The Mekong giant catfish once held the Guinness World Records' position for the world's largest freshwater fish in 2005. Dr. J. Steedman, who was chairman of the Missouri Fish Commission, sent a 150 lb blue catfish to the US National museum in November of 1879. The WV state record flathead catfish weighed 70 pounds and the state record channel catfish weighed 33 pounds. Even with beefy tackle, hooking a 100 + lb flathead in these circumstances would result in “heartbreak” more often than not.  Attaining an unconfirmed length of 3 m (9.8 ft), the Mekong giant catfish grows extremely quickly, reaching a mass of 150 to 200 kg (330 to 440 lb) in six years. Channel Catfish Fishing Tips Catfish are Bottom Feeders. Most catfish are bottom feeders. It was mounted and is on display in the Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX. 2006. Terminal rigging for drift fishing consists of a leader about 30 inches long with two 8/0 or … The world’s largest redtail catfish was captured in 2010 by Gilberto Fernandes in Brazil’s Amazon River. Fishing for the Mekong giant catfish is illegal in the wild in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, but the bans appear to be ineffective and the fish continue to be caught in all three countries. Striped catfish reach 1.0-1.5 kg after 6 months or less, depending on the size of fingerlings stocked. Mississippi River Catfishing is not just a memorable experience but also a chance to test your luck and skills on one of the biggest rivers in the country! The spawning catfish pair will dig a depression on the bottom of the river or stream, or ﬁnd a suitable sub-surface cavity to deposit their eggs, which is then guarded by the male catfish. however, essentially no sightings are reported outside of the main Mekong river channel and the Tonle Sap region. Channel catfish spawn, depending on the latitude, during the months of April through July, when temperatures reach 27 or 28 degrees Celsius (80‐82 degrees Fahrenheit). I fully expect that records will continue to be broken, and that a blue catfish exceeding 150 lbs will be caught in the next decade, though only time will tell. Regardless of how it was caught, it’s undoubtedly one of the most impressive flathead catfish ever seen. Attaining an unconfirmed length of 3 m (9.8 ft), the Mekong giant catfish grows extremely quickly, reaching a mass of 150 to 200 kg (330 to 440 lb) in six years. " In 2000, fishers hauled out 11 giant catfish. It also implements projects dedicated to conservation, research, monitoring and raising awareness of the Mekong giant catfish. Its head was 21” wide and it was 69” long, which makes it the longest catfish on record in North America (5’ 9”). The world record specimen was 6.6 feet long, and weighed 230 lbs. Texas dominates the flathead catfish “top ten” list, with five listings. Catﬁsh 2000: Proceedings of the International Ictalurid Symposium. These stories are nothing more than urban legend, and I’ve heard these same narratives from Oklahoma to Virginia. The Mekong giant catfish once held the Guinness World Records' position for the world's largest freshwater fish in 2005. Fragmentation caused by infrastructure development of dams are becoming increasingly common posing threats to larval fish and reducing breeding abilities. The next largest flathead catfish was caught in Elk City Reservoir, Kansas 1998. , As fry, this species feeds on zooplankton in the river and is known to be cannibalistic. It was just shy of 140 lbs and was caught on a snagline near Little Rock. Proudly created with Wix.com. Virginia dominates the blue catfish list, and has produced three of the top five biggest blue catfish ever caught. Pages 37–49 in E. R. Irwin, W. A. Hubert, C. F. Rabeni, H. L. Schramm Jr., and T. Coon, editors. Graham, K. 1999. Some have even caught smaller sized fish with this same size hook. It weighed 123 lbs, was 61” long and had a girth of 42 ¾”. Spawning fish in upper Cambodia are being over harvested. It is quite possible that there are more big flathead catfish out there than we think. In large bodies of water across the U.S., I often hear the same stories about “catfish as big as Volkswagens” or my personal favorite: “commercial divers saw catfish so big, they refused to go back down”. , In Thai folklore, this fish is regarded with reverence, and special rituals are followed and offerings are made before fishing it. Channel catfish are the only established catfish species in Washington with a forked tail. They’re nocturnal, with eyes tailored to low gentle. There really isn’t any more details about Fernandes’ catch, but he did use a fiberglass Sportex rod to land the redtail catfish. As the catfish rolls under the snagline, they become hopelessly entangled in a web of razor sharp hooks and twine. This specimen, caught in 2005, is widely recognized as the largest freshwater fish ever caught (although the largest sturgeon species can far exceed this size, they are anadromous). 1. Since it was captured prior to the internet era, it was quickly forgotten and little information about it exists today. For blue catfish, flatheads and larger channel cats then circle hooks are our favorites. Standard James River catfishing gear typically resembles rod lengths of 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet with medium-heavy or heavy action. It has long, sharp teeth which it uses to inflict damage on its prey.  