The huge flathead Joe Granata caught on the Ohio River on September 24 would have shattered the Pennsylvania state file by greater than 8 kilos had it been hauled in a few miles upstream. However the 64-pound, 8-ounce “river monster” was hooked simply inside West Virginia. Nonetheless, the brute marked an necessary milestone: It was a brand new private finest for the hardcore angler and match competitor who spends numerous hours on the water every year in pursuit of huge catfish.
Granata, who is understood for his YouTube channel Hammer-Down Catfishing, was scanning a piece of the Ohio River in West Virginia, a few mile past the Pennsylvania state line, when he recognized an enormous log jam close to the center of the channel. His fish-finder confirmed plenty of baitfish staged on the quilt, and he picked out some larger marks on the perimeter that he suspected had been mudcats. He moved his boat about 80 yards upstream and set out a number of rods baited with a mix of gizzard shad and minimize mooneye. After boating a few 20-pounders, he and his mates endured a brief lull earlier than one in all his Massive Cat Fever medium-heavy rods “simply folded over.” An enormous flathead had taken the mooneye.
“He made one actual loopy run as quickly as he was hooked,” Granata says. “Flatheads are infamous for operating proper again into construction, so I preserve the drag very tight on my rods after they’re within the rod holders. That approach I can flip the fish instantly, in order that they don’t get again in a snag and break the road. However he was taking line prefer it was free-spooled, and I knew proper there that wow, it was a robust fish.”
After a few minutes, Granata was capable of flip the large cat and acquire line. “After the preliminary struggle, a flathead will swim alongside the underside of the river proper towards the boat,” he explains. “Nearly all of the struggle is correct on the boat. When you begin pulling them up off the underside, that’s after they freak out. There’s actually nothing you are able to do however maintain on tight.”
After a Good Battle, Granata Managed to Boat the Monster
Granata’s fish was properly in need of the longstanding West Virginia state file, which is a 70-pound flathead that was caught in 1956 by L. L. McClung on the Little Kanawha River. In the meantime, Pennsylvania’s state file flathead is barely a 56-pound, 3-ounce fish that was caught in 2020 on the Schuylkill River close to the Philadelphia neighborhood of East Falls. Flatheads within the jap half of Pennsylvania, the place the brand new state file was caught, develop quick, whereas these within the western half take a long time to succeed in trophy dimension, in accordance with Granata, who usually fishes with biologists that examine the species within the space.
“How lengthy it takes the flatheads in our a part of the state to get to trophy-class dimension—which is usually 30 years or longer—is form of wonderful,” he says. “They’ve aged flatheads in our space which might be 52 years outdated, however I can inform you from being out on a regular basis fishing, there should not that many trophy-size fish on the market. And that makes it all of the extra necessary to launch these massive fish again to the river.” Granata would additionally wish to see higher rules to guard the species. Present Pennsylvania rules permit anglers to catch 50 mudcats per day with no minimal dimension restrict and no closed season. It wouldn’t be troublesome to significantly harm the inhabitants with regs like that, he says, “after which we’d have to attend 30 or 40 years to get our fishery again.”
Learn Subsequent: Angler Catches Wild-Trying Piebald Catfish from the Tennessee River
Granata launched his trophy catch. He hopes to in the future boat a Pennsylvania state file whereas fishing the Three Rivers system within the western a part of the state. “There’d be some pleasure in that, and it will be a terrific objective to set,” he says.”I believe it’s each angler’s objective, at the back of their thoughts, to carry a state file sometime. However I’m on the market making an attempt to interrupt my very own file each day, all the time making an attempt to catch a much bigger fish than I caught yesterday.”
And Granata says that’s by no means going to vary, state file or not. “I work arduous to get higher at finding these massive fish persistently, so it was an indescribable feeling to see it repay,” he says of the 64-pounder. “However the humorous factor is, proper after we launched that fish, I used to be like, ‘all proper, time to go; Let’s discover the 70-pounder.’ That’ll by no means finish. It’s the lure of catching a large. These fish are large, and it blows your thoughts how massive and highly effective they’re. There’s simply one thing about tangling with the monster within the river.”