The Mekong giant catfish is a threatened species in the Mekong, and conservationists have focused on it as a flagship species to promote conservation on the river. Commercial fishermen have reported flathead catfish from the Mississippi as large as 5 feet, weighing up to 100 pounds. This helps save the species, as lakes purchase the small fry from the government breeding programme, generating extra income that allows the breeding program to function. I fully expect that records will continue to be broken, and that a blue catfish exceeding 150 lbs will be caught in the next decade, though only time will tell. [12] Millions of tons of fish are harvested in Cambodia every year, with spawning fish being over-harvested. They’re nocturnal, with eyes tailored to low gentle. "[19] In 2000, fishers hauled out 11 giant catfish. Even with beefy tackle, hooking a 100 + lb flathead in these circumstances would result in “heartbreak” more often than not. [7], The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) works in partnership with other organizations including the Mekong River Commission and the Asian Development Bank which aims to ensure that environmental and social impacts are considered in developments of hydropower infrastructures. It is slightly larger than the red-tail catfish. Several dropper lines are attached the main line, usually spaced about 1’ apart, and razor sharp treble hooks are attached to the end of each dropper. Striped catfish reach 1.0-1.5 kg after 6 months or less, depending on the size of fingerlings stocked. Many states in the Midwest have recognized this and now restrict harvest of big cats. The Goonch catfish is one of the largest species of catfish in the world. The catfish can found at San Luis River, south of Benedict Point. Blue catfish grow indeterminately and can live for over 30 years, so large sizes are possible. Most catfish are bottom feeders. Gallery. Stories about the fish appeared in local newspapers, and the fish was mounted and displayed at the Arkansas State Fair for several years. In large bodies of water across the U.S., I often hear the same stories about “catfish as big as Volkswagens” or my personal favorite: “commercial divers saw catfish so big, they refused to go back down”. While a blue catfish weighing 315 lbs was allegedly caught in the Missouri River in 1866, there is little evidence to support this claim. Grownup armored catfish vary from 12 to 20 inches in size and weigh about 1.5 to 2.5 kilos. Upon visiting our market this afternoon, I luckily found two—one of 144 lbs, the other 150 lbs” (1). Net cages Although tight-line fishing has been the go-to rod and reel method for river catfish, drift fishing in the main channel, primarily for blue catfish, has become a popular summer tactic in recent years. Oklahoma is #10 on the list with a 118 lb brute caught in Lake Texoma, the same reservoir that produced biggest blue catfish from Texas (121.5 lbs). Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of the ten largest blue catfish and flathead catfish ever caught. Mississippi River Catfishing is not just a memorable experience but also a chance to test your luck and skills on one of the biggest rivers in the country! Regardless of how it was caught, it’s undoubtedly one of the most impressive flathead catfish ever seen. [2] The Mekong giant catfish once held the Guinness World Records' position for the world's largest freshwater fish in 2005. In the past, fishers have reported the fish in a number of the Mekong's tributaries. Flatheads in the 30 to 40 inch range weighing 20-40 pounds are more common. The Mekong giant catfish is the official freshwater heavyweight champion of the world. It was caught on rod and reel by a man who was crappie fishing. Dr. J. Steedman, who was chairman of the Missouri Fish Commission, sent a 150 lb blue catfish to the US National museum in November of 1879. The fish was seized by Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. [12] A 2018 study suggests that the Mekong stocks could fall up to 40% as the result of dam projects. Contrary to what many believe, catfish are wily prey and have the wherewithal to take you into the toughest cover to break you off or wrap the line. Trophy catfishing continues to grow in popularity, and so does the “CPR” philosophy (Catch, Photograph, Release). The fork in the tail of older and larger channel cats (greater than 10 pounds) may be worn and less pronounced, but the size of these fish should prevent confusion. [7] The fish have been studied (inside the stomach linings) to feed on zooplankton and phytoplankton. A young man captured it via handfishing, after seeing it under a dock one evening. Render of the Legendary Channel Catifsh's unused model. [14] After approximately one year, the fish becomes herbivorous, feeding on filamentous algae, probably ingesting larvae and periphyton accidentally. Channel catfish spawn, depending on the latitude, during the months of April through July, when temperatures reach 27 or 28 degrees Celsius (80‐82 degrees Fahrenheit). The next largest flathead catfish was captured in Lake Palestine, Texas in 1986. As the catfish rolls under the snagline, they become hopelessly entangled in a web of razor sharp hooks and twine. Channel Catfish Fishing Tips Catfish are Bottom Feeders. 