Monster Flathead Catfish - Cape Fear River!!!

Discussion in 'NORTH CAROLINA RIVERS TALK' started by dihardhunter, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. dihardhunter

    dihardhunter New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    North Carolina
    My buddy Andrew Partin (actually my college roommate) and I caught this flathead Sunday morning at 3 am. It was the only fish we caught all night, but it was MASSIVE!!!! We caught it on the upper Cape Fear River above Buckhorn Dam. We caught it on a limbline armed with 100 pound test line and a 7/0 circle hook baited with fresh cut bream. By the way the sycamore branch was bouncing, we thought we might have a 20 or 25 pounder...easily our biggest catfish ever. When that sucker hit the bottom of our little johnboat, we had a 51 pound catfish. It wasn't until 7 that morning that we calmed down enough to fall asleep in our tent. It measured 45 inches long with a 31 inch girth. We tried to get it weighed at 4 different tackle shops, but no one had scales big enough. It bottomed out 50 pound scales. We have never caught anything approaching the size of that fish, and several people were commenting that it was the biggest fish they had ever seen, so we thought we might have a record contender, but one deer scale and several bathroom scales later, we arrived at the 51 pound final weight. The holy grail of catfishing!!! The amazing thing about it was that both of our previous best catfish weighed 8 pounds and 11 pounds respectively. One fillet was 14 pounds each, easily beating our previous best catfish. Here are 5 pics that hopefully do the catfish justice. In my mind, the fish of a lifetime.
     
  2. dihardhunter

    dihardhunter New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    North Carolina
    How in the world do you post pics...I have them in my member's gallery dihardhunter, but can't transfer them into the post.
     

  3. phillip puryear

    phillip puryear New Member

    Messages:
    71
    State:
    NC
    glad to here that you caught a nice one we were there until about 12 :00 that same night we didnnt even get a bite..
     
  4. greggofish

    greggofish New Member

    Messages:
    214
    State:
    Holly Springs, NC
    Thats an awesome cat man........I know where there is at least one more that size. We fished in the Cape Fear/Haw some back in June and July and on two occassions we heard a huge flathead feed in the Haw (about 200 feet past the split as you enter the Haw from the Cape, on the right side). I swear it sounded like a deer jumping in the water. We heard it twice on two different trips.

    We only use rod and reels and that whole area is awful hard to fish that way so I have pretty much given up on the area. The Flatheads have moved all the way up the Haw to the Spillway and the Haw is a little easier to fish. You might want to set the lines and then go fish further up the Haw while you wait. Seem to always catch more fish there with most being real big channels. Try around the new hwy 1 bridge.

    I think there is probably bigger Flatheads in that area and a state record would not surprise me one bit..... Good Luck!!!!!!!
     
  5. Kittyhunter

    Kittyhunter New Member

    Messages:
    291
    State:
    Princeton, NC
    I'm glad you caught it, but it's sad that you killed it. Guys we have to release these fish. It takes years and years for a fish to reach that size. Keep some little ones (5-6 lbs) if you want some to eat. They taste better anyway. Take a camera with you and a scale, take your pictures, weight him and let him go. Maybe you could have caught him on a rod next time and really had something to talk about. I don't get the whole limb line fishing thing. There's not sport in it. You do nothing to actually catch the fish, he catches himself. Where's the fun in that? I'd rather catch a 20-30 lb fish on a rod, than a 60 lb fish on a limb line.
     
  6. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    I agree with kittyhunter on this one, I guess people have the right to keep fish that big but why do it. It is a lot more fun to catch fish on rod and reel, instead of limb lining. Its better to release big fish after a weigh in and a picture, myself I dont keep anything. I just enjoy going out with friends or family and catching them. If I were to keep anything it would be like 3-4 pound channels. Proud to CPR
     
  7. dihardhunter

    dihardhunter New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    North Carolina
    Hey kittyhunter, according to the top fisheries biology university in the Southeast, ALL flatheads should be kept due to their aggressive, invasive nature. They can literally decimate local gamefish populations if not managed by fishermen like me and my buddy. Here's the link...

    http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/02_10/253.htm

    Kwak has two suggestions to control the flathead population in the state. "Anglers should definitely practice catch-and-keep when they get a flathead catfish," he said. "And while it's illegal to move fish around from one river to another, someone moved the flathead into the upper Cape Fear. You're not doing anyone any favors by introducing the flathead into new waters; it's destructive to our native fisheries, and it's irresponsible."
     
  8. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    And according to NC the only reason they dont want flatheads is to protect the native shad and some other tiny fish. I would much rather catch a flattie than a minnow.
     
  9. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    good enough for me. if the state says keep em then keep em. i sure would love to hook one of them that size on rod and reel. WOW. there native here so im neutral. i just couldn't skin one that big. JMO.
     
