11-Year-Old Catches Biggest Fish Of His Life

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Single-handedly landing a 38-pound flathead catfish is a thrill 11-year-old Chazz Klabbatz won't soon forget.

"He was really excited," said his father, Rocky. "It's the biggest (fish) he's ever caught."

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Single-handedly landing a 38-pound flathead catfish is a thrill 11-year-old Chazz Klabbatz won't soon forget.

The 11-year-old Rim Country Middle School student hooked the lunker around 12:30 p.m. June 23, while fishing the Tonto Creek end of Roosevelt Lake.

Using a bluegill as bait, Chazz reeled in the fish without help from his father or sister, Sydnee, who was also along on the family outing.

The huge catfish was not the only one taken out of Roosevelt.

In September 2006, Juan and Carmen Martinez, who were camping and fishing about 300 feet below the Diversion Dam, landed a pair of flatheads.

The first, caught about 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19, tipped the scales at 45 pounds, 14 ounces.

The second catfish -- caught during the evening hours the following day -- weighed 35 pounds.

Both fish were hooked using bluegill as bait.

"They are the biggest fish we've ever caught," Juan said at the time.

The bluegill bait Chazz and the Martinez couple used are usually the bait of choice among those fishing for catfish.

However, in using bluegill or sunfish at Roosevelt, they must be caught in the lake and not bought or imported.

"That's an Arizona (state) statute," said Dennis Pirch, Payson Roundup outdoor columnist.

Pirch, also the co-owner of the Tackle Box in Tonto Basin, tabbed both ends of the lake as good spots for catching catfish.

"The Salt River arm might be the best of the two," he said.

Catfish are found in most warm water lakes around Arizona, including some of the smaller ones.

A 43-pound channel catfish was caught in the 270-surface acre Patagonia Lake in the southern part of the state.

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