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A 47-pound flathead catfish from the Ohio River picked the wrong midnight snack and as a result has been named by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as the new for the species.
Angler Vic Zendron of West Sunbury was fishing for big flatheads using a live bluegill and 12-lb test line around 3 a.m. on September 3 when he hooked the record fish. After 30 minutes of give and take, with the giant fish dictating most of the battle, Zendron was able to tire the fish enough to get it boatside. The fish was too big to net and Zendron initially intended to release it anyhow until a witness to the catch suggested the cat might a new record.
In fact, Zendrons flathead easily broke the record of 43 lb. 9 oz. held by Pittsburgh angler Seymore Albramovitz since 1985. Albramovitz caught his fish in the Allegheny River.
The new record fish was likely hatched about the time the former record was set or at least shortly thereafter. Either way, it may not take another 21 years for the new record to be broken. The number of anglers targeting large flathead catfish has grown in recent years and biologists report handling flathead catfish of potential record size.
For tips and techniques for catching flathead catfish, check the Commissions web site at www.fishandboat.com for the article Patterns for Flathead and Channel Catfish, originally published in Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Magazine.
Pennsylvania certifies state records based on total body weight. Potential record fish must exceed the established mark by at least one ounce, as weighed on a certified scale. To be considered for state record certification, a fish must be caught using legal means, in season, from Pennsylvania waters open to the public without charge or fee. Fish taken from farm ponds, fee-fishing lakes, ponds or streams or in waters restricted to use by club members or their guests do not qualify. A biologist or Waterways Conservation Officer from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) must examine the fish. The PFBC is the only entity that can certify an official state record fish in the Commonwealth.
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