information to The International Game Fish Association to see if his fish beats the current world record holder’s 19 pound, 5 ounce catch, The Hartford Courant reported


“We were just sitting back and drinking a couple of beers and next thing you know, my reel just starts screaming like I had a 30-pound striper on there,” he said, referring to the moment that occurred during an outing at his friend’s dock on Coventry Lake Aug. 21. 


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Connecticut Fish and Wildlife confirmed the record-breaking catch, which was initially weighed on Tomkunas’s friend’s personal scale, in a Facebook post, adding that the confirmation was a bit tricky given the similarities between certain species of fish. 

“Congrats to Ben Tomkunas who shattered the former CT state record ( 12.75 pounds) for the White Catfish with this 21.3 pound monster from Coventry Lake,” the agency wrote. “This was a tough one to verify as Channel Cats and White Cats, especially when so large, look very similar.”


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But now the evidence is gone, as the catch soon turned into a meal. 

“I gave it to my grandpa the next morning,” Tomkunas told The Hartford Courant. “It kind of got eaten.”


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Published on Sep 16, 2021