Can I Catch Catfish In the Summer?

I hooked this big flathead at Lake Oconee in the summer

I hooked this big flathead at Lake Oconee in the summer

The summer is a good time to go fishing for cats. Within the past few days a new Georgia record flathead catfish was landed in the Altamaha River and a possible new world record blue catfish was landed in the Missouri River. These huge cats might make you want to head for your favorite fishing hole.

On July 20, 2010 Greg Bernal and Janet Momphard landed the 130 pound blue catfish while fishing at night in the Missouri River. It took a very short time to get the fish to the boat, only about 15 minutes, but another 30 minutes to get it into the boat.

The huge blue catfish was 57 inches long and 45 inches in girth. It hit a piece of Asian carp.

This catfish was certified as the new world record by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), and replaced the old record that was a 124 pound catfish caught in the Mississippi River in 2005. That fish took 40 minutes to land. Then, on June 18, 2011 a 143-pound fish, caught in Kerr Dam Reservoir

Closer to my home Jim Dieveney landed an 83-pound flathead catfish in the Altamaha River in Wayne County on Sunday, July 11, 2010. This one also took only 15 to 20 minutes to land. It ties the state flathead catfish record caught in 2006 by Carl Sawyer, also out of the Altamaha River.

This flathead, also called Appaloosa cats, hit a live bream, one of the best baits for flatheads. Dieveney donated the big catfish to the state DNR and said it would have been quite a job to clean it, although big flatheads don’t get tough and muddy tasting like other big cats.

This Georgia flathead is not native to the state. They have been introduced into our rivers and have done extensive damage to native fish, especially redbreast bream. That is the reason no limit is placed on them – you can keep as many as you can catch.

Although it is big, this fish is no-where near the world record. According to the IGFA the world record flathead is a huge 123 pound fish caught in1998 in Kansas. Much bigger catfish, both blue and flathead, have been caught on trotlines and set hooks but they do not qualify for the IGFA record book since the fish has to be caught on rod and reel to be a record.

If you like catching catfish, plan a trip. Got to a pond to catch eating size channel cats or catch a big blue or flathead in our rivers and lakes. Now is the time to go.