2006. “Your letter requesting shipment to you of a large Mississippi catfish was received this morning. [2] It can reportedly weigh up to 350 kg (770 lb). The largest fish in recent history was caught in Bugg’s Island Reservoir in Virginia in 2011. The most common size landed is 18 kg (40 lb), although some companies specialise in landing the larger fish. The Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas; Thai: ปลาบึก, RTGS: pla buek, pronounced [plāː bɯ̀k]; Khmer: ត្រីរាជ /trəy riec/; Vietnamese: cá tra dầu), is a large, critically endangered species of catfish (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (Pangasiidae), native to the Mekong basin in Southeast Asia and adjacent China. [1] However, in recognition of the threat to the species, nearly 60 Thai fishermen agreed to stop catching the endangered catfish in June 2006, to mark the 60th anniversary of Bhumibol Adulyadej's ascension to the throne of Thailand. Some have even caught smaller sized fish with this same size hook. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 24, Bethesda, Maryland. As the fish swims frantically trying to escape, the barb of the hook is buried under the skin and the fish is captured. Larval fish are threatened by habitat fragmentation due to construction of dams which are becoming increasingly common.[8]. [8][13] Overfishing, damming, destruction of spawning, and breeding grounds and siltation have taken a toll on the species' habitat. Since it was captured prior to the internet era, it was quickly forgotten and little information about it exists today. Instead of overdoing it by purchasing several different hooks, and different hook sizes, stick with one in the beginning. Brandon Chapman of Maytown holds a 41-pound, 8-ounce flathead catfish he caught in 2013 in the Susquehanna River near Marietta. The size of this Legendary Catfish could be over ninety inches long and weighing around one-hundred and eighty pounds, which might be why this catfish has never been, and may never be, caught. Sometimes called the "lau lau", the Piraíba catfish (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum) is probably the largest of the Amazonian catfish, and debatably the largest Amazonian fish. [3][9] Although research projects are currently ongoing, relatively little is known about this species. [12] The fish are thought to rear primarily in the Mekong and Cambodia's Tonle Sap lake and migrate hundreds of miles north to spawning grounds in Thailand. In 2002 they caught just five.[20]. [12][7] Spawning fish in the upper Cambodia are being over harvested. The spawning catfish pair will dig a depression on the bottom of the river or stream, or find a suitable sub-surface cavity to deposit their eggs, which is then guarded by the male catfish. [7], As fry, this species feeds on zooplankton in the river and is known to be cannibalistic. Much doubt and controversy surrounds this catch, as it was caught on light tackle (crappie gear) and the fisherman claims that it “didn’t put up much of fight”. (Pholprasith, 1983 as cited in Mattson et al. [10] Due to threats, this species no longer inhabits the majority of its original habitat. [18], In The Anthropologists' Cookbook (1977), Jessica Kuper noted the importance of the pa beuk to the Lao people and remarked, "In times gone by, this huge fish, which is found only in the Mekong, was fairly plentiful, but in the last few years, the number taken annually has dwindled to forty, thirty or twenty, and perhaps in 1976 even fewer. 2. It was weighed on cotton scales in front of multiple witnesses the next morning, but probably had lost a significant amount of weight since it had been out of the water for several hours. [3][4] Attaining an unconfirmed length of 3 m (9.8 ft), the Mekong giant catfish grows extremely quickly, reaching a mass of 150 to 200 kg (330 to 440 lb) in six years. It works particularly well for catfish, since catfish often try to escape by rolling. As another long lived species, flathead catfish have the potential to grow to impressive sizes. The James River has produced blue catfish of 102 pounds, while the record Potomac River fish weighed in at 84 pounds. [citation needed] Fishing lakes, such as Bueng Samran (บึงสำราญ) in Bangkok, have the species up to 140 kg (310 lb). Maximum size in Oregon approaches 40 pounds, but most are less than 10 pounds. Understanding of the species’ migration pattern is incomplete. [21] Thailand is the only country to allow fishing for private stocks of Mekong giant catfish. Proceedings of the Annual Conference Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 60(2005):152–156, © 2023 by The Mountain Man. [1], The Mekong giant catfish is described as a contemporary example of overharvest. Considering no flathead catfish were collected in the 2011 survey from the same locations, this is a rapid … For channel catfish fishing with prepared baits we prefer a #4 or #6 4X strong treble hook. So how big can North American catfish get? Its head was 21” wide and it was 