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PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. #6885148
05/29/20 06:30 PM
05/29/20 06:30 PM
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Lugnut Offline OP
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PennLive Monster Fish Article

River monster is the new largest fish on record in Pennsylvania
Posted May 28, 5:51 PM
Pennsylvania State Record
By Marcus Schneck | mschneck@pennlive.com

A likely new Pennsylvania record for flathead catfish – a monster weighing 56.3 pounds – was pulled from the Schuylkill River in the Philadelphia area on Sunday night.

Jonathan Pierce, a 34-year-old father of four from Roxborough, connected with the fish while casting trout heads as bait. He regularly uses parts of trout he has caught as bait for flatheads.

When certified by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pierce’s flathead will top the existing record by almost 6 pounds. That 50-pound 7-ounce fish was caught in the Susquehanna River, near the Muddy Creek public access in York County, on April 6, 2019, by Jeff Bonawitz, of East Lampeter Township.

Pierce has been pursuing flatheads in the Schuylkill River with a passion for nearly a decade, with several in the 30-pound class and a topper of 37 pounds in September 2016, but he knew immediately on Sunday that he had connected with something much bigger.

Arriving at one of his favorite spots at about 8:30 p.m. – “a very rocky, very snaggy area” – the riverbank fisherman saw the line stripping off his baitcaster reel within seconds of making his first cast out 200 feet or so into the river.

He set the drag on his reel and laid into the monster that had sucked in the trout head he was using for bait.

At that point, the fish did something that he hadn’t seen any of his previous flatheads do. It broke the surface of the water with a violent splash of its tail.

“And then it torpedoed away from me,” he recalled.

Even with the heavy tension of the drag from his reel, the fish continued to strip line off the reel.

“I had my drag tight, and it was still pulling line. I knew it was something massive,” Pierce noted.

“It ran until it ran into a rocky snag. I thought I was going to lose the fish. I couldn’t budge it.”

The flathead held fast at the snag for 2 or 3 minutes, among the longest 2 or 3 minutes of his life. “I knew there was a huge fish that I didn’t want to lose.

“Then I let the drag off, trying to trick the fish” into thinking it had freed itself, and it swam away from the snag.

He reset the drag and began the fight anew.

About 8 minutes later, Pierce’s girlfriend Angelina Wilson, of East Falls, netted the fish.

At that point he knew they had something even larger on their hands. Securing the 50-inch fish with a rope and putting it back in the water to recover, they turned to their phones for information on how to make the catch official.

That search continued the next morning, while the catfish occupied a 45-gallon plastic tote with an aerator in the backyard.

Pierce intended to release the monster back into the river from the moment he set the hook, as he does with all his flatheads, including more than 10 this years, several weighing more than 20 pounds.

“I wanted to release this fish alive in the worst way,” he explained, noting that he and Wilson hauled three 45-gallon totes of water along with the fish as they left the river.

That extra water came in handy as they first transferred the fish from their vehicle to the backyard and then back into the vehicle for transport to Blue Marsh Outdoors in Berks County, where it was officially weighed at 56.3 pounds on Monday afternoon. While making the various tranfers, even a kiddie wading pool was called into service.

After the official weigh-in, Pierce returned the new state record to an undisclosed location in the Schuylkill River.

He said he expects his state record will be broken by a flathead in the Susquehanna River, where he sees a larger base of forage fish able to support more growth in the top-end predators. Even there, he thinks Pennsylvania will probably top out in the low to mid-60-pound range because too much of the year here is just too cold to support much more growth.

He plans to continue his search for monster flathead catfish, for which he admits a certain passion because “no other fish in the Philadelphia area compares to the horsepower they throw at you. It’s the adrenaline rush of fighting a fish that big.”

Pierce’s flathead also tops the largest flathead ever recorded anywhere near Pennsylvania: A fisheries survey crew from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on August 30, 2018, pulled a 56.5-pound, 44-inch flathead catfish from a hoop net in the Susquehanna River less than a mile downriver of the Pennsylvania-Maryland state line.

And, it’s probably the largest fish of any species on record with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission: a muskellunge weighing 54 pounds 3 ounces caught in 1924 in Conneaut Lake in Crawford County by Lewis Walker Jr., of Meadville.


Eh...wot?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885151
05/29/20 06:36 PM
05/29/20 06:36 PM
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pcr2 Offline
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wish we had em here.


