State Record Flathead Catfish
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Has a New State Record Flathead Catfish

Florida's flathead catfish record falls again.

They say that records are made to be broken and it is true, some do not last very long. After being broken in 2019, Florida's flathead catfish record has been broken again in 2020 according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The FWC confirmed that Lavon Nowling's giant 69.9-pound flathead just barely edged out Marvin Griffin's 69.3-pounder from last year.

Proving that a good waterway will produce again and again, Nowling's catch came from the same waters as Griffin's, the Yellow River.

One common theme we have noticed with many record breaking catches is that they happen when the angler least expects it and often when they are fishing for an entirely different species.

"I've been deep sea fishing to creek fishing and I never expected to catch a state record fish," Nowling said in an FWC press release. "That day I was fishing for channel catfish and can't believe I caught a huge flathead. I was in the right place at the right time."

Nowling also noted in the release that his previous best catfish was a 54-pounder. The lunker flathead had a 38.25-inch girth and measured 48.5 inches long. He caught the big fish on an unspecified live bait. The catch was officially certified at the Blackwater Fish Hatchery.

Flatheads do grow much larger than this. The world record recognized by the International Game Fish Association is a whopping 123 pounds and was caught in Kansas, but specimens like that are exceedingly rare. Officially, the species is classified as nonnative by the FWC and are only found in the northwest Pandhandle region for now. The FWC notes on their website that the animals made their way into the state from Georgia and Alabama Rivers.

While 2020 has been rough in many aspects, we here at Wide Open Spaces have noted a jump in the number of state records being broken this year with more anglers getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors. Congratulations to Nowling on his awesome catch!

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels