While most kindergarteners are learning their ABCs, counting to 20 and sounding out a few basic words, a 5-year-old North Carolina boy is already writing his name — into the International Game Fish Association’s record books.

Luke Harvell, of Lexington, caught a 28-pound, 8-ounce flathead catfish earlier this summer that was recently certified by the IGFA as the world record for that species in the 50-pound line class.

His dad, Ricky, had noticed the world record was less than 20 pounds, and he and his son specifically set out to try to break the record during a three-week span in July on High Rock Lake. 

“I saw that the 50-pound record was about 16 pounds, and that’s why we decided to fish for it,” Ricky Harvell said. “That’s what we were trying for.”

When the big fish bit about 1 a.m. on July 19, the elder Harvell filmed the whole battle, making sure not to give his son any assistance and violate IGFA rules.

“He was struggling because the drag was set too tight,” he said. “At one point, he was telling me that his back hurt, but I couldn’t touch the rod and help him.”

For the rest of this big fish story from our friends at NorthCarolinaSportsman.com — plus video of Luke’s unorthodox use of a spinning reel while fighting the record-breaking cat — click here.