How long can a flathead catfish be out of water?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by vince, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. vince

    vince New Member

    Messages:
    53
    State:
    Minnesota
    I know the shortest amount of time! But can flatheads be out for 5, 10 or even 30 minues out of the water? How does someone transport them to a certified scale? just in case you get the BIG ONE!

    Vince
     
  2. neocats

    neocats New Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    State:
    Steubenvil
    I left the Ohio River near Marietta with a flathead to stock in a friends private pond. The darn thing kept splashing water all over the inside of my jeep, so I stopped and poured the water out. I figured he would be dead after a 2 hours trip, but he wasn't. It took a few minutes for him to wake up, but then he just took off with a big kick. He was only 10 pounds. He is still alive and attcking bluegills near the shore.
     

  3. catmanofohio

    catmanofohio New Member

    Messages:
    639
    State:
    Aberdeen (Southern Ohio)
    Well when i caught my 40 lber we drove about 30 mins and BAM he took off... this was also after being dragged behind the boat down the creek on stringer with about 5 or 6 others... but i have heard of them living up to 2 hrs+ without water.. aslong as u keep like a moist/wet towel over them... to keep them absorbing moister..
     
  4. turkey22

    turkey22 New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    alabama
    As long as you keep'm wet they'll live a long time. Especially in cooler weather. I put alot of the big one's I catch in my private pond and used to transport in water, but awhile back I had too many to put in the water In the boat so I left 2 out in the boat bottom and after 4 hours they took off as soon as I put them in the pond. We even left a 8 lb flathead in the boat overnight a year ago by accident (about 40 degrees outside) and it was alive the next morning so there pretty tough. I still wouldnt advise leaving one in the boat overnight though.
     
  5. SC Hartwell

    SC Hartwell New Member

    Messages:
    749
    State:
    Pickens, SC
    Flatheads are classified as amphibians :wink:!
     
  6. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,160
    State:
    NC
    A lot depends on the water and air temperature at the time because this dictates the metabolic rate, and how much you stressed the fish in landing it.

    Just because they are breathing an hour later does not mean that they will live.
     
  7. neocats

    neocats New Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    State:
    Steubenvil
    Flatties can actually live longer out of water than they can in water with no oxygen.
     
  8. Jerry60k

    Jerry60k New Member

    Messages:
    881
    State:
    Chelyan, West V
    When I transport any fish I usualy fill a 50 gal trash can with ice.This slows down their metabolic rate.I have had no problems so far.
     
  9. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    Messages:
    2,252
    State:
    Bedford,Ky
    its my belief flatheads are like frogs they are able to slow their metabelism to the point they appear dead , for instance iv seen ponds dry up and after a good rain still have fish in it how is this possible ? answer they burry them selves in the mud and after the rain comes resurface . iv had flatheads live 8 hrs out of water as long as they stay damp so as not to dry out . infact i put one in my pond last summer that had been out of water 6 hours and he is still there iv seen him tearing up the frogs near the bank 3 months ago .
     
  10. Eudora

    Eudora New Member

    Messages:
    272
    State:
    Lambertville, MI
    Hey:

    In my exprience, flatheads can stay out of water for an unbelieveably long time! My buddy caught one last June, kept it on a stringer for 4 hours, drove and hour home with it laying on the carpet of his van, and it still lived for two days before he ate it. If you're going to put it back,though, go easy on it, and rub his sides just before you let go of it. There's a reason why they're the toughest fish in freshwatet!!!
     
  11. Catalac

    Catalac New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    Ohio
    wow some of these are a long time
     
  12. Catfish_addiction

    Catfish_addiction New Member

    Messages:
    31
    State:
    Texas
    I've had them out up to 2 hours wrapped in wet burlap with no problems, they are some tough fish.
     
  13. Zonaman

    Zonaman New Member

    Messages:
    508
    State:
    Florida
    I've long noted their ability to not die! Then, one summer I tossed one from the lake (about 70F) into my icechest (crushed ice, no water) . Dead within an hour! In Arizona, at least, they can't take the sudden temp change .
     
  14. osageCo_flathead

    osageCo_flathead New Member

    Messages:
    161
    State:
    Oklahoma
    As stated, its best to toss them back in ASAP. With that being said...this idiot asked me and a friend if we wanted some catfish he caught but did not want to clean...he had been fishing some waters 1+ hours from the place we live. I looked over in the back of his truck and he had 40+ pound flathead in the back and about 3 others around 10 pounds...he was going to toss them so we took them. I noticed the fish's gills were still moving so we headed for the lake to see if this guy could swim off...after working him back and fourth in the water for a while I was not sure he would make it if I let him go at that point...So I took him home and put him in the large stock tank I keep for perch (it is aerated) and added aquarium salts and various other stuff to help them along. A day latter and these guys were ready to go. I kept them in the tank a few more days for caution sake and released them in my local lake. I thought it would be great to have another fish of that size and will to live populating my home waters.
     
  15. daniel-delarosa

    daniel-delarosa New Member

    Messages:
    392
    State:
    seminole, oklahoma
    longest i have had one out is about an hour and a half. i just keep a wet shirt on'em
     
  16. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Guys, aside from one post none of you knows if the released fish survived. Before anyone says they seen a flathead in their pond yrs later, is that the exact same fish? I have read articles where the bass tourney fish are kept in cages for two weeks after they are caught. Just to see what actually happens after they are caught, transported, and weighed then put in the PENS. Almost 50 percent of those fish died within the two week trial. Yes they would have swam away if you put them back in the lake but they don't always live. These are fish that get great care to keep them alive cause if they show up to the weigh in dead thats a penalty. These fish were put in a livewell as soon as possible and cared for more than a flathead wraped in a wet potato sack. If they can still die after all that what does it say for the chances for a flathead left in the back of a pickup for 5 hours.

    If you plan on releasing a flathead do it as soon as you can.
     
  17. lroyal

    lroyal New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    Georgia
    I knew those fish were tough but not that tough. haha
    Lee
     
  18. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Oklahoma
    flathead survive a long time out of water without too much damage if you carry a burlap bag with you or several. when I was a kid and we caught 20 to 25 lb flathead out of keystone lake my grandfather would soak burlap bags in the water and throw over them to keep them damp and we'd drive the 45 miles back to our ponds to release them and they made the trip just fine ... without the wet burlap bag over them they'll die pretty fast as their gills will dry out. also they'll die pretty fast if you put them in a 100 gallon tank that has water in it that's over 80 degrees and not aerated. we transported quite a few of these fish back in the day and the best way to haul them was with the burlap bag over them.
     
  19. EsoxJohnny

    EsoxJohnny New Member

    Messages:
    132
    State:
    Indiana
    Very good point! It's natural for one to be optimistic when releasing a fish but delayed mortality studies don't show such a happy ending in most cases. Stress from catch and release can cause death weeks and perhaps months later. And that doesn't include any poor handling such as keeping a fish out of water for excessive periods of time. Yes catfish are hearty creatures but they are not bulletproof. The releasing of a fish back into the water does not excuse poor handling. Things aren't fine just because the fish swims off. Bottom line, if you are going to release it treat it right. Use a quality, coated net and only take the fish out of the water for a few quick pics (15-30seconds). Don't lay it on the ground or bottom of the boat. Don't rub the fish or rock it back forth in the water. Just simply hold the fish upright until it can swim away strong.