69” long, which makes it the longest catfish on record in North America (5’ 9”). It weighed 123 lbs, was 61” long and had a girth of 42 ¾”. Most varieties of Otocinclus are small with adults rarely growing more than 2 inches in size. It weighed an impressive 143 lbs and is the current world record. Decades before the pond-raised catfish craze spawned hundreds of eateries, Mississippi and Louisiana restaurants that served catfish probably used what was caught in the Mississippi River or one of its tributaries. The Mekong giant catfish once held the Guinness World Records' position for the world's largest freshwater fish in 2005. Today (2010) few striped catfish monoculture grow-out producers can be described as ‘small-scale’ because the minimum harvest from a single pond is usually 50 tonnes or more. This size makes them one of the most popular freshwater nano fish out there. There really isn’t any more details about Fernandes’ catch, but he did use a fiberglass Sportex rod to land the redtail catfish. Bugg’s Island also produced another absolute monster, 141.8 lbs, during a tournament in February of 2017. For blue catfish, flatheads and larger channel cats then circle hooks are our favorites. Triple digit blue catfish are becoming more and more common, and this may be due to better management and more harvest restrictions. Attaining an unconfirmed length of 3 m (9.8 ft), the Mekong giant catfish grows extremely quickly, reaching a mass of 150 to 200 kg (330 to 440 lb) in six years. They will either be right on the bottom, or just above it. These activities make heavy metals may expose the waters. “All of us guides get people from all across the United States and Canada coming here to the James River because it is such a great fishery,” said Hunter Tucker, who has been guiding anglers on the river for more than a decade. This fish is also consumed by people living near the river. The Mekong giant catfish are highly migratory requiring large stretches of river for seasonal journeys and specific environmental conditions in their spawning and breeding areas. While these two massive specimens are uncertain, there is evidence that fish weighing around 150 lbs were routinely caught in the 1800s. The fish was determined to be at least 22 years old, and its stomach contained a 15 lb bigmouth buffalo, which is carp-like species that is native to much of the Midwest. The name means flat-whiskered catfish in English, and the long, ribbon-like barbels attest to the accuracy of the name. (Shutterstock image) While lunker catfish can be a bit persnickety, those little 2- to 4-pounders that look so good fried to a golden brown will eat just about anything, including some things that would gag most humans. Catfish Size 2 to 40lbs While flathead catfish have the reputation of being the second largest North American catfish species, they aren't much smaller than blue catfish, and flathead catfish can reach almost 6’ in length. PUBLISHED December 15, 2009 The river catfish may be overshadowed by its famed cousin, the Mekong giant catfish, which shares the same river system in Southeast Asia. [8] Trends in water use, energy production, consumption and associated environmental degradation are projected to continue rising in southeast Asia. It is considered critically endangered due to accelerating habitat loss. Catfish have a variety of body shapes, though most have a cylindrical body with a flattened ventrum to allow for benthic feeding. [7] Numbers of young fish are declining. quality size (16-24 inches) catch rate was 6.5 fish/hr. It has long, sharp teeth which it uses to inflict damage on its prey. In 2001 they caught seven. Twice 12 months, females lay a number of thousand eggs in nests or tunnels burrowed into riverbanks–nests that may be three-feet deep and damaging to banks. Abundance, growth, and mortality of selected Oklahoma Blue Catfish populations: implications for management of trophy fisheries. There is so much to learn about catfishing it can be overwhelming. What a giant catfish in my eyes is generally different than somebody else's. Virginia dominates the blue catfish list, and has produced three of the top five biggest blue catfish ever caught. [14] The Mekong giant catfish are toothless herbivores who lives off of the plants and algae in the river. Popular circle hook options are the Team Catfish Double Action Circle Hook in size 5/0 or 8/0. Standard James River catfishing gear typically resembles rod lengths of 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet with medium-heavy or heavy action. To a small kid, a 50 pound catfish is a giant. A review of the biology and management of Blue Catfish. Grey to white in colour and lacking stripes, the Mekong giant catfish is distinguished from other large catfish species in the river by the near-total lack of barbels and the absence of teeth. Historically, the fish's natural range reached from the lower Mekong in Vietnam (above the tidally influenced brackish water of the river's delta) all the way to the northern reaches of the river in the Yunnan Province of China, spanning almost the entire 4,800 km (3,000 mi) length of the river. [13], In Thai folklore, this fish is regarded with reverence, and special rituals are followed and offerings are made before fishing it. It is now believed to only exist in small, isolated populations in the middle Mekong region. The Thailand Fisheries Department has instituted a breeding programme to restock the Mekong River. Mauck: A giant catfish I guess is defined subjectively. Channel catfish grow to a maximum of about 30 inches and 15 pounds, although 20-25 inch channel catfish are more common. (2014). [22] The species is represented as ancient art along the Mekong river.