Skip to main content

New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river.

New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida

The state record for flathead catfish in Florida was only a year old when Lavon Nowling broke it recently. (Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Florida has a new state record for flathead catfish, with the report of a 70-pounder caught on the same river as the previous record.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Lavon Nowling's recent catch on live bait in the Yellow River has been certified as a record. His catch weighed 69.9 pounds, measured 48.5 inches long, and had a girth of 38.25 inches.

The previous record, caught last year by Marvin Griffin on the same river, weighed 69.3 pounds.

Record FL Flathead
Lavon Nowling's state-record flathead catfish in Florida beat the previous record by more than a half-pound. (Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

"I’ve caught some good ones before this fish, but none of them were more than 54 pounds,” the Santa Rosa County resident said in an FWC news release. "I've been fishing since I was old enough to hold a pole and have been fishing on Yellow River as long as I can remember."


Record FL Flathead
Lavon Nowling watches his state-record flathead catfish officially weighed. (Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

"I've been deep-sea fishing to creek fishing and I never expected to catch a state record fish," Nowling added. "That day I was fishing for channel catfish and can't believe I caught a huge flathead. I was in the right place at the right time."


The record fish was weighed on a certified scale at FWC's Blackwater Hatchery near Holt.

Record FL Flathead
The record flathead catfish weighed 69.9 pounds. (Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Flathead catfish are a nonnative 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 certify a new freshwater Florida state record, an FWC employee must witness its weighing on a certified scale and a biologist must identify the species. 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. Contact information for FWC regional offices can be found at MyFWC.com/Contact by clicking on Contact Regional Offices.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.
Fishing

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.
Fishing

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Fishing

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.
Gear

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.
Gear

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now