Lake Monsters! The 10 Biggest Trophy Fish ever Caught in Alabama

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: October 10, 2022
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Can you believe that Alabama Anglers hold three World Records, not just the biggest fish in Alabama, but in the world! There are also seven state record-breaking fish that weigh more than 50 lbs.! Let’s take a look at some of these Lake (and River) Monsters! Let’s look at 10 of the Biggest Trophy Fish ever Caught in Alabama.

Bluegill Sunfish 4 lbs. 12 oz.

seven to sixteen inches long
T.S. Hudson holds the WORLD RECORD for the biggest Bluegill Sunfish. His catch was 4 lbs. 12 oz.!

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Bluegills in general are not typically a fish you would mount, but if you hold the world record for the largest Bluegill ever caught you might. The All-Tackle World Record Bluegill was 4 lbs. 12 oz. and caught in Ketona Lake in Birmingham, AL. T.S. Hudson from Birmingham reeled it in on April 9, 1950 and the record still stands.

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Silver Redhorse 14 lbs. 14 oz.

River Redhorse Sucker Fish
The WORLD RECORD Silver Redhorse was caught along the Tennessee River by the Wilson dam in Alabama. It weighed 14 lbs. 14 oz.

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An average Silver Redhorse weighs around 4 pounds but one caught in Alabama holds the world record. A Silver Redhorse is a medium-bodied sucker fish, preferring swift rivers. The National Freshwater Fish Hall of Fame record Silver Redhorse weighed 14 lbs. 14 oz. Chris Stephenson caught it in the tailwaters of the Wilson Dam along the Tennessee River. The record was set back on April 24, 1995.

Paddlefish 52 lbs. 12 oz.

The American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)
The strange looking Paddlefish can get to be 4-6 feet long (including its snout). The biggest Paddlefish in Alabama was 52 lbs. 12 oz.

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Paddlefish are certainly unique looking fish. This fish gets upwards of 50 pounds in size. Paddlefish have a shark-like body but have a long flat snout at the front of their head. They can get to be 4-6 feet long (including their long paddle snout which can be a third of their body.) A paddlefish is currently a protected species and you must release them. The largest paddlefish ever caught in Alabama was a 52 lbs. 12 oz. one also pulled from the tailwaters of the Wilson Dam. Susan Holland reeled it in back on March 18, 1982.

Buffalo 57 lbs.

Guntersville Lake Alabama
Guntersville Lake in Alabama has several record-breaking fish from it.

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Buffalo are a popular fish for anglers and can get to be 2-3 feet long. The largest Buffalo in Alabama was caught in the Guntersville Reservoir by Ralph B. Lowery. This reservoir is in northeastern Alabama on the Tennessee River a creation of the Guntersville Dam. Another one of these made our top 10, stay tuned it is coming up on this list.

Striped Bass 69 lbs. 9 oz.

Here is our third World Record breaker! The All-Tackle World Record for Striped Bass (landlocked) goes to a 69 lbs. 9 oz. bass caught by James Bramlett on February 28, 2013. He broke the old Alabama record by 14 pounds. The previous record is Charles Totty with a 55-pounder. James caught it in north-central Alabama on the Black Warrior River near the Gorgas Steam plant.

Grass Carp 73 lbs.

grass carp
Grass carp can get surprisingly big. The biggest Grass Carp caught in Alabama was 73 lbs.

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The biggest trophy Grass Carp is the other record breaker from the Guntersville Reservoir. It weighed 73 lbs.! Two other record breaking fish are from the Guntersville, the biggest Yellow Bass at 2 lbs. 8 oz. and the biggest White Crappie (tied the record) at 4 lbs. oz. Back to the biggest Grass Carp, the record holder is Bradley D. Bridges, Sr. from Bryant, AL. He set the record on April 10, 2012.

Flathead Catfish 80 lbs.

Flathead Catfish
Flathead Catfish can get to be 60 lbs or more. The biggest flathead caught in Alabama was caught by Rick Connor who pulled it from the Alabama River.

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Ready for some southern fried catfish? Flatheads are smaller than Blue catfish but larger than the channel cats. The biggest flathead is not a lake monster but a river monster pulled from the Alabama River, near Selma. Rick Connor who is from Selma, caught this record breaking fish on June 22, 1986. It weighed a whopping 80 lbs.! His flathead was twice as big as the record Channel Catfish, a 40 lbs. snagged by Donald R. Cox back in the summer of ’67.

Blue Catfish 120 lbs. 4 oz.

Blue Catfish
One of the 10 biggest trophy fish ever caught in Alabama is the 120 lbs. 4 oz Blue Catfish caught by John Paul Nichols.

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Blue catfish are the biggest catfish in the United States. The biggest Blue cat caught in Alabama was 120 lbs. 4 oz., by John Paul Nichols of Northport, AL. He caught it on March 9, 2012 in the 3,296-acre Holt Reservoir which is a lake on the Black Warrior River. That is one of the biggest trophy fish ever caught in Alabama.

For reference, the biggest blue catfish ever caught in the world was 143 lbs, 23 pounds heavier than the Alabama record. This one was caught by Richard Nicholas Anderson on Kerr Lake in Buggs Island, Virginia. It was reeled in on June 18, 2011. The same catch also holds the record for the biggest fish caught on a 50lb line (Line Class World Records: Conventional Tackle).

Alligator Gar 151 lbs. 5 oz.

This spectacular Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) swims in the freshwater with sunlight rays shining on its body.
Alligator gars are some of the biggest freshwater fish. There is a tie for the biggest alligator gar in Alabama at 151 lbs.

©Cheng Wei/Shutterstock.com

The biggest fish ever caught in Alabama is the Alligator Gar. These long cylindrical fish can weigh more than a Saint Bernard! There is a tie for the largest Alligator Gar in Alabama. The rules state that, “To replace a record for a fish weighing 25 pounds or more, the replacement weight must be at least 0.5 % (0.005) more than the existing record. Examples: At 50 pounds, the additional weight required would be four (4) ounces; at 100 pounds the additional weight required would be eight (8) ounces.”

The first record was set on August 13, 2004 by Michael Houseknecht from Mobile, AL. He pulled a 151 lbs. 5 oz. Alligator Gar out of the Tensaw River! 151 pounds!!! Now that is a River Monster.

Alligator Gar 151 lbs. 9 oz.

This is the best fish tale and if it wasn’t verified by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources it would be hard to believe. The record for the biggest Alligator Gar was tied exactly 5 years later, to the day…and it was pulled from the same spot! On August 13, 2009, Richard Johnson from Bay Minette caught a 151 lbs. 9 oz. Gar from the Tensaw River. The Tensaw flows just NE of Mobile and empties into the Mobile Bay before entering the Gulf. Maybe you want to block off your calendar for the week of August 13 to see if this 14-year record can be broken.

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How many world records are held by Alabama fisherman?

Can you believe that Alabama Anglers hold three World Records, not just the biggest fish in Alabama, but in the world!

Which species of fish is currently protected and must be returned if caught?

A paddlefish is currently a protected species and you must release them. The largest paddlefish ever caught in Alabama was a 52 lbs. 12 oz. one also pulled from the tailwaters of the Wilson Dam. Susan Holland reeled it in back on March 18, 1982.

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