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A fisherman in Texas caught a 64-pound fish earlier this year, which broke the record for the lake where he was fishing.
Cassady Douglas, 29, of Austin, Texas, broke the record for the largest smallmouth buffalo caught at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, in February of this year.
Douglas told Fox News Digital that he and a friend had been fishing at Lady Bird Lake for several hours without catching anything when finally, Douglas got a bite on one of his fishing rods.
“I realized it was a tremendously huge fish,” Douglas said of the moment after he made sure the fish was on his hook. “I didn’t know what kind of fish it was. I assumed it was a carp or catfish.”
Douglas said he knew right away that his catch would be a record-breaker.
“The fight was just so intense,” he said. “It was a very strong fish.”
Cassady Douglas, 29, of Austin, Texas, caught a 64-pound smallmouth buffalo in Lady Bird Lake in Austin earlier this year. (Cassady Douglas)
Though Douglas and his friend had been fishing from the shore of the lake, Douglas said he hopped onto his small jon boat and was pulled out onto the lake by the fish.
“It was about a 20-minute fight, reeling this thing up,” Douglas said.
“Then finally, I saw it, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is a smallmouth buffalo.’”
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Eventually, Douglas was able to net the fish and take it back to shore, where he weighed it and took some photos before releasing it back into the lake.
Then Douglas and his friend looked online to find the previous record — which Douglas said was about 61 pounds.
“It’s a really amazing feeling,” Douglas said of his catch. “I always read the water body records wherever I do fish.”
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Douglas, who’s been fishing his entire life, said he had been hoping to break a water body record for a while.
“To set a record for the largest fish recorded out of a water body in Texas, and especially have it be smallmouth buffalo, which is probably one of my favorite fish, is just an amazing feeling,” Douglas said. “It’s extraordinary.”
Douglas said he enjoys smallmouth buffalo so much because of how interesting they are.
“When you catch them, it’s a very, very, very strong fight,” Douglas said. “Once they’re in your hands, they’re really gentle. They’re like gentle giants.”
“They look kind of like cartoons,” Douglas added.
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Douglas applied to be recognized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Lady Bird Lake all-tackle records.
About a month and a half after he submitted his application, his name was added to the list as the angler who caught the largest smallmouth buffalo using a rod and reel.
The fish weighed 64 pounds, which beat the lake’s previous record of 61 pounds, Douglas told Fox News Digital. (Cassady Douglas)
Though Douglas does sometimes keep and eat the fish he catches, he primarily fishes for sport and highly values the “let-them-go, let-them-grow” mentality.
“[Fishing is] mostly just for the experience and the connection with nature,” Douglas said. “And connecting with the fish is so cool.”
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“Taking good care of [fish] and trying to promote proper fish care is really important for me,” Douglas said. “I see a lot of people mishandle fish and even if people release fish, they’ll see the fish swim away, but it doesn’t necessarily always live.”
“I’m going to try to target northern pike, so I think that might be the next big game fish that I go for,” said Douglas.
Douglas said one of the most important things to remember is to not touch fish with dry hands because they have a coating of slime that protects them against infections.
When he unhooks his fish, he uses a special mat and makes sure to pour water on the fish so it doesn’t get dry in the process.
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Now that Douglas has broken a record for smallmouth buffalo caught in Lady Bird Lake, he said he’s got new adventures ahead.
Douglas told Fox News Digital he’ll be moving to Colorado in about a month with the goal of learning how to become a river rafting guide.
Of course, he also plans to continue fishing. “I’m going to try to target northern pike, so I think that might be the next big game fish that I go for,” Douglas said.
Ann W. Schmidt is a lifestyle reporter and editor for Fox News Digital.