Post By: Wattzz Posted: 2/3/2015 11:25:33 AMPoints: 13005
HASTY, Colo. - A La Junta man has crushed the previous state record for flathead catfish. On Jan. 19, Tony Chavez pulled a monster from the stilling basin below John Martin Reservoir. Chavez's catfish weighed nearly double that of the previous record fish that was caught back in 2011.
Chavez said he lured his new record-setting 39 9/16 inch, 27 pound 3.68 ounce flathead catfish with chicken livers. The previous record holder was a fish from Pueblo Reservoir that weighed 15 pounds 6 ounces and was 32 2/8 inches long.
Flathead catfish were stocked at John Martin sporadically from 1994 - 2009. These fish were acquired from the state of Arkansas through special trades. Although no flathead catfish have been stocked since 2009, populations of these fish continue to be evident and appear to be self-sustaining.
Flathead catfish have tremendous growth potential. Fish weighing well over 50 pounds are common in the midwestern states. The angling world record for flathead catfish is more than 120 pounds. CPW aquatic staff have sampled several large flatheads at John Martin in recent years, so this record may be broken again in the near future.
"We are really excited for Tony and for John Martin Reservoir," said, Jim Ramsay, CPW Aquatic Biologist. "It is gratifying to see a fish of this size caught in southeastern Colorado. This fish was taken from the stilling basin below John Martin Dam which means the fish escaped from the main reservoir during water releases."
Ramsay added that many more flatheads could be available to catch in this area. The best opportunity to catch flatheads is in the main lake, Ramsay said. These fish can be found along the dam and the rocky points of the north and south shorelines.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife tracks fish records by weight in 46 different species categories. Potential record-holders must have a valid Colorado fishing license or be under the age of 16. The fish in question must be weighed on a state-certified scale, and a weight receipt must be signed by a person who witnessed the weighing. The fish, before being frozen, gutted or altered in any way, must be examined and identified by a CPW biologist or district wildlife manager before an application is submitted.
LOL Been on it for 2 weeks, you guys are slow, his spot is mine now after driving 400 miles HAHA It was posted already almost 2 weeks ago here just under another thread, pics are there. Dont bother trying to find it now, I have moved everything that could identify the location. That's just the way us catters roll, we got to protect the large fish and the locations they come from in this situation, the area is so small. IMO.AND clean them up! Leave nothing behind.
But in reality the Channel cats we are catching are a lot bigger anyway, so may just wait on the flats for a couple more years.
One of us full time catters may get it. Who knows for sure, but it sure is nice to know they are growing and getting larger.
I had already knew about it Chris, but your FB post pushed me to hit the road plus I needed to go see my uncle in Plow. Thank you A lot of chat in the back ground for a few days about this. To me its proof they are doing well and we well finallly see some large fish while im still fishing in this state anyway.
The grass carp record may fall to a Flathead in the near future, now that they are at the size they will eat only live pray for the most part. Its less likely you will ever catch one in the winter and on liver and in two feet of water, that's what makes his catch a great and interesting one to me.
Reply by: lil hooker Posted: 2/3/2015 2:20:34 PM Points: 719
This was posted attached to the official news story..
"About a 2 1/2 weeks ago (January 16th to be exact), my family and I were at the John Martin Reservoir basin to fish. The water was still kind of frozen. While we were there, there was a dead catfish, floating near the shore as a result of the freeze that took place. The freeze froze over the very shallow water, entirely. The catfish was identical to the one that this man is claiming he caught. We pulled it out, and brought it on shore, after breaking the ice surrounding it. There were five people there to witness this. A woman, who just so happened to show up at the same time, taking pictures, took a photo of it, with my son, who is 6, however, she has yet to send the photos to us. That man is in the EXACT same location we pulled that catfish out. Due to the cool weather and location, where there is not much sun, that catfish would still be there. It was frozen when we took it out. Notice how the man has no fishing gear with him. I am challenging him! He is claiming he caught a dead catfish!"
" Look at the side of it. Do you see all of the scratches? Those were postmortem. They are from the large stick that we used to maneuver it to shore. We actually scratched it up quite a bit. Lastly, look at the eyes and discoloration of the skin. That dude is holding a rotting corps of a catfish. Gotta hand it to him though. I'm pretty sure it REALLY stinks!"