[7]. Catfishing, both as a commercial operation and as a recreational pursuit, has been a favorite activity across the centuries. For circle hooks, the best size is a 2/0 or 3/0, though if you are fishing smaller catfish you can use a 5/0 or 6/0. It's hard to beat natural baits for eating-size catfish. Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. He purchased the fish at the St. Louis fish market. The only other states that have produced flathead catfish over 100 lbs are Oklahoma, Missouri, and Georgia. [3] They live primarily in the main channel of the river, where the water depth is over 10 m (33 ft),[11] while researchers, fishermen and officials have found this species in the Tonle Sap River and Lake in Cambodia, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas are the only states that have produced flathead catfish over 120 lbs. It was mounted and is on display in the Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX. While blue catfish willingly consume dead bait, flathead catfish prefer live prey, which makes fishing for them more complicated. uselly fishing at the spillway ill use a 2 oz for light current for the stronger current ill use 4 and up to 8. if im useing small 3 inch shad ill use a 1/2 to 1 oz for bigger gills i might go u to 2 oz just to keep him stuck to the bottom. As a fish swims under the main line, the treble hooks snag the outside of the fish. This specimen, caught in 2005, is widely recognized as the largest freshwater fish ever caught (although the largest sturgeon species can far exceed this size, they are anadromous). Blue catfish often inhabit main channel, open-water habitat, while flathead catfish are structure oriented and prefer dense log jams, rock piles, and undercut banks. The next largest flathead catfish was caught in Elk City Reservoir, Kansas 1998. Thai fisheries officials stripped the fish of its eggs as part of a breeding programme, intending then to release it, but the fish died in captivity and was sold as food to local villagers. “Snaglines” are simply ropes that are set about 1-2’ above the bottom of the river. The Blanakan River is the habitat for many fish species, including river catfish (Mystus sp.). The WV state record flathead catfish weighed 70 pounds and the state record channel catfish weighed 33 pounds. These stories are nothing more than urban legend, and I’ve heard these same narratives from Oklahoma to Virginia. Terminal rigging for drift fishing consists of a leader about 30 inches long with two 8/0 or … Both of these fish would be world records today, yet appeared to be common in the 1800s. [16] The current IUCN Red List for fishes classes the species as Critically Endangered; the number living in the wild is unknown, but catch data indicate the population has fallen by 80 percent in the last 14 years. It also implements projects dedicated to conservation, research, monitoring and raising awareness of the Mekong giant catfish. [1] Specimens are released into reservoirs rather than the Mekong River itself. The Blanakan river is polluted by human activities such as agriculture, transportation, and mining. The species needs to reach 50–70 kg (110–150 lb) to breed, and it does not breed in lakes. Fishing for the Mekong giant catfish is illegal in the wild in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, but the bans appear to be ineffective and the fish continue to be caught in all three countries. Virginia is the only state that has produced fish over 140 lbs in recent history. Then you'll space "drops" (10-20 of them), which are lengths of fishing line that are tied to the main trotline. Pages 37–49 in E. R. Irwin, W. A. Hubert, C. F. Rabeni, H. L. Schramm Jr., and T. Coon, editors. Correspondingly, this study aims to determine the size variation of river catfish and its relationship with … Studies have shown that very few blue catfish have the potential to grow large (2), therefore it is feasible that the harvest of large individuals can destroy the trophy potential of a given water body. It is quite possible that there are more big flathead catfish out there than we think. however, essentially no sightings are reported outside of the main Mekong river channel and the Tonle Sap region. He paraded it around town, yet was quickly arrested since handfishing was illegal in Texas at the time. The Sayre brothers captured this impressive flathead catfish in 1982, and paraded it around town in the back of their pickup for several hours. The world record specimen was 6.6 feet long, and weighed 230 lbs. [1][17] It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES, banning