Ive been fishing for channel cats with quite a bit of success for many years, but have only been targeting the big Potomac blues with cut and live bait for about a year. Ive boated a couple in the teens, and lost a rather large one late last season. On only my third real attempt this season at targeting big blues last Thursday night, I caught my PB. Im a rookie blue catter, and cant hold a candle to many of you guys, but here goes: Thursday was a very slow night on the river in the canoe to say the very least. My buddy and I caught only four fish between the two of us, two fish each. Conditions were not ideal, with the wind blowing out of the south at 10 to 15 MPH and a front coming through. We were live lining bluegills, and fishing frozen cut white perch and livers. We fished Smoots Bay, The Spoils above the Wilson Bridge, and ended up at Fox Ferry. We started fishing at about 6:30 PM, and I was skunked until about 9:45 when I managed to catch a 2 lb channel on livers at Fox Ferry. About 20 minutes after we got to the spoils, my buddys medium-heavy cat rod started to sing. We soon realized that he was onto something big, as the fish made several drag peeling runs. As soon as I spotted the huge fish adjacent to the boat, I easily slipped the trophy net under him ant he was boated. The fish weighed in at an impressive 19 pounds. The beast took a piece of the frozen cut white perch. He was released without incident. At the spoils at 10:05, we were literally ready to up anchor and call it a night when my Abu-Garcia Ambassador with the cut bluegill started to sing. The reel only sang for about five seconds and paused; it was not the classic continuous scream of a trophy fish on the line. My buddys 19-pounder made a much longer initial run. Thinking the fish might have spit the hook, I grabbed the rod and started to reel. There was not much slack, and I almost immediately felt resistance. Good I thought, I might end up the night with a half decent fish, perhaps a 5-pounder, 20 or so incher to end an otherwise lackluster evening. Applying the lesson from the backwaters of the Keys, I slowly lifted the rod tip as I reeled, as I was fishing a kahle hook. The line tightened up, and I could tell that he fish was not only firmly on, but he had some size to him. Perhaps I might catch my biggest of the year as a consolation prize, I thought. The fish swam towards the bottom, and then to the other side of the boat, leading me the whole way. It was on the other side of the boat that I felt the line go totally slack. Crap! I think I lost him! As I was taking in slack, out of the corner of my eye, about 20 feet off the other side of the boat, I saw the distinct tell tale sign of a biologically-induced, foot-high surge of water. I looked over to see, in the surge, a massive form. It was then that I realized that I had something big, very big, on my line. I got the rod back to the original side of the boat, and it was then that he made his first drag peeling run. Holy s---! I said aloud. Get that net ready!! My buddy, at that time, was un-fouling his newly brought in rig. The fish had managed to foul up literally every rig that we had out with the exception of the one that he was hooked on. I dont know how that fish managed to foul up everything else and not the rig that I he was hooked on, but I was not arguing. Get on that net and forget your rig! I dont want to lose another one (trophy cat)!! I snapped. My buddy quipped back Im almost finished, bear with me! The big fish made three or four drag screaming runs as my buddy was un-fouling his rig. My buddy readied the net in time for us to see the fish along side of the boat. He quickly slipped the net under the monster cat, then yelled Hes yours! I then let out the largest, longest scream of delight that Im sure was heard on the Alexandria waterfront. I figured that I had a fish easily in the teens, and more than likely a personal best. The whole fight lasted, Im guessing, about five to ten minutes, but its hard to tell, as the whole thing was a little surreal. I passed my buddy the camera, as he passed me the net with the trophy cat. As I lifted, or rather tried to lift the net, I first noticed the immense mass and length of this fish. It occurred to me then that I had a fish that was easily in the mid 20 lb range, and would be a personal best. With both hands firmly on the net, I carefully hoisted the monster aboard, being careful not to swamp the canoe in the process. The whole boat was trashed, and both of my other rigs were totally fouled. I didnt care, because at that time, I was the happiest man on Earth. I ignored the fouled rigs, and went to work on the fish as my buddy readied the camera. I was literally shaking as I lifted the huge cat for a weighing and some pictures. He tipped the scales at 37 pounds!! Thank you! Thank you!! I shouted as a couple pictures were snapped. I measured the fish at 40 inches exactly, trashing the ruler portion of my Bass Pro Shops de-liar in the process. I then set the brute back in the water. Still trembling, I then started to work on my fouled rigs for the next 15 minutes. My buddy finally said just cut em, and I realized that cutting was the way to go. By time I cut the lines, and we had put everything away, and upped anchor, it was 11 oclock. I enjoyed a victory cigar during the trip back to Belle Haven Marina, savoring my new personal best. By the time we had the boat loaded onto the truck, and were on the way home, it was 11:45. Once home, after putting away the gear, and rinsing the coolers, I immediately sat down and down loaded the pictures onto the computer. I took a shower, and was in bed by about 1:45 in the morning. This fish is the biggest freshwater fish I have landed to date outright, and is the heaviest non-shark species I have landed to date.