How big can flathead catfish get?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by spanishcatman, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

    Messages:
    133
    State:
    United Kingdom
    Hi everyone - I'm new to the BOC; there's some really interesting posts. I've got to ask: just how big can a flathead get in ideal growing circumstances? Are they potentially bigger than the blues or just faster growing? Flatheads seem more stocky than the wels we have here in Europe and they definitely appear to weigh more than wels for the same length.

    Thanks in advance for your responses.
    Mike :)
     
  2. FishBrew

    FishBrew New Member

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    329
    State:
    North Texas

  3. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

    Messages:
    133
    State:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks Fishbrew - from what I've read those top weights might be a little conservative - or are some of these stories just exaggeration do you think?
     
  4. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

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    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY
  5. FishBrew

    FishBrew New Member

    Messages:
    329
    State:
    North Texas
    Not sure how things work or what's the norm across that big salty pond between us, but over here, anytime you see an official record, the phrase you should say with it is, "that has been reported and recorded."
    Can't say how rare, but it has to be fairly rare and can be difficult for a fish to get reported to the proper state fish and game authorities. And once that is done, it can be another matter for them to recognize it as a record. These laws/rules vary from state-to-state. It's not umcommon for the rules for reporting a record and having it count actually prevent folks from wanting to make a claim. Tackle or technique limitations on how it was caught can be an issue as well.
    For example, depending on the state a fish may have to be:
    Alive and released when measured. Keeping it alive and/or releasing it may be an issue for some.
    May have to be weighted on certified scales. Does the average person know where to go to get this done? Can it be done on a 24/7 basis?
    How many fish bigger than the record have been caught by someone without a liscense? By someone that did not know it was a record? By someone that did not care to report it/have it recorded?
    IMO it is safe to say that almost without exception, an official record fish is NOT the biggest that has been caught (legal or otherwise); just the biggest that was reported and accepted by authorities.
    Here's an example of one most do not think about. I know a lake record large mouth bass was caught last spring at a certain pro guide. It would have broke the old lake record by several pounds. The guide simply unhooked and slipped it back into the water. Why? If the word got out that a record bass was caught at "such-and-such" lake ... what happens to the boat and fishing pressure on that lake? This is that guides "home" lake, the one he takes clients too. The very last thing he would want is a ton of boats showing up trying to catch bass.
    Of course, all this does not mean that some fisherman may tell a tale every now and then ... urban legands are part of the fun fishing.
     
  6. FishBrew

    FishBrew New Member

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    329
    State:
    North Texas
  7. catgetter1

    catgetter1 New Member

    Messages:
    1,162
    State:
    louisiana
    Don't know much about records or how big flats get but I kin wish ya a Welcome aboard to the BOC. Wish I cud help ya but the only flats I catch are always mistakes....My biggest so far is only about 8lbs.....Always caught drifting a live or dead shad foe any ol' kitty that'll hit my bait....Far from records......Have a good'un......
     
  8. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

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    133
    State:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for the welcome catgetter :)
     
  9. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,689
    State:
    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Name:
    John
    Welcome aboard Mike! We are happy to have You amoung us. Man thats a big Wels cat in your Aviator,congartulations on a fine fish. And here are some Rep. points to get You started. J.D.
    :dribble:
     
  10. TAT2DKINGPIN

    TAT2DKINGPIN New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    Louisiana
    IS THAT A REAL FISH IN YOUR AVATAR SPANISH???
     
  11. ryang

    ryang Well-Known Member

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    5,290
    State:
    Blacklick, Ohio
    Name:
    Gary
  12. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,081
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    One of the largest flatheads recorded was caught by the Sayres brothers in Arkansas. The story is below.


    THE SAYRE BROTHERS' MONSTER
    "The river was high that spring, and we were snagging almost every night."
    In 1982, Mackey Sayre, 24, and his brother Bruce, 20, worked at a Little Rock drive-in. When they closed up each evening, they drove to the Arkansas River to snag for catfish.

    "We were snagging below Terry Lock and Dam (downstream from Little Rock)," said Mackey, "and we tussled with some huge catfish several nights in a row."

    In the two months prior to this night, Bruce landed 25 catfish weighing 50 pounds or more; Mackey scored on 27. Yet much bigger fish had managed to elude them.

    Enter John Sayre, Bruce and Mackey's father. A retired commercial fisherman, John had caught thousands of out-sized cats. The young men sought fatherly advice on how to catch the giant catfish. Use a snagline, their daddy advised them.

    Snagging and snaglines are two very different methods for catfishing. The latter employs a long line like a trotline rigged with needle-sharp 10/0 treble hooks instead of baithooks.

    "The line is stretched tight between two anchor points," said Mackey. "If a fish swims into it, a hook penetrates the skin; if he pulls, he gets stuck. And if he swings his tail a couple of times, he gets stuck again."