  10. dihardhunter

    dihardhunter New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    North Carolina
    Not trying to pick a fight, but case and point....Sutton Lake down near Wilmington had flatheads introduced by fishermen. After the introduction of the flatheads, the channel catfish population dwindled due to flathead predation and had to be restocked with your tax $$$ by the NC Fisheries Division to alleviate the problem. 83,000 channels to be exact in 2 months of winter 2004. So no, flatheads don't just eat minnows. They will eat any fish big enough to put in their mouths, including the catfish we love to catch.
     
  11. Abu

    Abu New Member

    Messages:
    248
    State:
    Hemlock,Ohio
    Hey dihardhunter... Welcome to the BOC and Congratulations on your monster flathead catch. You caught the monster and he is yours to do as you please with him. I don't limbline or trotline but I have a friend who does, I know how much work is involved in gathering large quantities of bait and setting up all your lines. I fish with a rod and reel for many hours at a time but realize not everyone has the time or enjoys it as much as I do. How old do you think the fish was? Average lifespan of the flathead catfish is 12 to 14 years, they reach sexual maturity between the third and sixth year. Because of the flatheads popularity with anglers, they have been introduced in many states where they have adapted well. In some cases, however, they have out-competed the native fish species, causing those native fish populations to decline sharply, disrupting some natural ecological processes. I release all the flatheads I catch because I have no intentions of eating them from the polluted rivers I fish in. If I were to catch a state record I guarantee you he would be hanging on my wall. Abu
     
  12. Abu

    Abu New Member

    Messages:
    248
    State:
    Hemlock,Ohio
    Unlike other catfish which are scavengers, flatheads prey only on fish. Young flathead catfish feed mostly on invertebrates such as worms, insects and crayfish. When 10 inches or larger, their diet consists entirely of fish. Shad, carp, suckers, sunfish, largemouth bass and other catfish (including their own kind).
     
  13. Southernraised84

    Southernraised84 New Member

    Messages:
    207
    State:
    Fayettnam, North Carolina
    Congrats on the Flattie!! I have fished the cape since i was a lil boy always good to see her still poduceing monsters.I pratice CPR but its your fish you caught it just please dont waste it.Once again congrats on the catch!! and if you ever want to go out i fish the cape every time i go out and thats every week i stay and fayetteville and have been haveing alot of luck dowon past lock #3 if you ever want to hit the river some time give me a holler i usally go out 2 to 3 boats we always have a great time. :rock-big:
     
  14. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    I'm not trying to say that its bad to keep one, but I myself put them back in the river to catch again, like ABU said, because of the contamination of the water. I dont think its safe to eat any fish anymore, it seems like every river or part of the ocean has an advisory about them. I would much rather eat a small one that didnt live in the contaminants for that long. Its still a nice fish and I still congratulate you on catching it. I couldnt even fathom how hard a flattie like that fights on rod and reel. My biggest so far is only 15# and it still faught really hard.
     
  15. Timber Cat

    Timber Cat New Member

    Messages:
    203
    State:
    Penderlea NC
    That is one awesome fish !!! Congrats on catching him. As for the thing on Sutton Lake,I just finished reading the article in NC Game and Fish(July issue I believe).But I found this for you http://www.ncgameandfish.com/fishing/catfish-fishing/NC_0705_02/u all to read if you don't get the magazine
    Really a neat article.I don't stay far from the lake myself and have just recently started fishing for cats there.Mainly only fished for bream and bass at Sutton.That is a huge place too.But anyway ,thought ya'll would like to read the article.CONGRATS again on that nice fish!!!!
     
  16. dihardhunter

    dihardhunter New Member

    Messages:
    23
    State:
    North Carolina
    Hey Timbercat, wondering if you have catfished Sutton Lake for the flatheads before. We have been thinking about making the long run down there for several months now and would like to know what's cookin'...
    Yea, we will definitely not be wasting that fish. Considerably over 20 pounds of fillets will be sizzlin' in oil before long from that monster. We had some great eating out of the Neuse River, and I guarantee it's dirtier than the Cape Fear. Anyways, any info about Sutton would be welcome...see ya on the water.
     
  17. Fishking

    Fishking Member

    Messages:
    306
    State:
    KC, MO
    Name:
    Andrew

    Dang ABU, we will have to start calling you Mr. Copy&Paste ;) I would love to see the final report of the Flathead impact in NC that they said would be available in the summer of '03.
     
  18. Abu

    Abu New Member

    Messages:
    248
    State:
    Hemlock,Ohio
    If I find it I will copy and paste it for you. :D Abu
     
  19. nuthinlikeacat

    nuthinlikeacat New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    Eden Prairie, Minnesota
    Thats a nice flattie diehard.
    To each their own on catch and release, but I prefer CPR
     
  20. derbycitycatman

    derbycitycatman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,299
    State:
    Kentucky
    Name:
    your first name
    Nice Fish!
    I totally agree about flatties hurting native fish populations. Ive seen a bunch of ponds filled with fat channels get destroyed by one flathead. They can eat anything.