What happened to them?

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by FREESPOOL, Feb 2, 2008.


    FREESPOOL New Member

    Edwardsville, Illinois
    I was doing some reading on blue cats and came across this. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share. I suspect that some of you might have seen this before.

    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
    —one of 144 lbs, the other 150 lbs. The latter I

    shipped to you by express.
  2. ArmyCatfish

    ArmyCatfish New Member

    thats some interesting stuff you came up with i wish i knew where those big fish went. maybe polution or "global warming" whatever that realy is dont think it exists. but it somthn i might end up lookin further into if i find anything ill be sure to share it

  3. Plowboy411

    Plowboy411 New Member

    same as every thing else,,man over done it bro.
    the biggest channel cat I ever saw was caught on a throw line using an old enter tube as a shock,and was baited with a road kill possum,I've saw 40,lb channels but this thing was much bigger.it was sold at the fish market in lumber city Ga,at .5 cent per lb that was in the 70 s
    money and hunger ,,that's what happened.LOL:wink:
  4. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    DeSoto, MO
    Thats great stuff Dan. I've read that same article in the past and found it very intriuging. Like James said, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Due to the channelization of our rivers, commercial fishing, pollutants and fertilizer run off into our rivers, and too many other reasons to list, we have seen a long decline in that type of fish in our rivers. I dont doubt those figures are accurate. At one time, I had dug up several articles that indicated 1,2 and even 3 hundred pound fish passed through the halls of the old Saint Louis Fish Market back in the days of the civil war and beyond. Enter man into the equation, and the building of dams to suit mans needs and the fish no longer have access to premium spawning grounds and that type of thing.

    Now for some good news. You are starting to see reports of 80,90, and even 100 pound fish caught with some regularity. These fish have survived the ions by learning to adapt to their environments. Conversely, with mans help now I believe we are doing good things towards the conservation of these marvelous fish. Lots of groups are fighting to get their respective laws changed to protect these fish from being sold or dumped into a pay pond. As well, a large majority of catfisherman are practicing catch and release or using good sound selective harvest principles. The Federal Goverment has cracked down on the big companies that use to use the river system to dispose of its toxic chemicals, and new fertilizers for the crops have been developed. Working together, I believe its possible to see these type of fish again one day if we stay the course. Mother nature is very adept at protecting herself. With a little nurturning from man, these fish will flourish again.

    Thanks for sharing that article. Its most assuredly going to lead to some nice discussion on this thread.
  5. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    East of KC

    Cuz, I'll disagree with you a bit on one point and pose a different point of view on another. Hanging around the BOC a LOT like many of us do, fishing tournaments, and fishing with people who share the same outlook on conservation and fishing tends to skew our viewpoint. I'd say there is a GROWING MINORITY of catfishermen who are practicing catch and release or selective harvest. With catfish being the 2nd or 3rd (I forget the exact number) most popular gamefish in the U.S. and still being viewed as primarily dinner instead of a trophy the vast majority of fishermen are not catch and release or selective harvest. I've all but been flat-out called a liar many times by people at the ramp when they ask how I did and I'll tell them. They ask where the fish are and I say I released them. The idea of turning loose a fish (especially a catfish) is just nuts to most people (as it was to me not too long ago:smile2:)

    The other point is the increased catches of large fish. I don't know if the number of these fish as a percent of the population is getting larger (like all of us, I hope so) or it's just that there are more people targeting them with better gear.

    Not too long ago there weren't many people who'd have thought they'd be throwing a pound of lead, an 8/0 or 10/0 hook and a half-pound of bait hooked to 80# test line on a light saltwater rig in the middle of Missouri or Ohio. Shoot, even if they'd have had the idea it would have been an undertaking to get the gear to do it with. And the people who had the idea would have had to actually talked to someone to get the idea and see that it worked in the first place before they'd have tried it.

    With the internet, I could spend 3 hours on this site and get a good idea of the gear I need, tactics that work, and be on the water the next morning targeting big blues.

    Between improvements in gear, more people on the water, availability of knowledge on tactics, and more interest in trophy catfishing I think we'll see an increase in catches of big fish in the short term. What will tell the tale from a conservation standpoint is if that number "crashes", stays steady, or increases in the long-term.

    I hope along with the increased interest in catfishing comes increased legal protection by departments of conservation and increased awareness of the concepts of selective harvest/CR among fishermen. I'm almost sad to see catfishing starting to go "big", but if that's what it takes to get the benefits to the fisheries, then it more than outweighs the disadvantages. Good Luck~

  6. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    DeSoto, MO
    Thats a great post Branden, and in some instances I agree 100 Percent. I know there are pockets here and there where filet and eat is the phrase of the day. Websites such as these are serving to educate the public, as much as word of mouth from supporting anglers. I've seen some die hard fish keepers switch to catch and release on our stretch of the river and thats encouraging. I hope that trend continues. As well, I sincerely hope all of the legislation we are all pushing for sees fruition so that we can protect these great fishes.

    Your correct on the gear also. More and more anglers are learning how to go about catching these great fish. The equipment is better, the lines are better and its showing by the fish we are putting in our boats. The encouraging part is when I see all these BOC fisherman posing with some HOGS and returning them to fight another day. I know the BOC is only a relatively small fraction of catfish anglers, and I can only hope we see a positive trend in our fisheries. Time will be the only measure we have. It is indeed encouraging to see all of the battles going on right now with various states conservation laws. We are going to see alot of battles in 2008. I can only hope for the best for now, and fight the battle when our turn comes up.
  7. prostreetS10

    prostreetS10 New Member

    Pretty much hit the nail on the head there.