Cited evidence of Monster Blue Catfish from a 1999 report

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by SkipEye, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    Here is an excerpt from a scholarly report dated 1999 that gives credible references to MONSTER Blue Cats of yesteryear, before the rivers were dammed up.


    Historical perspective
    Records of large catfish date back to the Lewis
    and Clark exploration of the Missouri River. They
    described large
    “white” catfish, undoubtedly blue
    catfish, reaching nearly 1.5 m in length. Heckman
    (1950), in his
    Steamboating Sixty-Five Years on
    Missouri’s Rivers
    , provides the following account:

    “
    Of interest to fishermen is the fact that the largest
    known fish ever caught in the Missouri River was
    taken just below Portland, Missouri. This fish, caught
    in 1866, was a blue channel cat and weighed 315 lb.
    It provided the biggest sensation of those days all
    through Chamois and Morrison Bottoms. Another

    ‘
    fish sensation’ was brought in about 1868 when two
    men, Sholten and New, brought into Hermann, Missouri,
    a blue channel cat that tipped the scales at
    242 lb.
    ” Heckman provides other evidence that it
    was common to catch catfish weighing 125
    –200 lb
    from the Missouri River during the mid 1800s. Even
    Mark Twain, talked about seeing
    “a Mississippi catfish
    that was more than six feet long
    ” (Coues 1965).

    In November 1879, the U.S. National Museum received
    a blue catfish weighing 150 lb from the Mississippi
    River near St. Louis. The fish was sent by
    Dr. J. G. W. Steedman, chairman of the Missouri
    Fish Commission, who purchased it in the St. Louis
    fish market. The following quote from a letter from
    Dr. Steedman to Professor Spencer F. Baird, U.S.
    Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, suggests that
    catfish of this size were not uncommon.
    “Your letter
    requesting shipment to you of a large Mississippi
    catfish was received this morning. Upon
    visiting our market this afternoon, I luckily found
    two
    —one of 144 lbs, the other 150 lbs. The latter I

    shipped to you by express.
    ”
     
  2. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    I once read where mark twain went to the fish market in st louis and seen several catfish in the 250 pound range. They were quite common back then. I believe their still around but no where near as abundant. If one of you guys did manage to hook one of these monsters it would just pull you right in. I am probaly the only one in here man enough to handle the real "river monsters":smile2:
     

  3. swampratt

    swampratt Member

    Messages:
    217
    State:
    oklahoma
    This arkansas river in oklahoma has it's share of monsters...

    Was near a buddy when he was running trot line using parachute cord for main line...he had a bass boat one of the older glass ones that was narrow...He would run the trot line through the cleet and work the front of the boat
    His dad in the back re baiting,, the tug was a good one and he hollared next hook,,We got a nice fish....
    Not that hook ,,kept going,, next hook no fish the boat is bobbing now from the tuggin..

    3 more hooks and no fish ,,,Then it starts pulling,,the old man in the back is like 240# and the boat is being pulled down in the front...
    Glen cant pull any more line so he tries to get it off the cleet and cant do that either'''Trying to let the fish tire out
    The boat nose starts going down and glen is worried ,, then the water starts comming in the front and the prop is out of the water,,,He is yelling for a knife but his dad dropped it ..he is searching and the boat is still taking on water ..the old man has a death grip on the steering wheel, and glen finds the knife and cuts the line ..the boat has now got 8" of water in it and they are freaked..I am giggling like a school kid..

    Too big for ya glen...
    I heard SHUT UP and a lot of 4 letter stuff
     
  4. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Messages:
    1,852
    State:
    Lynchburg, VA
    I am inclined to believe these reports of yesteryear....however, they had cameras back then, and I've seen pictures of big fish from back then, but why are there none on these big catfish?

    Like I said, I'm still inclined to believe these monsters existed....and if so, then I know there are still fish that size in these rivers, dam or no dam. There just might not be as many, but they are still in there.
     
  5. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    Blue Cats have pretty extreme long distance migratory patterns. Damming the rivers did in fact affect them, so does commercial fishing especially and even rod and reel fishing with folks keeping the big fish. I believe there are a few of these monsters in the water and someone will land one eventually in modern times. They were pretty much unmolested back in those days and had not been subject to over harvesting and more effective modern methods to locate and catch them before they could reach their top potential.
     
  6. Welder

    Welder New Member

    Messages:
    4,834
    State:
    Missouri
    I see 90lb cats caught by the trotliners. I have had some interesting things happen pole fishing, hooked one last oct that spooled me. Its just somthing about the streach of mo river from the osage to the gasconade I like. Mabe some day I will haul in a 100lb or bigger blue. I know alot of the river rats in gasconade and that area of the river has a lot of history. And some tall tales.:cool2:
     
  7. Welder

    Welder New Member

    Messages:
    4,834
    State:
    Missouri
    :smile2: comp blip
     
  8. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    "...Damming the rivers did in fact affect them, so does commercial fishing especially..."

