League Lines: Hooking a Whopper in West Virginia

West VA Mountaineer Chapter Catfish

West Virginia >> A relaxing afternoon of family fishing brought a big surprise for one young angler! Trish Thomason, Mountaineer Chapter secretary and newsletter editor, captured the moment.

Every year, the Mountaineer Chapter co-hosts a youth event with the Tygart Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). The Mountaineer Chapter’s 1,100-acre property — which includes a stocked pond, shooting ranges, and a stream that supports native brook trout — provides the setting for a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, shooting clays, animal identification, and art projects. The goal of the NWTF event, called JAKES Day (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics, and Sportsmanship), is to give kids the opportunity to experience the outdoors — a goal that the Mountaineer Chapter also works to achieve with a variety of events.

After spending a fun-filled day with more than 100 children, reports Thomason, IWLA and NWTF members gathered around the pond to relax and spend some time fishing. It wasn’t long before four-year-old Austin Teter — with the help of his grandma, Trish — reeled in the catch of the day. This catfish, which Thomason dubbed “Ole Whopper,” weighed approximately 10 pounds and measured 30 inches — almost as long as Austin is tall. When Thomason wanted to memorialize the moment, fellow Ike (and IWLA Executive Board member) Gary Meade had to hold the catfish up for the camera because Austin thought the fish was too scary. Fortunately for Austin, the fish quickly went back into the catch-and-release pond. Perhaps Austin and Ole Whopper will meet again some day.