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Angler reels in Arizona’s heaviest recorded fish

PHOENIX — A Surprise angler has reeled in Arizona’s heaviest recorded fish.

State Game and Fish officials say 56-year-old Eddie “Flathead Ed” Wilcoxson was asleep on his 24-foot pontoon boat early Friday when a flathead catfish began taking drag at Bartlett Lake northwest of Phoenix.

About 35 minutes later, Wilcoxson boated what Game and Fish Department officials say is a nearly 77-pound flathead catfish.

It measured more than 53 inches in total length with a nearly 35-inch girth.

Officials say it’s the heaviest recorded fish of any species in state history, topping the 74-pound flathead catfish caught in 1988 out of the Colorado River,

Wilcoxson’s flathead beat the previous inland waters state record set in 2003 with a nearly 72-pound fathead caught at San Carlos Lake.