Every year as I make my way across the south eastern US filming or competing in catfishing tournaments, I always seem to hear the same stories from the locals about giant monster catfish that lurk in the their waters of that particular town I’m in at the time.
The stories seem to be similar but at the same time; each story has its own version of how these huge catfish have eluded catfish anglers for years.
As each story I hear starts to unfold, I always get tickled on the inside but keep it to myself and always listen to each one patiently with interest and amazement, never attempting to spill the beans on the real truth about the actual size catfish can grow to.
The Top #1 Myth.
Scuba divers that were cleaning the intakes at the bases of a dam said there are catfish down there the size volkswagons and could swallow a man whole and refuse to go back down there.
Other myths I have heard involve a river grapple, a rope and chain, the hind quarters of a goat and winch on a wrecker or jeep with the same end result, the fish always eluded the fisherman somehow and these giant fish still remain uncatchable.
Granted there is some truth to these stories to a certain extent. However there are no catfish in the US that can grow nowhere near the size described in this folklore that could swallow a man whole.
In the past there has been has been some documentation of catfish measuring 5 feet long and weighing in excess of 200 lbs. from the 1800’s.
However the current world record blue catfish was caught in 2011 from John H.Kerr- Buggs Island reservoir near Clarksville VA. And weighed in at 143 pounds and measured 57 inches long.
Although the folklore will always continue to be told for the new generations to hear and the stories will always have different variations but I don’t think we have to worry about our small children and babies getting eat up by these fictitious monster catfish.
Do I believe in monsters?
Yes, any catfish over fifty pounds I consider a monster catfish.
The biggest catfish I have ever caught weighed in at just over 85 pounds and was caught from the Mississippi River in 2010 but I do believe that there is a bluecat somewhere lurking about that will weigh 200 pounds, where it will be caught who knows, but if I had to guess, I would say it will come from one of the wild, naturally free flowing rivers such as Missouri or Mississippi rivers.