It’s official. The monster catfish Rodney Akey successfully battled on May 22 has shattered the 69-year-old Michigan state record set back in 1943. Akey caught the 45.7-inch, 49.8 pound cat on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County shortly after 8:00 p.m.

The Niles native told, “I’ve been fishing catfish on the St. Joseph River for the last 20 years, but it never crossed my mind that I would catch a state record. And beating a nearly 70-year record – that’s a feat in itself!”

Akey was fishing from the shore utilizing an alewife for bait.

The previous record was set by Elmer Rayner on Aug. 6, 1943. His fish weighed 47.5 pounds and measured 44 inches in length.