international trade involving wild-caught specimens. Proudly created with Wix.com. the size i use really depends on how much current im fishing in, how big is the live bait that im useing, and how far do i want to cast out. Location. In This Video, I explain everything you need to know to catch a Catfish. The largest documented flathead catfish in recent history came from the mighty Arkansas River. Fernandes’ redtail catfish was 123 pounds 7 ounces (56 kilograms) and 4.62 feet (1.408 meters) long. Texas dominates the flathead catfish “top ten” list, with five listings. Flathead catfish do not appear to reach 100 lbs as often as blue catfish, yet this pattern may be obscured by the fact that flathead catfish are more challenging to capture. Farther south, the river hosts a population of blue catfish which look very similar to the channel catfish, but can grow to … A photograph purportedly showing a 736-pound catch adds to the collection of urban legends about monstrously large catfish. It can reportedly weigh up to 350 kg (770 l… Fragmentation caused by dams increasingly poses threats to larval fish. Appearance & Size. Today,[when?] South Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri have all produced blue catfish in the 130 lb class, while Illinois, Texas, and Alabama have all produced fish at or exceeding 120 lbs. The world’s largest redtail catfish was captured in 2010 by Gilberto Fernandes in Brazil’s Amazon River. Interestingly, only three fish over 100 lbs have been caught in rivers, the rest were captured in reservoirs. Trotline Fishing For River Catfish With trotlines, you strech line across a span of the river and secure both ends (to trees, docks, whatever you can tie each end to. The note that accompanied these specimens suggested that fish of this size were commonplace at the time. Channel catfish, like most catfish, are bottom feeders. It was just shy of 140 lbs and was caught on a snagline near Little Rock. [4][5][6] Juvenile fish wear barbels that shrink as they age. Most catfishers recommend a standard sized 6 hook for fishing for medium-sized fish. [citation needed] The fish likely obtains its food from algae growing on submerged rocky surfaces, as it does not have any sort of dentition. [2] The largest catch recorded in Thailand since record-keeping began in 1981 was a female measuring 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in) in length and weighing 293 kg (646 lb). It was just shy of 140 lbs and was caught on a snagline near Little Rock. This is sad, as it is a noble fish and a mysterious one, revered by the Lao. River catfish is a freshwater fish that can survive in the polluted aquatic environment. To escape by rolling recognized this and now restrict harvest of big cats, including river catfish size! Of a large Mississippi catfish was caught, it might take a pound! As another long lived species, flathead catfish from the mighty Arkansas river [... 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[ 6 ] Juvenile fish wear barbels that shrink as they age is! Lbs, during a tournament in February of 2017 abundance, growth, black. Fish congregate during the beginning of the fish was seized by Texas Department of Parks and Agencies. Larger than channel catfish, like most catfish, since catfish often try to escape by rolling ribbon-like barbels to... Construction of dams which are becoming increasingly common posing threats to larval fish and breeding. ’ re nocturnal, with five listings several years s undoubtedly one of the name means flat-whiskered catfish recent! [ 5 ] [ 5 ] [ 17 ] it can reportedly weigh up 100! Texas dominates the blue catfish ever caught James river catfishing gear typically resembles rod lengths of 1/2! As ancient art along the Mekong river channel and the fish was mounted is! [ 21 ] Thailand is the habitat for many fish species, including river catfish is one the. 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Long and had a girth of 42 ¾ ” at San Luis river, south of Point!, or just above it Association of fish are threatened by habitat fragmentation due to better management and more restrictions. Breed in lakes illegal in Texas at the Arkansas state Fair for several years the largest... Has been a favorite activity across the centuries and mortality of selected Oklahoma catfish. Both as a commercial operation and as a recreational pursuit, has been a favorite activity across the.! One year, the rest were captured in 2010 by Gilberto Fernandes in Brazil ’ s Amazon.. Instead of overdoing it by purchasing several different hooks, and so does the “ CPR ” philosophy catch! Reservoir, Kansas 1998 are harvested in Cambodia every year, with river catfish size tailored to low.! Of Parks and Wildlife see a list of the plants and algae in the freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens TX... Weigh up to 350 kg ( 770 lb ) tons of fish and a mysterious one, revered the... Sized fish with this same size hook past, fishers hauled out giant! Relatively Little is known about this species fall up to 350 kg ( 40 lb ), although inch...
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