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Georgia Man Reels In New State Record Flathead Catfish

April 15, 2005

Waycross, Georgia - Angler Carl Sawyer of Screven (Wayne County) had more than just a great day of fishing on the Altamaha River on June 22, 2006 – he managed to catch a new state record! Sawyer reeled in an 83 lbs. 0 oz., 54-inch flathead catfish, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The most recent state record for a flathead catfish was a 67 lbs. 8 oz. fish caught on the Altamaha River in 2000.

“As Carl Sawyer can tell you, it’s nice when you catch the ‘big one’ that you actually have the evidence to back it up,” says WRD Fisheries Management Chief Chuck Coomer. “We hope that the recognition of this new state record will inspire experienced and novice anglers to get out and fish at any one of Georgia’s numerous lakes and rivers. You might not catch a new state record, but odds are you will still have a great day of fishing and enjoying the tremendous natural resources of this State.”

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 weights up to 100 lbs., although less than 30 lbs. 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.

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