The largest North American catfish of all time

If there was such a thing as “everyone fish” on a global scale, it would probably be catfish. Hearty, adaptable, and indiscriminate when it comes to food, catfish have given anglers immense pleasure over the years. Catfish are caught on everything from live gills and nocturnal crawlers to “smelly baits,” sausages and chicken livers – to name a few. It doesn’t hurt that most types can be prepared in a variety of ways for the dinner table. In the South, they are a staple of backyard fish fries.

Bulls belong to the same family as catfish. As their taste has been appreciated, they are smaller cousins ​​of the species such as blue cats and flatheads.

Here’s a look at some of the largest North American catfish ever caught, along with a few notable catches, as recorded by the International Gamefish Association.

Blue Catfish: 143 pounds

blue catfish
Richard Anderson with his world record blue cat. IGFA

Richard Nicholas Anderson holds the world record for handling a 143-pound beast caught in Kerr Lake, Virginia on June 18, 2011. Anderson’s fish is 57 inches long and 44 inches long. He fished with an ugly Shakespeare wand fitted with a Daiwa reel. Font brand and weight not specified. He was drifting off a piece of chicken when he bumped into the big fish.

The blue catfish is native to the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio river systems, but has proven to be a skilled predator wherever it is introduced, particularly in Virginia and North Carolina. You can find them as far north as Minnesota and as far south as Mexico and northern Guatemala.

Blue, channel, and white cats are the only species of catfish in the United States that have distinctly forked tails. Flatheads have square tails. Blue cats often have a bluish-gray color, while yellow-green cats have more sometimes, as well as spots. White catfish sometimes have a silvery-bluish appearance and may show a more pronounced difference between the dark back and white belly.

Blue cats love clean, fast water, which is one of the reasons they do so well in tidal rivers. The largest is often caught by marking it in a deep hole and then drifting the bait in front of its nose. Their meat is hard and white, with the smaller fish (under five pounds) making the best table fare.

Little man blue cat recovered
Landon Evans with Blue Catfish 117 lbs, 8 oz. IGFA

Young Landon N. Evans acquired his 117-pound, 8-ounce blue cat on June 11, 2016 while fishing in Lake Gaston, North Carolina. The monster was 55 inches long and 41 inches in circumference. Evans was pitching a shaved bait using a Rapala Rod paired with a 30-pound Stren-wrapped Shimano reel.

Flathead catfish: 123 pounds

All flat-headed world record catfish tackle
Ken Pauly was caught with the flat-headed world record in 1998.

Ken Pauly holds the current world record in all tackles, with a 123-pound flathead captured on May 19, 1998, from Elk City Reservoir in Independence, Kansas. This flathead was 61 inches long with a circumference of 43 inches. Paulie was fishing with a Zebco rod and a Zebco 33 reel wrapped in 14 pounds of Trilene. Catch the fish in live fish.

The homeland of the flatheads are the large rivers of the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio basins. They range from North Dakota to northern Mexico, and cover much of the mid-south to Florida. They have been introduced into other waters and, like the non-native blue catfish, thrive in many tidal rivers, such as the James River in Virginia.

Flatheads have a distinctive look. Their tails are square and not forked. The head is broad and appears flattened, hence the name. The lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw. Their colors are omnipresent, from very dark in some areas to brown, olive and yellow. Like their blue cat cousins, the largest fish love to hang out in deep pools of hard-bottomed rivers.

Al-Salour channel: 58 pounds

All channel catfish tackle world record
W. Willie with the world record catfish from South Carolina. IGFA

W. Willie’s 58-pound cat, caught on July 7, 1964, in the Santi Cooper Reservoir, South Carolina, is the world record for all intrusion. The fish was 47.25 inches long and 29 inches in circumference. Wiley was using a Bronson rod and a forged reel with Berkeley Line. Fish on the Atlantic coast.

Channel catfish are currently found in most of the United States, along with parts of southern Canada and northern Mexico. They prefer clean sand or gravel bottoms in large lakes and rivers. They like to eat at night in light water. In some areas where blue cats have been introduced, larger blues outperform the original channel cats in major waterways.

