Age of a flathead catfish???

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by cherokee laker, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. cherokee laker

    cherokee laker New Member

    Messages:
    87
    State:
    georgia
    I did a search, but I may not have done it correctly.

    Any idea what the approximate age of Carl's 83 pounder would be???
    I feel fairly confident that it varies according to diet, conditions......so on and so forth.

    Anybody got a good rule of thumb???

    Cherokee Laker
     
  2. STUMPKNOCKER

    STUMPKNOCKER New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    Georgia
    the biologist from waycross estimated him to be around 12 to 13 years old.
     

  3. Gone fishin 4 kittys

    Gone fishin 4 kittys New Member

    Messages:
    678
    State:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If that was only 12 or 13 years old, Most catfish live longer than that so you would think that there are some super big ones out there lurking!!

    Great fish bro!
     
  4. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    stumpknocker could you tell what the biologist was looking at to get the est. age of your fish? or was it just more of a guess? i ve heard of blues reaching a 100lbs by the age of ten but never heard anything on flats.
     
  5. dcaruthers

    dcaruthers New Member

    Messages:
    756
    State:
    Alabama
    No expert here but I read somewhere that the only true way to determine a catfish's age is by examination of a vertebra. The method is based on the fact that the vertebra grows each year by adding a layer of bone. The accumulated layers, which appear as growth rings, are counted to determine age. This is a proven method of age calculation for channel catfish and it probably will apply to flatheads.
     
  6. TIM HAGAN

    TIM HAGAN New Member

    Messages:
    1,236
    State:
    Walkersvil
    Well I have been told by Fisheries that the only way to get the right age of a fish is to take the two eye bones out of the head and count the rings in the bone. We have done some small fish here with fisheries and sames to be about right.
     
  7. STUMPKNOCKER

    STUMPKNOCKER New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    Georgia
    An excerpt from an article in gon magazine pay attention to the bold sentence By Lindsay Thomas Jr.Originally published in the May 2004 issue of GON

    "When you go to the Altamaha, however, don't let satisfaction be defined by catching a world record. Be contented to know that there are some truly mammoth fish under you, but remember that when you boat that 25-pounder you're going to feel like a world-record angler. That's the real story for fishermen: there is an excellent chance of catching fish up to the 30-lb. range almost anywhere in the river.

    "Our population levels are four to 10 times higher than in the native range of the flathead," said WRD fisheries biologist Rob Weller. "That's typical of an exotic or an introduced species. They either fail to thrive or they take over. Flatheads find the Altamaha a very agreeable place to live."

    Since being illegally introduced to the Altamaha system sometime in the 1970s, flatheads have exploded in numbers. Not only are populations of the fish more dense than in their native habitat, but the rate of growth of individual fish is much faster. A 40-lb. Altamaha flathead is a much younger fish than a 40-lb. flathead in native waters, so the potential for an Altamaha flathead to reach huge proportions before dying of old age is much greater.

    Currently, the expansion of the population has tapered off, mainly because the fish have colonized every corner of the entire river system that they can physically reach, including the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers. On the Altamaha, flatheads can be caught anywhere from the confluence of the Ocmulgee and Oconee, where the river begins, to tidewater, but fisheries personnel know that the density of flatheads increases the closer you get to the coast.

    "The stretch from Jesup to Altamaha Park contains the highest density of flatheads anywhere in the system," said biologist Don Harrison. "It's a bigger river down there, there's more water and more suitable habitat, which is deep holes with snags."

    Both Don and Rob witnessed the density of flatheads in that stretch last summer when they conducted an experimental removal of fish - to see if this method could reduce the flathead population enough to restore some of the traditional redbreast fishing - in an eight-mile stretch from the Rayonier pulp and paper mill at Jesup downriver, the first removal of fish conducted in the lower river.

    "There were two boats, one shocking and one netting," Rob said. "We were boating up to 1,500 pounds of fish an hour, and that was missing a pile of fish. You'd load the boat down until it couldn't move, and the fish were still there. Looking at the number of flatheads coming up, it was hard to believe there were any other species of fish in there."

    "That area had some whoppers," Donald said, "a lot of 30- and 40-pounders, especially in the mouth of Lake Bluff (see map). We started out there one morning and started nailing some big fish right off. We had a couple in the 60-lb. range that day."

    That removal may have put a small dent in the population in that stretch, but not for long. On the second day of the removal, the boats were still getting up to 900 pounds of fish in an hour. Since that time, when 9,000 pounds of fish were removed, the river has been at flood stage or higher for many months, and the population has no doubt recovered.

    Don said that there are no plans to repeat that removal, or to remove fish from an upper-Altamaha stretch that was hit two years ago. It has become obvious that a scatter-gun approach to removing flatheads, especially in the vast water of the lower river, is not effective. Instead, biologists are focusing removal efforts in a 37-mile stretch of the Ocmulgee river from Lumber City to Jacksonville. For three years, this stretch has been hit repeatedly with shocking boats, and it is estimated that 80 percent of the population has been taken out of that section. Removal will continue in that stretch, and DNR hopes this flathead-free zone can be expanded down to the confluence at the head of the Altamaha. It may be pockets like this where redbreast fishing will survive in the Altamaha system.

    Meanwhile, the Altamaha, especially the lower stretches, will remain a heaven for catfishermen.

    Where to Fish
    How to catch a flathead is well known. This is low-tech fishing: a weighted bottom-rig on at least 30-lb. test and a stout rod-and-reel, a heavy-duty hook (12/0 is by no means too big!), a big, live bream or shiner, and you're ready to go. It's the where-to that's the real trick.

    The upper half of the Altamaha, from the confluence down to a few miles above Jesup, actually contains a lower density of flatheads than the Ocmulgee River above the confluence, according to regular Fisheries sampling. Since 1995, the catch rate for DNR shocking boats in the stretch from Plant Hatch down to the Hwy 121 bridge has averaged around 25 fish per hour of electrofishing. In the same period, the lower 80 miles of the Ocmulgee have produced an average of 44 fish per hour. Recall, however, that in a 40-mile section of the Ocmulgee these numbers include fish that were removed from the river. (The maps on this page include shocking success rates in fish-per-hour for last year alone, by section of the Altamaha).
     
  8. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    I read this somewhere also
     
  9. cherokee laker

    cherokee laker New Member

    Messages:
    87
    State:
    georgia
    Thanks ya'll..............Stump, that makes me shudder to think about the size that some of those monsters may have reached......we prolly don't have the tackle to bring them out of the tree tops..........

    HH