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Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885176
05/29/20 07:04 PM
05/29/20 07:04 PM
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Posts: 2,418
Green Bay, Wisconsin
tlguy Online content
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Having never fished for catfish, I had to look up what the WI record flathead is. 74 pounds, 5.1 ounces! Seems like they'd be fun to catch! Any fish over 50 pounds is a beast for sure. Congrats to the angler.

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885200
05/29/20 07:49 PM
05/29/20 07:49 PM
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Fun to catch and those big ones are some of the bestt eating there is! I'd rate flathead right there with crappie and walleye. I'm sure others will try to correct me about that statement! lol


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Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885232
05/29/20 08:46 PM
05/29/20 08:46 PM
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You’ll get no argument from me Lee. I’ve never ate catfish that much simply because I don’t target them. But my dad loved Cajun style blackened catfish. He ordered it every time we went out to eat and it was on the restaurant‘s menu.


Eh...wot?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885238
05/29/20 08:52 PM
05/29/20 08:52 PM
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Lugnut Offline OP
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I imagine you could get some really nice fillets off of this bad boy. It’s still swimming according to the guy that caught it. He said he released it.

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]


Eh...wot?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885243
05/29/20 09:02 PM
05/29/20 09:02 PM
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Iowa
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That guy went to a lot of trouble to keep that fish alive so he could release it. That's pretty cool.

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885245
05/29/20 09:05 PM
05/29/20 09:05 PM
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Invasive species. Totally decimated our Redbreast population. Catch and keep everyone you catch. Think our record is about 83# on rod and reel. Bigger have been caught on limb lines and trot lines.

Last edited by Wanna Be; 05/29/20 10:04 PM.
Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885257
05/29/20 09:16 PM
05/29/20 09:16 PM
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Lugnut Offline OP
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You mean invasive? They are native to PA and the lower Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.


Eh...wot?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885260
05/29/20 09:18 PM
05/29/20 09:18 PM
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Iowa
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I think they are native to most of the country except the far north?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885267
05/29/20 09:23 PM
05/29/20 09:23 PM
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You might be right, I don't know.


Eh...wot?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885271
05/29/20 09:24 PM
05/29/20 09:24 PM
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Arkansas
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The belly meat on that flat cat would make a fine fish sammich.


Romans 8: 38-39
Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885300
05/29/20 09:53 PM
05/29/20 09:53 PM
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Nice fish , starting to show up on the Allegheny up to Oil City and up French a ways , not many real big but they're growing .lol
Flatheads aren't native to the Great Lakes but they're there .here

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885303
05/29/20 09:57 PM
05/29/20 09:57 PM
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so they are comin my way just a long ways to go yet.


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Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885307
05/29/20 10:01 PM
05/29/20 10:01 PM
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Hickman, Nebraska
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Good for him that cool that it's a state record fish.
Seen a lot of fifties around here they do well here in our part of the state and get big. State record here is another 30 lbs on top of that fifty.
Fun fish. You got to like it when you have a good one on, and you can feel the bend of the rod clear down in the butt and handle of the rod.
Those flatties are predators and can really only get them on live bait around here. One pound carp or whole large bluegill or crappies are my favorite bait for them.
Thanks for sharing the story.
Jim


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Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885311
05/29/20 10:05 PM
05/29/20 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Lugnut
You mean invasive? They are native to PA and the lower Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.

Yes, changed it, lol.
They are not native to our rivers. They even hold tournaments trying to get rid of them, but they are like hogs and coyotes.

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: pcr2] #6885312
05/29/20 10:06 PM
05/29/20 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pcr2
so they are comin my way just a long ways to go yet.

And a big chunk of concrete ! lol
They " find " their way above dams all the time it seems .

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: lee steinmeyer] #6885315
05/29/20 10:07 PM
05/29/20 10:07 PM
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Iowa
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Originally Posted by lee steinmeyer
Fun to catch and those big ones are some of the bestt eating there is! I'd rate flathead right there with crappie and walleye. I'm sure others will try to correct me about that statement! lol


Yes sir you are incorrect. Flathead is conciderably better eating than either of those other bait fish you mentioned.

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885320
05/29/20 10:10 PM
05/29/20 10:10 PM
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Lugnut Offline OP
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Interesting. I didn’t know they were invasive and predatory like that.


Eh...wot?

Re: PA Has a New Biggest Fish Record. [Re: Lugnut] #6885322
05/29/20 10:11 PM
05/29/20 10:11 PM
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bullheads count? grin


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