Ohio teen pulls in 'massive' 101-pound blue catfish setting new state record

Jaylynn Parker, 15, pulled in a 101.11-pound blue catfish from the backwaters of the Ohio River, setting a new state record.

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio Most 15-year-olds eagerly await the day they get their driver’s license, but Jaylynn Parker was more anxious to learn if the 101-pound blue catfish she caught on a jugline earlier this month set a new Ohio state record.

On April 7, the high school sophomore from New Richmond pulled in a record-setting blue cat from the backwaters of the Ohio River while jugline fishing with her dad and a family friend. 

While the father and daughter normally enjoy rod and reel fishing, the weather provided the perfect conditions for jugline fishing on that Sunday. Jaylynn explained they only jugline a few times a year when the creeks off the Ohio River swell from rain. The pair also always catch and release their fish instead of taking them home for supper.

"When we see that there are going to be a lot of rain that week, me and my dad are always on checking how high the river is going to be and if it's just right for us to put our jugs out," Jaylynn said. 

Still, the 15-year-old said she wasn't expecting a lot when they got in a small boat to check the lines that afternoon. When she tried to pull up one of the jugs, whatever was on the other end was pulling really hard. A nearly boat-flipping struggle ensued as Jaylynn and her father’s friend, Jeff, tried to get the fish out of the water.

"I pulled him up, and I saw the top of him, and I started yelling, and I was like, ‘Jeff, this is a really big fish!’" Jaylynn recalled.

After about 10 minutes of running on pure adrenaline, she gave the fish one more pull, and he was up on the boat. 

"When that fish rolled to its side, it was just massive," Jaylynn said. "I’m still at a loss for words."

The Parkers kept the massive blue cat in a bait tank submerged in a lake on their property until they could bring it in to be measured, weighed, and examined by three Ohio game wardens the next day. The wardens also checked their fishing licenses and jugline rigs.

The fish weighed 101.11 pounds and measured 56 inches long. 

The family submitted an Ohio record fish application to the Outdoor Writers of Ohio (OWO), which maintains the state’s official angling records. 


‘There is no controversy’

After the massive catch, there was a lot of social media attention from the angling community. Jaylynn's mom, Kristen Parker, said her teen daughter was subject to many "nasty messages," and they had to shut down Jaylynn’s Facebook messages.

"This is a 15-year-old girl who would rather spend her time out enjoying the outdoors and stuff than on an iPad or on TikTok or on her phone," Kristen Parker said. "I just wish people would realize, (and) give the girl a break."

OWO Record Fish Committee Chair Fred Snyder told FOX Weather via email, "There is no controversy on the legality of the catch – it was legal."

On Saturday, the OWO Fish Committee certified Jaylynn's blue cat as a new Ohio record.

The Ohio fish record rules require an Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist to examine the fish. The Ohio game wardens sent photos of the catfish to state biologists, and the fish was released back into the water where it was caught.

"We released him where we caught him. We wanted him to go back where he came from," Kristen Parker said.

According to the Ohio State Record Fish List, this could be the largest fish caught in state history. The previous blue catfish record was 96 pounds, set in 2009. 

Fishing: ‘It’s their thing'

While the massive catch was rare, heading out for a day of fishing with her dad was not. Jaylynn’s mom said they've bonded over fishing since her daughter was a toddler.

"This little girl would wake up by herself and be dressed and ready to go at 5 a.m. and with her dad," Kristen Parker said. "Still to this day, every single time he goes fishing, she is the first person that he goes to. He always asks her first before any of his friends or anything like that. It’s their thing together. It's so special."


The father-daughter angling duo is using this incredible experience to start using social media to talk about their fishing adventures. You can find them on TikTok and Instagram

The fame of her 101-pound catch hasn’t gone to her head, either. Jaylynn's call with FOX Weather was about her 20th interview about the now-famous blue cat this month. The teen is maintaining good grades and working toward getting her license this summer, but most of all, she wants to go fishing. 

"I think the older that I get, the more I love it because it's just so relaxing, and with fishing, you never know what you're going to catch. So, it's always a surprise when you do get a bite," she said. "It's just super exciting and relaxing to me."

Hours after learning her catch was a new state record, she was back out fishing with her dad.