Flathead catfish can be a difficult trophy to catch, given they can be so difficult to find in the first place.
But one Florida man had a distinct advantage on a recent trip — catching record flatheads runs in the family.
The Florida-record flathead Marvin Griffin caught in family hot spot Yellow River weighed 69.3 pounds, was 47 inches long and had a girth of 34 1/4 inches.
It was certified by fisheries biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which announced the record Wednesday, July 3.
The catch beat the previous record (63.8 pounds, caught in 2016 in the Chattahoochee River by Charles Patchen). by 5 1/2 pounds.
The fish was weighed at FWC’s Blackwater Hatchery near Holton a certified scale.
Griffin told FWC the record flathead was the only fish caught during a trip with friend John Babb — “ I never would have been able to bring the fish into the boat without his help,” he said in an FWC news release.
Griffin caught the brute using live bait in the same river his family has been hooking huge catfish for years. That includes uncle, James Auston Jr., who held the flathead state record 2011-16.
“I have always wanted to catch a state record,” Griffin told the FWC. “After my uncle caught his, I made it a mission of mine to catch my own.”
More from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Flathead catfish are a non-native fish found in many Northwest Florida panhandle river systems. Flatheads prefer long, slow-flowing, moderately turbid rivers. Their solitary lifestyle makes them more difficult to catch than other catfish. Adult flathead catfish feed primarily on live fish, crawfish, freshwater clams and mussels.
To properly certify a new Florida state record, an FWC biologist must identify the fish species and witness its weighing on a certified scale. Anglers can check the current state records at BigCatchFlorida.com by clicking on “State Record,” and should notify the nearest FWC regional office if they believe they have caught a record fish. Contact information for FWC regional offices can be found at MyFWC.com/Contact by clicking on “Contact Regional Offices.”
The FWC recognizes other memorable freshwater catches through its Big Catch program, which provides certificates commemorating trophy catches of 33 different freshwater species. Largemouth bass catches are recognized by the TrophyCatch program, which is a citizen-science program that partners with industry leaders, such as Bass Pro Shops, to offer rewards for the catch, documentation and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier.