Possible State and World Record Catfish in Virginia
The State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is reviewing the application for a potential new state record blue catfish that will be only the third confirmed freshwater fish over 100 pounds in the Commonwealth. The monster blue cat weighed in at exactly 143 pounds and measured 57 inches in length with a girth of 43.5 inches. An effort is being made to complete the certification process sometime this week.
The huge cat was caught by Richard Nicholas "Nick"Anderson in John H. Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake) on Saturday, June 18, near the Goat Island section of the lake. The previous state record blue catfish (109 pounds ) was caught by Tony Milam in Buggs Island Lake near the confluence of the Dan and Roanoke rivers on March 17, 2011.
Anderson was fishing with his father and brother when he hooked the potential world record fish. After forty-five minutes, the fish was finally wrangled aboard their pontoon boat. The fish was weighed at Mecklenburg Supply Inc. in Chase City, Virginia, which was one of the few venues available with a scale large enough to accommodate the big fish. The weigh-in was witnessed by a VDGIF Conservation Police Officer and a VDGIF Fisheries Biologist.
"It's the biggest fish I've ever seen to come out of fresh water" said Dan Michaelson, a VDGIF Fisheries Biologist who certified the species as blue catfish. "Buggs Island Lake is one of the most productive systems in Virginia, and blue catfish take advantage of the four different shad species to feed on, especially the gizzard shad," Michaelson added. Blue catfish have become one of the most sought after sport fish in the lake in recent years, and Buggs Island has produced three state record blue catfish in the last decade. The tidal James River has also produced its share of big blue cats in recent years, and the two hotspots have traded the state record on more than one occasion.
Along with certification by the Virginia State Record Fish Committee, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) will handle official certification of the trophy blue catfish as a potential new world record. If certified by the IGFA, the Virginia blue catfish will shatter the previous world record, a 130 lb blue catfish caught in the Missouri River in 2010.