SPANISH LAKE, Mo. – Joshua Jones Jr. is taking it all in after a recent midnight miracle on the Missouri River.
Just a few nights ago, Joshua reeled in a 108-pound catfish from the river near Spanish Lake. Inspired by a contest, and with support from his father, Joshua made new memories behind a once-in-a-lifetime catch.
The waters of the Missouri River near the Spanish Lake community sounded peaceful on Saturday afternoon. Around midnight on Wednesday, that wasn’t the case.
Joshua had dozed off after a big night of fishing out on the river. Suddenly, he felt something unique.
“I was sleeping when the fish got on, so it kind of woke me up,” said Joshua. “And then I felt the pull and drag, which really woke me up.”
It took about 20 minutes of fighting the line, but backed by two others, Joshua was able to reel in a monster-sized catfish and get it on the boat.
“It was pretty exciting, at first when I was fighting the fish,” said Joshua.
He developed his passion and fishing skills through a bond with his father Joshua Jones Sr. The two have spent countless hours out on the water.
“I had him on the bank before he could walk, trying to catch bluegills,” said Joshua Sr.
A love for angling is something Joshua Sr. learned from his father, driving his inspiration to teach his own two sons.
“I couldn’t wait to have a boy to take out with me and fish and be my best friend out on the river,” said Joshua Sr.
A best friend, also ready to battle the bite. “Take your time. Take your time. Take your time,” said Joshua Sr. recalls telling his son as they worked to tire the fish on a huge hook.
Joshua Jr. recalls several instances where he had to grab the catfish with his own hand, guiding it in the right direction. After grueling minutes of toggling with the finishing rod, it was the crew who conquered the catfish.
“He was determined and always told me, ‘I’m going to catch the record. I want to catch a 100-pound fish, and he caught it,” said Joshua Sr.
“It’s a monster! It’s a monster!” both said in a video they recorded of the encounter. When the realization kicked in for both of them, you could see the process of reeling in the catfish and the excitement in the video.
What did young Joshua do with his big catch? He took a photo with it, then released it in hopes of entering it into a contest.
“We come out here to fish, but we also come out here to hunt for those big fish,” said Joshua Sr.
They were hoping for a $500 reward in a Mad Katz fishing contest. Joshua Jr. and his father thought they’d be making history, and getting a few extra bucks for their bait. Unfortunately, they were disqualified due to a rule violation.
“A lot of guys search for a fish like that for a long time,” said Joshua Sr.
The whole Jones family has caught countless catfish out on the Missouri waters, but they haven’t seen anything of this size before. Joshua Sr. realizes that no matter how big the catch, fishing is more about the connections.
“To get out here and experience such a thing, to throw a fishing rod, big fish, small fish, a lot of times, it doesn’t matter. Just love the experience itself,” he said.
According to CatfishEdge.com, the largest catfish ever caught in the Missouri River weighed 130 pounds. Greg Bernal caught the catfish in 2010 and it was a one-time world record.