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  1. 1. Blue Catfish (Missouri Record) Paul Katsus is an electrically utility professional who enjoys fishing and helping other fisherman. Blue catfish have been among the largest fish ever caught by Paul Katsus. The blue catfish is the largest species of North American catfish. These fish water monsters can grow to a length of approximately 66 inches and have been reported to weigh 153 pounds, although the average length is 25 – 46 inches. This gigantic size potential can be attributed to the long life span of the species of up to twenty years. The blue catfish native distribution can be found primarily in the Mississippi River drainage which includes the Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Arkansas Rivers. The species is also native to the Rio Grande, and south along the Gulf Coast to Belize and Guatemala. But since the species have been introduced in most major reservoirs and large private lakes, Blue catfish are likely to be found in most bodies of water throughout the United States. Blue catfish can adapt to brackish water, and some regions of the country have colonized along inland waterways of coastal regions. They have become considered an invasive species,
  2. 2. particularly in the Chesapeake Bay. Because of their low mortality rate, large size, and wide variety of food sources their populations have exploded. In the James River in Virginia, Blue catfish make up 75% of the fish population. They have outcompeted the smallmouth bass for food and even heavily feed on the smallmouth bass. In the case of the James River, the introduction of the blue catfish had some unintended results; the serious decline of the smallmouth bass fishery. The large size potential combined with their excellent table fare make the blue catfish a tempting fish for fish and wildlife departments across the nation to stock for recreation purpose. The sheer size is of the species is not limited to one region of the United States; rather the trophies are spread throughout the country. On June 22, 2011, it was announced that Nick Anderson of Greenville, North Carolina, caught blue catfish of 143 pounds and had set a new state record for rod and reel. A 136 pound fish was caught on February 7, 2012 in South Carolina but was not a record because it was not caught on a rod and reel. In Missouri, a record 130 pound blue catfish, was caught by Janet Momphard, with help from her boyfriend. On May 22, 2005, Tim Pruitt caught a 124 pound record blue catfish, in the Mississippi River, which broke a previous record of 121.5 pounds caught in Lake Texoma, Texas. In Indiana, a 104 pound record for a blue catfish was set in 1999 by Bruce Midkiff, which was caught in the Ohio River and weighed in at 104 pounds. For excellent sport and tasty fish, the blue catfish is hard to beat, in this author’s (Paul Katsus) view. Just imagine the chance to catch a 100 + pounds fish, probably close to your house. What other fish species affords you this opportunity without traveling and great expense? Yes, to Paul Katsus, the monster blue catfish is within the reach of most people in the United States.