Male channel cats sometimes feature their spots, which can often be black or dark blue on the upper body during mating season. Sometimes, some of them can be light blue or silver, resembling blue or white catfish. Channel cats are tough fighters.

White catfish: 19 pounds, 5 ounces

All white catfish processed world record
Russell Price holds the world record for all white catfish caught in California. IGFA

Russell owns Dr. Bryce’s record-handling all-white catfish at 19 lb, 5 oz caught on May 7, 2005, in Oakdale, California. The gear details associated with this log are not listed.

The white catfish is a popular freshwater catfish that is used in stocking private ponds and lakes. They are native to the Atlantic coastal states from Florida to New York, but as the record shows, white cats were stocked heavily from Texas to California.

These are the smallest of the four domestic catfish species in the United States. Although it is called a white catfish, its upper body can be from silvery blue to bluish-black. Their stomachs tend to be whiter than other species. White catfish can be caught easily by live bait.

The species can be distinguished from canals and blues by the number of rays in the anal fin. White catfish have between 19 and 23 rays, channel catfish have 24 to 30 rays, and blue catfish have the longest anal fin with a total of 30 to 36 rays.

Black Bullhead: 8 pounds, 2 ounces

All tackle the black bull world record
Frank Piazza with the world record for all-intervention black bull, which was caught on Long Island. IGFA

Frank Piazza holds the world record in all tackles with an 8-pound, 2-ounce blackhead that he fished on August 8, 2015 at Lake Massapequa in Long Island, New York. The head of the Piazza bull was 26.50 inches long and 13 inches in circumference. He was using a Saint Croix rod with a Shimano reel wrapped in 10 pounds of terylene. Bread was used as bait.

Black bulls are found from southern Ontario across the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River, south of the Gulf of Mexico. Heading west, its range extends all the way to Montana. It has also been introduced to Arizona, California, and other western states. The colour, despite the bull’s naming convention, is not the best way to identify these fish, which can range from dark green to olive brown, yellowish green and more. Males and very young fish are solid black.

Black bull heads are recognized by their pectoral fins. The brown and yellow heads of bulls feature the posterior edge of the pectoral fin spine with sharp tooth-like protrusions. These are weak or absent in the black bull. Black bull heads also have a dark gray, black, or black chin. They also have larger heads than other bull head types.

Brown Bullhead: 7 pounds, 6 ounces

All tackle the brown bull world record
Glenn Colakoro with the brown head of the bull who holds the world record for all tackles. IGFA

Glenn Collacuro is the world record holder in all guns, with a fish weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces caught on August 1, 2009 in Lake Mahopac in New York. The bull’s head is 22 inches long. Collacuro used a Quantum Snapshot rod with a Mitchell 308X reel. The line was 6 pounds of Trilene. He fished bait with a saw, which is another name for a wife.

Brown bulls are native to southern Canada and the eastern United States on both sides of the Appalachian Mountains. It is also a favorite stocking fish and has been introduced in many areas. They love the deep waters of any type of bull.

Their color can vary from yellow-brown or chocolate brown to olive, gray or bluish-black with a yellow or white belly. The sides may be mottled with brown spots. The arms of brown bulls are almost always dark brown and almost black. The meat is reddish to pink and is considered an excellent food.

Yellow Bullhead: 6 pounds, 6 ounces

All tackle the world record for yellow bull
John Irvine, the world record holder for the head of a yellow bull that he caught in Missouri.

John R. Irvine claims the world record in all maneuvers with his 6-pound, 6-ounce yellow-headed caught on May 27, 2007 in Drexel, Missouri. That fish was 21 inches long. Ervin used Shakespeare’s rod, Quantum reel, and Maxima 6-pound line to take down the fish. The record does not specify what type of bait he was using.

Yellow pit bulls are found throughout most of the eastern and central United States, as far as western Texas. It likes shallow grassy waters.

The yellow bull is the only bull head that has a chin that is yellow, orange or pale pink. Other species have a darker chin. Their tails are also more rounded than their cousins. Their flesh is white or cream in color.

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