Wayne County angler Jim Dieveney of Screven caught a flathead catfish on the Altamaha River on July 11, 2010 that ties the current state record flathead catfish! Dieveney reeled in an 83 lb. 0 oz., 52.5-inch flathead catfish, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. The most recent state record for a flathead catfish also was caught on the Altamaha River (and also by a Screven resident) in 2006.
“Congratulations to Jim Dieveney on this fabulous catch,” says Division Fisheries Management Chief John Biagi. “Georgia’s tremendous natural resources continue to yield great catches to anglers and this is no exception. I hope that this catch will inspire other anglers and would-be anglers to get out there and go fish!”
Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris), also known as appaloosa cats, are one of several types of catfish found in Georgia. The list also includes channel catfish, blue catfish, white catfish and yellow and brown bullheads. Flathead catfish, as one might expect, have a head that appears “flattened,” they are a yellowish color mottled with brown and green and their lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw. They have an unforked tail and very small eyes and as with other catfish species, they also can be identified by their lack of scales and the “cat-like” barbels on their mouths that look like cat whiskers. They can reach a weight up to 125 lb., although less than 30 lb. is typical for Georgia. They like deep, murky pools with some current and rocky, rubble-bottom areas with holes. The best bet for catching a flathead is by using live bait, such as minnows, chubs, crayfish or sunfish.
Information about state record fish can be found at www.gofishgeorgia.com or in the Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook available at all division offices and all license agents. In order for a catch to be recognized as a state record, anglers should follow these steps:
· Do not clean or freeze the fish
· Keep the fish cool, preferably on ice.
· Weigh the fish as soon as possible on scales certified accurate to the nearest ounce by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in the presence of two witnesses who are over the age of 18 (witnesses must provide names/addresses and telephone numbers and may not be members of the anglers immediate family).
· Take the fish to a division Fisheries Management Office as soon as possible and have it positively identified by a Fisheries Biologist or Technician.
· Complete an application and submit with a clear side view photo of the whole fish within 90 days of the catch.
Make plans now for your fishing trip, and don’t forget to introduce someone new to fishing! For more information about fishing opportunities in Georgia, visit www.gofishgeorgia.com or call a division Fisheries Management Office.