Overfishing, damming, destruction of spawning, and breeding grounds and siltation have taken a toll on the species' habitat.  It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES, banning international trade involving wild-caught specimens. Many of these may be specific to the size or species of catfish they target, the techniques they use for catching catfish or even the time of year they’re fishing.. Circle hooks are the most popular hook for catfish. In general, they are negatively buoyant, which means that they will usually sink rather than float due to a reduced gas bladder and a heavy, bony head. Fernandes’ redtail catfish was 123 pounds 7 ounces (56 kilograms) and 4.62 feet (1.408 meters) long. A young man captured it via handfishing, after seeing it under a dock one evening. Channel catfish grow to a maximum of about 30 inches and 15 pounds, although 20-25 inch channel catfish are more common. The Mekong giant catfish is the official freshwater heavyweight champion of the world. But how big can North American catfish get? Catfish have a variety of body shapes, though most have a cylindrical body with a flattened ventrum to allow for benthic feeding. Today,[when?] Instead of overdoing it by purchasing several different hooks, and different hook sizes, stick with one in the beginning. Interestingly, only three fish over 100 lbs have been caught in rivers, the rest were captured in reservoirs. 2002), 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T15944A5324699.en, "Grizzly Bear-Size Catfish Caught in Thailand", "Fish whopper: 646 pounds a freshwater record", "Mekong giant fish species: on their management and biology", "Trails of river monster: Detecting critically endangered Mekong giant catfish, "Study on feeding habits of Mekong giant catfish in Mae peum Reservoir, Thailand", "Southeast asia may be building too many dams too fast", "Giant Catfish Critically Endangered, Group Says", "Pla Buek: The Giant Catfish of the Mae Khong River Chiangrai", Photo in National Geographic of a large specimen, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mekong_giant_catfish&oldid=993122667, IUCN Red List critically endangered species, Articles containing Vietnamese-language text, All articles with vague or ambiguous time, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2013, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 8 December 2020, at 22:26. While flathead catfish have the reputation of being the second largest North American catfish species, they aren't much smaller than blue catfish, and flathead catfish can reach almost 6’ in length. Stories about the fish appeared in local newspapers, and the fish was mounted and displayed at the Arkansas State Fair for several years. It was just shy of 140 lbs and was caught on a snagline near Little Rock. The next largest flathead catfish was captured in Lake Palestine, Texas in 1986.  The fish likely obtains its food from algae growing on submerged rocky surfaces, as it does not have any sort of dentition. Contrary to what many believe, catfish are wily prey and have the wherewithal to take you into the toughest cover to break you off or wrap the line. Many states in the Midwest have recognized this and now restrict harvest of big cats. Catfish hooks are a matter of personal preference and every angler will have their own personal favorite style, size and brand of hooks. PUBLISHED December 15, 2009 The river catfish may be overshadowed by its famed cousin, the Mekong giant catfish, which shares the same river system in Southeast Asia. The fish was determined to be at least 22 years old, and its stomach contained a 15 lb bigmouth buffalo, which is carp-like species that is native to much of the Midwest.  The largest catch recorded in Thailand since record-keeping began in 1981 was a female measuring 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in) in length and weighing 293 kg (646 lb).  Numbers of young fish are declining. Piraiba have very large, spiky dorsal fins, and some compare them to sharks. As the fish swims frantically trying to escape, the barb of the hook is buried under the skin and the fish is captured. The Blanakan river is polluted by human activities such as agriculture, transportation, and mining. River catfish is a freshwater fish that can survive in the polluted aquatic environment. Catfishing, both as a commercial operation and as a recreational pursuit, has been a favorite activity across the centuries.  However, in recognition of the threat to the species, nearly 60 Thai fishermen agreed to stop catching the endangered catfish in June 2006, to mark the 60th anniversary of Bhumibol Adulyadej's ascension to the throne of Thailand. The Blanakan river is polluted by human activities such as agriculture, transportation, and mining. Maximum size in Oregon approaches 40 pounds, but most are less than 10 pounds. A photograph purportedly showing a 736-pound catch adds to the collection of urban legends about monstrously large catfish. From 2000 to 2003, about 10,000 captive-bred specimens were released by the Thai authorities.  