Girl’s record catfish sparks controversy; criticism appalls her mother

A 15-year-old girl landed what is being called the largest fish ever caught in Ohio, but the method used and whether it was a legal catch has created a huge debate.

Jaylynn Parker caught a 101-pound blue catfish that was weighed and certified as legal by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which deemed it as a state record for the biggest fish caught since record keeping began in the 1950s, as reported by WJW.

Parker caught the catfish on a creek near the Ohio River while fishing with her father Chuck Parker and family friend Jeff Sams on April 7.

The fish was caught on a jug line (a large jug is placed in the water and connected to a tied line with a hook and bait), which is a legal method in Ohio.

The problem is, there is not a separate record division for jug fishing, and many Ohioan anglers believe it should be its own category, not be part of the division that includes rod and reel catches.

Not only that, one commenter on Outdoor Writers of Ohio claimed that the jug line catch was not legal.

Joe Owens pointed out on the OWO Facebook page that the jug lines were unattended, saying the mother admitted as much in a social media post when stating, “she went out to check the jugs…”

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife states, in regards to jug fishing, that “floats must be freely adrift and be attended by the user at all times.”

Joe Owens also reposted a social media post that claims the teen and her father weren’t even on the property when the jug went down, indicating a fish on the line.

Jaylynn’s mother, Kristen Powell Parker, came out swinging, defending her daughter and the catch, and condemning the “nasty comments,” writing on the OWO Facebook page:

“No laws were ever broken. We did everything 100% by the books. Those jugs were never unattended where they’re at our friends place where he stays !!

“And we totally understand about the categories. We all agree there should be different categories, but unfortunately there’s not and that is not our fault.

“So many nasty comments and hate that is coming out of this just really disgust me the amount of grown men that have reached out and said horrible nasty things to my daughter who is 15 is disgusting.

“Just to let everybody know as soon as the fish was brought to the shore, the game wardens were called right away. Adams Clermont and Brown County showed up !!!”

Later she wrote, “No matter how this pans out my daughter has still caught the biggest blue out of the river regardless!!”

Bottom line is, the Ohio Division of Wildlife certified the catch as a state record. But it is generally agreed that it needs to make a separate category for jug-line catches.

“It’s so exciting,” Jaylnn told WJW about the record catch. “I want to inspire young people my age to know they can get out there and do and achieve what adults do or anyone.”

Story originally appeared on For The Win