    Yea, there used to be blues up this far on the KY River (before my time) but the ol' timers say that commercial fishing wiped them out. I wish they'd restock them.
     
  9. KC Jayhawk 78

    KC Jayhawk 78 New Member

    Messages:
    3,236
    State:
    Kansas City, Ks
    Is there some good bank fishing spots in that area?
     
  10. MikeS63301

    MikeS63301 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    State:
    St Charles, Mo
    Supposedly the bait of choice in those days (late 1800's) was a rotten ham on a big treble hook like a grappling hook.
     
  11. johnr

    johnr New Member

    Messages:
    8
    State:
    nc
    My Grandfather who fished for food in the Kanawha river there at the falls in Anstead W Va used a log and a small cable lodged in the rocks to fish for cats the largest he caught was 110 pounds until one pulled the whole thing into the river one night. I have seen pictures of Sturgen caught in the river that were in a horse drawn wagon that were almost dragging the ground. I am 66 years old and have been told of huge fish from the old timers who lived and fished there when I was young and I do believe most of what was said. I do beleive that with the conservation methods in place now and us doing the catch and release not the filet and release we will see new records being set over the next few years. Loook at Va. the record blue was 93 pounds set just a few years back then it was broken in the past couple of years. I think the rods,reels and line we have now makes it more likely that someone can land one of these monsters that would have just broke off when I started fishing years ago. Think about it I used a direct drive type of reel that when you cast it the handle spun there was no drag on it at all except your thumb the rods were made of steel used black nylon line 15-20 pound test fished from the bank because just about no one had a boat so try and get a 30+ pound fish on the bank up a 2 foot+ high bank and/or thru the rocks! I am not saying I caught a record monster but have had fish that just swam off no stopping them with that equpiment. You could go fish Hobe Sound then in Fla and hook a snook on a Shakespeare Service reel and watch it take 200 yards of line never looking back just headed to the ocean. I was crappie fishing this week and caught a nice blue cat about 7 pounds on my crappie rod and reel he ran me all around the front of my boat took drag reel him in then again ran off taking more line the drag singing finally got him in but several years ago he would have got off as my reel would not have had a drag and if it did would have burned out or locked up. Now I put him in the boat patted him on the head and said go get your mamma!
     
  12. Jacksmooth

    Jacksmooth Member

    Messages:
    574
    State:
    West Virginia
    Maybe the different types of polutions put in the waters today have affected them also.
     
  13. jesseray

    jesseray New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    missouri
    im pretty sure i read the same thing you did and the person that started this thread.it's amazing how big isnt it.
     
  14. Ky_Katter91

    Ky_Katter91 New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    Northern Ky
    I actually use two of the direct drive reels you're speaking of, and my dad uses a couple of them as well, I've watched him land fish up to 40#+ on them.. But anyway back to the main point of this post. I definitely believe there are still fish this big out there, we just gotta find them.
     
  15. Pip

    Pip New Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    State:
    pa
    200+ lb cats???? I'd be curious to see what kind of equipment they used back then. But i guess maybe they just used something like bailer twine tied to a hook. No pole. Maybe speared them in the shallows. Maybe limb lining was the thing back then. How they fished back before the 1900's, has me curious. It's not like they could go to walmart and pick up a couple ugly sticks.

    Just a thought on not seeing a lot of pictures back then. Could have been that fish caught of this size wasn't even news worthy, but the norm. I'm sure not a lot of people had Camera's, only the few professionals who made a living taking pictures. What we can take for granted nowadays wasn't even thought of then, i reckon. It might be a safe bet that in those days fishing was a neccessity for food on the table, and not a sporting past time as a lot of us are able to enjoy.
     
  16. SGTREDNECK

    SGTREDNECK New Member

    Messages:
    1,522
    State:
    Tennessee
    Man they caught them big ol cats back then by spearing them with harpoons, like in the book moby dick. I do think there are monster cats out there that will crush any record we have today. Or atleast I will keep telling myself that, so I can still have the good dreams about 200-300 pound cats. Gotta have a fantasies. Some men dream of women, I dream of fish and deer. Andrew
     
  17. catfisherman369

    catfisherman369 Floyd

    Messages:
    4,944
    State:
    Nashville Il.
    I would have to say that they did not take pictures of the monsters because they was not monsters then they was a common sight . You dont see pictures of cows and pigs that they was eating either because it was a common thing .

    I would like to hope that there are giant cats out there somewhere and I also hope that one of you guys or gals catch one . I dont go river fishing so it wont be me .
     
  18. LOWCOUNTRY CATMAN

    LOWCOUNTRY CATMAN New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    sc
    There is absolutely no doubt that there are bigger catfish out there than have been landed.In a river as wide and long as the Mississippi dams or not there has to be some huge Cats in there.I believe we have a number of world record size blues here in SC so I have to believe there are some monsters in the Mississippi...probably over 200 lbs.Somewhere out there is a 300 lber....call me crazy but I believe it.