Millions of tons of fish are harvested in Cambodia every year, with spawning fish being over-harvested. Channel catfish, like most catfish, are bottom feeders. “All of us guides get people from all across the United States and Canada coming here to the James River because it is such a great fishery,” said Hunter Tucker, who has been guiding anglers on the river for more than a decade. It is now believed to only exist in small, isolated populations in the middle Mekong region. The three species of bullhead catfish (brown, yellow, and black) occurring in Washington have a lobed tail.  Thailand is the only country to allow fishing for private stocks of Mekong giant catfish. The catfish can found at San Luis River, south of Benedict Point. The Thailand Fisheries Department has instituted a breeding programme to restock the Mekong River. Understanding of the species’ migration pattern is incomplete. Boxrucker, J., and K. Kuklinski. To a fisheries biologist that sees big catfish fairly commonly, it might take a 100 pound catfish before we truly get taken back. It was caught on rod and reel by a man who was crappie fishing. Bugg’s Island also produced another absolute monster, 141.8 lbs, during a tournament in February of 2017. While blue catfish willingly consume dead bait, flathead catfish prefer live prey, which makes fishing for them more complicated. Considering no flathead catfish were collected in the 2011 survey from the same locations, this is a rapid … The note that accompanied these specimens suggested that fish of this size were commonplace at the time. In the past, fishers have reported the fish in a number of the Mekong's tributaries. This is sad, as it is a noble fish and a mysterious one, revered by the Lao. Larval fish are threatened by habitat fragmentation due to construction of dams which are becoming increasingly common.. Appearance & Size. Grey to white in colour and lacking stripes, the Mekong giant catfish is distinguished from other large catfish species in the river by the near-total lack of barbels and the absence of teeth. , Endemic to the lower half of the Mekong River, this catfish is in danger of extinction due to overfishing, as well as the decrease in water quality due to development and upstream damming. South Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri have all produced blue catfish in the 130 lb class, while Illinois, Texas, and Alabama have all produced fish at or exceeding 120 lbs.  Fish congregate during the beginning of the rainy season and migrate upstream to spawn.  They live primarily in the main channel of the river, where the water depth is over 10 m (33 ft), while researchers, fishermen and officials have found this species in the Tonle Sap River and Lake in Cambodia, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. What a giant catfish in my eyes is generally different than somebody else's. quality size (16-24 inches) catch rate was 6.5 fish/hr. (Pholprasith, 1983 as cited in Mattson et al. The only other states that have produced flathead catfish over 100 lbs are Oklahoma, Missouri, and Georgia. He paraded it around town, yet was quickly arrested since handfishing was illegal in Texas at the time. Correspondingly, this study aims to determine the size variation of river catfish and its relationship with … The fish was seized by Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. Blue catfish often inhabit main channel, open-water habitat, while flathead catfish are structure oriented and prefer dense log jams, rock piles, and undercut banks. The size of this Legendary Catfish could be over ninety inches long and weighing around one-hundred and eighty pounds, which might be why this catfish has never been, and may never be, caught. Studies have shown that very few blue catfish have the potential to grow large (2), therefore it is feasible that the harvest of large individuals can destroy the trophy potential of a given water body. The Goonch catfish is one of the largest species of catfish in the world. There is so much to learn about catfishing it can be overwhelming. So how big can North American catfish get? The species needs to reach 50–70 kg (110–150 lb) to breed, and it does not breed in lakes. It weighed an impressive 143 lbs and is the current world record. Oklahoma is #10 on the list with a 118 lb brute caught in Lake Texoma, the same reservoir that produced biggest blue catfish from Texas (121.5 lbs). Several dropper lines are attached the main line, usually spaced about 1’ apart, and razor sharp treble hooks are attached to the end of each dropper. The Mekong giant catfish are highly migratory requiring large stretches of river for seasonal journeys and specific environmental conditions in their spawning and breeding areas.  After approximately one year, the fish becomes herbivorous, feeding on filamentous algae, probably ingesting larvae and periphyton accidentally. Location. As a fish swims under the main line, the treble hooks snag the outside of the fish. The back of the Piraiba is dark grey to black, while the underside is completely white.  Juvenile fish wear barbels that shrink as they age. The Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas; Thai: ปลาบึก, RTGS: pla buek, pronounced [plāː bɯ̀k]; Khmer: ត្រីរាជ /trəy riec/; Vietnamese: cá tra dầu), is a large, critically endangered species of catfish (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (Pangasiidae), native to the Mekong basin in Southeast Asia and adjacent China. 30 to 40 % as the fish in recent history came from the as... 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