Eric Scordo credits the “catfish gods” for helping him break a couple of records.

The Watertown angler owns a world and New York state record for the largest channel catfish catch after his haul last month. Scordo landed his International Game Fish Association world record fish of 32.6 inches, or 83 centimeters, on May 18 on Lake Ontario near Chaumont Bay using cut bait.

Scordo said the fish gave him plenty of fight, but he was prepared for a lengthy encounter. He knew he had a big catch when he first hooked it.

“I could feel it when I hooked it and he fought really good,” Scordo said. “Once I got it in the net, I knew it was a 30-pounder.”

Scordo, who has been fishing since he was 12 years old, beat his own record with the catch. Scordo had to wait to certify the IGFA records because he needed the proper scale to document the catch. His state-record haul was larger at 35 pounds, 3 ounces and measured nearly 40 inches. However, he couldn’t get the IGFA world record because he did not have a certified measuring device. New York goes by weight and not length in determining its records.

Scordo releases all caught fish after measuring them. He reeled in a state-record fish in 2017 and hauls of this size are nothing new.

“I’ve been catching fish like that for a long time,” Scordo said.

He talks about the “catfish gods” in a twist on the “tuna gods” from the National Geographic Channel show Wicked Tuna. The show follows a crew of New England tuna fishermen that pray to the tuna gods for a great catch.

“I thank the catfish gods for everything,” Scordo said.

Scordo is charter boat captain for NNY Catfish Hunter Charters and said the eastern part of Lake Ontario boasts some great fishing. He said that he’s witnessed significant hauls on his boats.

“I’ve seen clients catch catfish up to 30 pounds,” Scordo said.

Scordo recently earned his United States Coast Guard license for captaining a tour boat during the summer. He said he’s lucky that fishing has given him so much.

“I’m very blessed that I could accomplish this and get my Coast Guard license,” he said.

Scordo is hoping that more fishermen will come to the area and try out Lake Ontario for a challenge. He has gotten plenty of business from out-of-state anglers.

“I’ve had people as far away as Pennsylvania and other states come here and they’re just blown away by the size of the fish,” Scordo said. “We’ve got some world class fishing in Lake Ontario.”

Channel catfish season has wrapped up, but Scordo still does bass fishing tours throughout the summer. He’ll start going after more record-breaking catfish next spring. He said breaking multiple records helps his business.

“Every time I break a record, it promotes my charter tours,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Reporter/Agate Person

A lifelong resident of Northern New York. Dan graduated from Lyme Central School and attended SUNY Oswego. He's worked in all forms of media, including radio and print. Dan covers hockey, wrestling, track and field, tennis, volleyball and golf.

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