January 06, 2021
By Game and Fish Staff
Flathead catfish may be an invasive species in the state of Maryland, but that doesn't matter to one fortunate angler who caught a big one a couple of days after Christmas.
At first, Joshua Dixon thought he hooked a submerged tree, but a half-hour later on Dec. 27 he landed the state’s first record flathead catfish. Officially recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a record, the 57-pound, 50-inch fish was caught from the shoreline with a lure and gear traditionally used for bass.
Dixon was fishing near the Lapidum Boat Ramp on the Susquehanna River with a Zoom soft-plastic swimbait and medium-weight spinning tackle. It took him nearly 30 minute to bring the trophy to shore.
"It was really weird because I thought I snagged a tree," Dixon said in a news release. "It didn't feel like a fish but after a while, it was going crazy."
Dixon donated the fish to a friend who turned the brute into delicious fillets.
The record-breaking catch eclipsed the state's minimum flathead catfish weight of 40 pounds. It was officially certified by Jack Manning of Keen Compressed Gas in Elkton, and confirmed by a Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist.
The department maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive – and awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches. Fish caught from privately owned, fee-fishing waters are ineligible for consideration.
Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and fill out the state record application and call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325. The department recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed, and certified.