    The Sayre brothers' snagline consisted of 100 feet of quarter-inch nylon rope. Hooks were tied to 18-inch stagings set 2 feet apart along a 50-foot section near the rope's midsection.

    "We set the line about a quarter-mile below the dam," Mackey recalled. "We tied the ends to iron fenceposts driven down in the riprap. We did that about 10 p.m. - then went to town to eat."

    When they returned, Bruce shined a flashlight toward the line: Something had been hooked - something big enough to submerge two 2 1/2-gallon jugs used as floats. "I told Bruce, 'Man! We've got something on there now!' But in a few seconds, the jugs popped back up. I thought it might be the current or a log wrapped in the line. But it wasn't."

    Bruce and Mackey carried a johnboat to the water, slid it in and paddled to the line.

    "When I put my hand on the line, I knew it was something really big," said Mackey. "I had caught big flatheads on trotlines before, and I was sure we had a big fish.

    "We didn't try to get it in the boat, because I knew we couldn't manage it. I cut the upstream end of the rope, and we paddled to the bank and tied it to a tree. Then we cut the other end, went to the bank and both started pulling."

    Landing a giant flathead, even one connected to quarter-inch nylon, is no easy feat, especially on a riprapped bank on a dark, moonless night.

    "We wanted to get the fish to the bank quickly," Mackey said, "but he was making his runs. It was like lassoing a bull and trying to drag him in."

    To the young Sayres, it seemed like hours before the big catfish was high and dry on the bank. Actually, less than 10 minutes passed while they fought the fish to shore.

    "When I first saw the fish, I knew it went over 100 pounds," Mackey states. "It was as long as we were tall!"

    When they regained their composure, the brothers loaded the leviathan in their pickup and headed for the Waffle House where Mackey's wife worked.

    "We stopped in there to eat every night when we went home from fishing," said Mackey. "And everybody there would always run out to the truck to see what we'd caught. When they saw the cat we caught that night, a crowd drew up real quick."

    After several hours, the big flathead was weighed and measured. "From the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail was 5 feet, 9 inches," Mackey noted. "And though we didn't measure the girth, it was 21 inches from gill plate to gill plate across the top of the head. You could lay a dinner plate between its eyes - no problem.

    "We couldn't find a good scale big enough to weigh it on, so we put it on my daddy's cotton scales. It pulled the needle over 139.5 pounds and just under 140."

    Later that day, the gigantic flathead was weighed on a certified scale. "We can't say it was exactly 139 pounds, 14 ounces, because the scale weighed in half-pound increments," reported Mackey. "But the needle was far enough up that it was almost right on 140 pounds."

    The current all-tackle world record, caught in Elk City Reservoir, Kans., in 1998, weighed 123 pounds. But the Sayres' flathead didn't qualify for a record, because it wasn't caught on a handheld pole and line.

    The Arkansas River behemoth was one of the largest freshwater fish ever caught in North America, but it sparked little attention. Had it been caught more recently, it would have caused a stir. It's still the biggest flathead ever recorded anywhere.
     
  13. Rhinospawn

    Rhinospawn New Member

    Messages:
    107
    State:
    North Dakota
    nice wels..

    on fish records ..our ND state record is a 38.5" , 33lb 4oz Channel.
    it was caught in late 90's .

    I landed 2 fish on the same river when i was nite fishing last summer. 1 was 40" and the other was 42.5 "

    Did I have a record fish? I believe so but I had nothing to keep it or them alive in so I let them back in the river.

    I'm not in it for the record fish but if it happens again I am now ready..

    good luck in the quest for cats
     
  14. jerseycat9

    jerseycat9 New Member

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    2,544
    State:
    Oakwood Georgia
    I will be mighty surprised if the current world record is not broken handily in the next ten years if not more than once. I think the biggest that will eventually come to the top willl be around the 150 mark. The bluecat record has been climbing at a steady pace for over 15 years and the flathead jumped considerably and there is more than enough facts and details and records of flats in the 150 range only a matter of time till someone lands a beast on Rod and reel
     
  15. jerseycat9

    jerseycat9 New Member

    Messages:
    2,544
    State:
    Oakwood Georgia
  16. Krypler

    Krypler New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    Texas
    These fish can get huge from my understanding bigger than what you want to try and get into the boat yourself.
     
  17. Chad32

    Chad32 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Nebraska
    Thanks for the THE SAYRE BROTHERS' MONSTER story wolfman... that's a good one. :big_smile:
     
  18. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

    Messages:
    133
    State:
    United Kingdom
    Yes it's real - I got it last April from a place called Chiprana on the Ebro. It was 2 meters 39 cm (over 7 feet) long. Didn't weigh as much as I thought it would though - it was 159 pounds. I've had heavier fish that were shorter. Guess it was built like me - long and skinny! :)
     
  19. David Knotts

    David Knotts New Member

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    2,569
    State:
    Bossier City, La
    That's a BIG fish, I'd like to catch one of them.
     
  20. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    Didn't Mark Twain report on catfish over 200 pounds?