May 19, 2016
Suggested Tweet: State-record flathead #catfish caught by teen, certified by @MyFWC! https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/14a361b #Florida #fishing
Photos available on FWC Flickr site. Go to: http://bit.ly/1WElORm
Teenager catches state-record flathead catfish
Charles Patchen (13) from Alabama caught a 63.8-pound flathead catfish on the Chattahoochee River in Jackson County at 2:30 p.m. on May 15. He beat the previous certified state record by more than eight pounds.
Patchen had reluctantly agreed to go bream fishing Sunday afternoon with his mother and stepfather, Jeanette and Bryan Atwell. After landing his state-record flathead catfish, he was certainly glad he went!
When the bream suddenly stopped biting after a successful morning, Patchen’s stepfather suggested there might be a larger fish lurking in the water scaring off the bream. So they switched from baiting with minnows to a bluegill they had caught. After the second time his bait was hit, Patchen set the hook. He assumed it was hung up on something underwater, so he asked his stepfather for help.
“I grabbed the pole from him, gave it a couple tugs and the fish took off,” said Atwell. “I handed the pole back to Charles and said, ‘GET ‘EM!’”
Patchen fought the catfish hooked on his Zebco 33 with 14-pound test line for nearly two hours while Atwell guided their boat with his trolling motor, following the fish in hopes of tiring it out. The monster flathead catfish eventually gave up the fight and Patchen reeled it in. After the fish flipped over, Atwell had to roll it into their boat because it was too large for their net.
“I was so tired after reeling it in that I fell back into the boat to rest,” said Patchen, the newly awarded state-record holder for flathead catfish. “But I’m glad my mom made me go fishing that day because now I am the catfish master!”
Atwell is well versed in Florida outdoor recreation and conservation, as his father Grady Atwell was a longtime Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission conservation officer. He was quick to point out that he is passing on the tradition, stating, “All I can say is carry a kid fishing.”
FWC Biologist Katie Woodside met with the self-titled ‘catfish master’ and his family the next day to get an official certified weight and measurements and to have the application notarized. The official measurements were 48.03 inches in total length, with a girth of 35.43 inches.
“Charles’ flathead catfish is a great catch to add to our state records — and caught on a 14-pound test line, by a 13-year-old at that! Just one more reason why Florida is the ‘Fishing Capital of the World,’” said Tom Champeau, director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.
The previous certified state record flathead catfish weighed 55.05 pounds and was caught on the Yellow River by James Auston Jr. in 2011.
State records require a biologist to verify the species and have a certified weight for the notarized application. The FWC maintains records for 33 freshwater species. Other state records can be seen at MyFWC.com/Fishing (select Freshwater and then State Record Fish).
Patchen will receive a state-record certificate and online recognition on the FWC website, along with qualifying his first Big Catch towards becoming a catfish specialist or master angler. Big Catch is a long standing, family-friendly angler recognition program that awards anglers a certificate if they qualify after submitting a photo of their catch online and if the catch exceeds specified weights or lengths. For more information about the Big Catch program, go to BigCatchFlorida.com. For an adult, any flathead over 25 pounds or longer than 36 inches qualifies, and for youth (under 16 years old), 18.75 pounds or 27 inches long qualify for a certificate.
If you are ready for some big fish and good eating, flatheads abound in the Chattahoochee, Escambia, Apalachicola and other big panhandle rivers.
IN THE NEWS 2016
Capt. Ron Presley
Anglers fishing the Big Cat Quest (BCQ) Charity Event out of Tunica, MS have a new appreciation for quality catfishing equipment. They challenged the Mighty Mississippi on Saturday June 11 equipped with a kiddy rod and their own favorite reel .Some chose Snoopy Poles. Some chose Spider Man Poles. At least one was a Disney’s Frozen Pole. As long as it was a kid’s pole it was legal. The rules were simple. All anglers were allowed to weigh in one fish. “Each angler is fishing for themselves to catch their weigh-in fish on their own Snoopy Pole,” said Freeman with a smile. Freeman described the event as a break from more serious Big Cat Quest action while noting the fact that the proceeds would go to charity.
Other rules included no trailering. Anglers were required to launch their boats from Tunica at River Park. A mandatory Capt. Meeting took place at 6 am before launching on Saturday morning. Boats took to the water following the meeting.
When time ran out and his Spiderman Rod was stowed it was Kevin Breedlove who brought the first place fish to the scales. He claimed the top honors with a 20.70-pound blue cat. Breedlove is a retired army guy from Clarksville, TN. He has been fishing the BCQ trail for a couple of years now and this was his first win.
There must have been some good karma on the boat because Breedlove’s fishing partner Eddie Huey won the second place spot. Huey boated a 17.20-pound blue catfish to claim the runner up honors.
Third place went to Dino Meador with a 10.85-pound blue. Meador is a regular competitor on the BCQ tour with Larry Muse. They both fished with Dock Demons from Zebco. After the event Muse said jokingly, “I might start a kiddie pole group.” That statement was in the true spirit of the event, which was all about having fun and supporting the charity event.
for more on this event and pictures click here
August 7, 2016
Today is a sad day for Catfishing one of the true pioneers of Catfishing has died. James Earl Smith We all knew him as "Snuffy". He was two time World Champion of Catfishing he was my mentor, fishing and hunting buddy, godfather to my son and loved by myself as a father. He was admired by others you know now in the Catfishing World such as David Couglin, Ray Ferguson, Rickey Matlock, Clifton Crutcher, Phil King and many others. I was blessed to have shared my boat and my life with this man! May God Bless his Family during this time as for me and the WCC The National Catfish Derby we will miss and love him with all our hearts. Rest in Peace Snuffy, God has one of the best fishing in heaven!!!
