Justin Johnston was out fishing for big catfish on the Tennessee River, like he spends much of his spare time doing, when he hooked a fish he wasn’t expecting. His rod tip does its usual set of jerks, indicating that he has a fish on the line. He thinks it’s another catfish as he takes it out of the rod holder. But when he begins to reel it in, the fish takes off.
You can hear the befuddlement in Johnston’s voice as he describes the fish’s erratic movements as it fights on the line. After letting it run a bit longer, though, he figures it out.
“That’s a striper, y’all,” you can hear him say, “That explains why he hit it kind of funny. And why he just all of a sudden took off.”
After another couple minutes (or possibly much longer, as the video cuts), he gets the fish up to the side of the boat. Johnston has to stand just to haul the striper in the boat, and even then it takes him a couple tries to heft it up and over the side. You can hear he’s a bit out of breath as he exclaims over the size of the fish he’s just caught.
Even still, Johnston explains the fish didn’t fight nearly as hard as you would expect a fish of that size to. All in all, the striper is over 41 inches long. Or as Johnston puts it, “That there’s a whopper.”
Johnston has a popular YouTube channel called Kayak Catfish, where he publishes his self-made kayak fishing videos, largely targeting catfish on the Tennessee River. His current boat is a Hobie Pro Angler 14.
Skip to 10:02 to watch him hook the striper. Or watch the entire video to see all his catches for the day!
After his catch, Johnston summarizes the experience kayak anglers often have out on the water: “That was not the fish I’m out here to get today. But that was a good time.”