When it comes to big catfish, Missouri is no underdog. Missouri offers amazing opportunities to catch whopper channel, flathead, and blue cats. As one angler found out last month, they grow to record potential.
Jefferson City, Mo., resident Burr Edde III, landed an enourmous 120-pound, 8-ounce blue catfish on March 21 while using a trotline off a stretch of the Missouri River. The fish measured 55 1/8 inches and a girth of 45 inches. The record was confirmed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) on March 25 at the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., using a certified scale at the store.
The monster fish was pulled off the trotline baited with Asian carp cut-bait. The giant cat surpassed Missouri’s previous alternative-method blue catfish state record of 117 pounds caught along the Osage River in 1964.
“Oh my goodness! That’s a big fish,” Edde told the MDC when recalling his first sighting of the giant. “How am I going to get this one into the boat?! It was definitely an experience of a lifetime to catch one that big. I was blessed. And there are still lots of them out there!”
The avid angler would have liked to release the giant back to its home, or even donate it to Bass Pro Shops tanks for the public to enjoy, but the fish didn’t make it long enough.
“It’s too big to actually have mounted, but I’m getting a replica made,” Edde said.
While most blue catfish in Missouri average between 3 to 40 pounds, it is not uncommon for them to grow up to 80 and 100 pounds. The blue catfish typically inhabits Missouri’s large reservoirs, big rivers and lower reaches of major streams. They prefer to lay in swift chutes and under pools with a noticeable current. The blue catfish makes for a great sport fish, as well as delectable table food.
<h2>Blue Catfish </h2>As the largest catfish species found in North America, the blue cat has long been a favorite target of freshwater anglers looking for a bullish fight to test their skill and tackle. <p></p> Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River basin systems - extending north into South Dakota and south into Mexico and northern Guatemala. The species has also been introduced into the eastern United States, where it has clearly flourished and grown to record size. Blue catfish frequent deep areas of large rivers and lakes, but are also found in areas with swift current, where they forage for passing food items – both alive and dead. <p></p> Preferred baits when targeting the blue catfish include live and dead herring, bluegill, bream, crawfish, blood worms, chicken livers and stink bait. Although most blue catfish are caught with bait, they can also be tricked with bucktail jigs, plastic worms and flies. <p></p> Anglers targeting blue catfish will usually present their bait on the bottom, as this is where the fish spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. Their large size, strong fights and quality meat all make the blue catfish a top freshwater game fish.