Albany -- What would you do if you caught a fish that weighs almost as much as you do? One Lee County fisherman decided to donate his prize catch to the Flint RiverQuarium. And they say they are proud to have a prize new display.
Even at five years old, Harrison Spurlin is like all anglers, proud to show his big catch. Harrison Spurlin said "now you are going to see the humongous catfish." A 30 pound channel catfish, caught in Lake Chehaw, along Lovers Lane Road.
Harrison said "I call him Mr. Whiskers, because he has long whiskers. he is humongous." Last week the 50 pound pre-K student went down to check the pole he left out overnight. Father Jeff Spurlin said "I heard blood curdling screams, and I knew it wasn't happy."
The fish was threatening to pull Harrison into the water. Father Jeff Spurlin said "He was pulling, and Harrison was up on his tip toes. I netted him the first time, and tried to pull him up and the net broke."
After landing Mr. Whiskers, Harrison wanted to keep him alive for everyone to see. The Flint RiverQuarium was proud to have him. RiverQuarium Senior Aquarist John Magyar said "If we can get a specimen that's really large, we can showcase how that reflects on how the river looks."
Tuesday morning Harrison and his Dad brought Mr. Whiskers to his new home. With Harrison keeping a close watch as he is acclimated. Harrison asks "what kind of water is that in there."
Magyar said "Mr. Whiskers will go through a period of quarantine, which is standard. About 30 days. He will receive treatments as needed, just to make sure he is parasite free. And then he will go on from there into the blue hole, the main exhibit here at the aquarium."
Harrison says "And there is your catfish." Harrison is sure Mr. Whiskers will thrive here. "I want him to have friends."
Mr. Whiskers may live 15 more years in the RiverQuarium, and get much larger. Harrison will be keeping a close watch. Harrison said "Well, I don't want to forget him. All these catfish, he'll get confused."
The next time you are at the Flint Riverquarium, check out Mr. Whiskers, the big channel cat, donated by an accomplished little angler.
Harrison Spurlin and his father are headed to the ocean this weekend, to try to catch an even bigger fish.