Forty-seven boats and 105 anglers competed in the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat quest on June 26 and 27, 2016. The top 7 teams divided a purse worth more than $10,000 in cash and prizes. The event was hosted by the Rock Falls Tourism Office.[BCQ in Rock Falls was a family oriented event.]
Big Cat Quest
Anglers could fish from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day. The catfish teams were allowed to trailer their boats to any launch location on the Rock River from Rockton to Rock Island. Following each day of fishing anglers were required to have their boat on the trailer and in the weigh-in line at Rock Falls Riverfront boat parking lot no later than 4:00 p.m. The scales officially opened at 11:00 each day.
When the total weights were recorded, braggin’ rights and top honors went to a local Rock Falls angler Joe Dyer. He is no stranger to the winner’s circle, saying he has won many catfish tournaments in his lifetime.
“I compete in these tournaments very often,” said the 58-year-old Dyer in a newspaper interview. “I’ve been fishing on the [Rock River] for 40 years and I have been guiding on the river for 20 years.”
Dyer caught the biggest fish on Saturday, weighing in at 19 pounds. His total Saturday weight was 51.95 pounds. He added 27.30 pounds on Sunday to claim first place and earn $4,000 in cash and prizes.
Following in second place was Ed and Frank Sanders. The Sterling, IL team brought 5 catfish to the scales each day and finished with a total weight of 65.75 pounds. They caught 35.55 pounds on Saturday and held down the second place spot after day-one, but failed to overcome Dyer’s large first day lead.
Other winners included the team of Richards and Denison. They caught 23.30 pounds on Saturday and 32.60 pounds on Sunday. The total weight of 56.80 was good enough to earn the third place check.
In the fourth place spot was Sanders and Kuehl. They put 23.95 pounds in the boat on Saturday and 32.60 on Sunday for a total weight of 56.45 pounds.
Rounding out the top five was the team of Bennett and Rudecki. Their catch of 22.05 on Saturday and 33.90 on Sunday gave them a total of 55.95 pounds. They also won big fish of the tournament at 22.30 pounds.
For more on this event and some pictures click here
Epilogue: As an added incentive to fish the BCQ contest, anglers were fishing for a Ford F-150 truck. The vehicle was offered as a bonus at the weekend tournament by Majeski Motors in Sterling, IL. To win an angler would have to catch a state record catfish of any species. If a record was busted, most anglers thought it would probably be a flathead. The current record holder is Jim Klauzer of Springfield. He caught an 81-pound, 6.4-ounce flathead catfish in Sangchris Lake in August of 2015. Unfortunately, no one was able to top Klauzer’s record.
· March 24 ·
So very honored to receive the 2016 New Madrid, Mo. Tourism impact of the year from City and Chamber of Commerce Director Christina McWaters. I am very humbled and honored to have had myself and The Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest recognized for this tourism award.
By ODU Contributor Capt. Ron Presley
Published July 03, 2016
Article from Jefferson City, MO July 2, 2016
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CALHOUN CO. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:
Bass Pro Big Cat Quest will visit Calhoun County next weekend
Saturday, July 16-17, 2016
The Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce that Calhoun County will be one of the stops on the 2016 Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest Tournament (BCQ) tour.
Locals are encouraged to enter the tournament, as well as attend the weigh-in event Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
This year's tour will visit Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, Illinois, Alabama, Missouri and Texas. Calhoun County is the only Florida stop on the schedule.
Ken Freeman, event organizer, describes the BCQ as a series of grassroots tournaments that make up a national tournament trail. "The thing about this tournament trail," explains Freeman, "is that we create a competition in various cities and towns where local anglers are able to participate. Their participation gives them a chance to qualify for a national championship. It also helps to get the towns involved in the bigger picture of promoting catfishing."
The Calhoun County event will begin Saturday, July 16 with registration from 2 to 6 p.m. at Neal Landing located at 15929 SE River Street in Blountstown. Fishing hours will be from 6 p.m. until 12 noon on July 17, 2016. All boats must be on trailers and in weigh-in line no later than 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Freeman added, "2016 is looking to be a fantastic year for catfishing and Bass Pro Shop's Big Cat Quest. We look forward to seeing everyone at our events."
Due to issues beyond our control upon the request of Mrs. Kim Bauer Director, of the Portsmouth Ohio. Convention & Business Bureau, we will be cancelling the May 28th Portsmouth, Ohio stop and rescheduling for 2017 stop. Due to mother nature, excessive rainfall & bad river conditions, the docks and other supporting elements have not been able to be put in place to conduct this Big Cat Quest scheduled event.
Anyone fishing this event to qualify for the 2016 National Championship......please call Ken immediately at 731-234-1888 to make arrangements to get you qualified .
Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and we hope to see you at a future Big Cat Quest Event soon. Next Stop is Tunica MS. on June 11, 2016