Read what I just posted Chris you may have missed it. I know about all that also. But sense you brought it up, let me add my observations while there. The only place he could have caught was less then 2 feet deep and a area the size of two or three cars. everything else was frozen solid at the time I was there and I check the temps and figured it was solid the rest of the time before that two. Typically flats will not eat liver when they reach that size at all, they also are very lethargic in the winter. Little to no activity. doesn't mean they wont eat liver and doesn't mean they are totally not active in the winter. Its just interesting to me that one was caugh on liver in less than 2 feet of water. You have to be one stealthy MF to catch a cat at your feet, I know whats its like to do that.
One thing to keep in mind he does have a cat rod in hand. So i will give him the benefit of a doubt, unless shown other wise
So where did what you just posted originate from? And from who? E-Mail through FB if you want.
I would love to see the pictures of the other person holding the fish.
After reading the comments it sounds like a fish "tale". This is my favorite catfish spot and I have fished it alot the last couple summers. I find it very hard to believe this fish was caught in 2 feet of water using chicken liver. The bigger fish stay around the holes at the concrete by the dam a majority of the time and the chances of catching one close to shore this time of year are slim to none. I have a feeling the record will be overturned but we will see. It would be a tragedy to see a record of this proportion go down in the books with a dead fish...
I'm no expert but I've caught a lot of monster flatheads back in Missouri and that does look like it's dead, it's also almost mission impossible to catch one of them in very cold waters. Seems like it should be a little bit of a lighter color towards the bottom of the fish but it's still really dark.
Reply by: Catman1979 Posted: 2/17/2015 9:15:51 AM Points: 570
My guess was that they wouldn't have put it in the books if they had no reason to suspect foul play. So, in other words, what on earth are they doing, and who are the folks lookin' at these fish in the first place?
I was really rooting for the guy, kind of a bummer (but not a shock) to see somebody stoop that low.
Reply by: FISHRANGLER Posted: 2/17/2015 9:55:46 AM Points: 1682
I knew it would be at least investigated after I was in that location just a couple days later, it just seemed impossible to me that this fish was legally caught. IMO The color of the fish is way off. And the damage to its head seemed very unusual to me. The damage to the head seemed consistent with what the lady describe when her family pulled the fish out of the water with the stick.
Timing of year, the water temp was to cold for active flatheads. Ice waist land when I was there and that ice did not form that thick over night. The spot he caught it at was only 1.5 feet deep He said he caught it on liver and flats that size are live pray predators. He also said it was a 45 minute fight which I find interesting because he is using a cat rod that came spooled from Walmart with 20 pound Cajun Red fireline. The area that he caught it had ice open only the size of 3 cars, that's a hell of a fight in 1.5 feet for 45 minutes. Also to catch a flatthead in 1.5 feet of water at your feet is a awesome task in its self and then to fight it for 45 minutes right there is crazy.
This is all My opinion of the situation. And I still could be completely wrong. Because there has been some black flats caught just not here in CO And it is possible it could have been caught on liver? And I imagine it could have came right up to his feet and he had his bait right there.
As far as the Ranger that may have inspected this cat. I have had rangers call Channel cats Blues here in CO. Some Rangers may not know what is normal and what is abnormal and things to look for in this situation. The ranger may have never seen a flathead that size before. Who knows what happened there? They may have given the guy the benefit of doubt, because there was not any reason not to, until that lady spoke up.
Reply by: nicrfisher Posted: 2/17/2015 10:03:40 AM Points: 94
Catman I asked myself the same questions. If the fish was dead and in bad condition how did it make it as far as the record books without any DOW officer noticing? The only thing that I can think is that the fish had been frozen in the ice and had not yet started to decay. It could have just been overlooked since big flatheads are not a usual sight in colorado. A simple lie detector test is all that's needed to clear things up....
Reply by: nicrfisher Posted: 2/17/2015 10:16:52 AM Points: 94
FISHANGLER you are right on point with your assessment especially since you got a first hand look of the conditions a couple days after this fish was caught. If this fish was caught any other time of year I wouldn't of even questioned it because I know fish this size are in there. With that said, given the circumstances I find it highly unlikely this fish was caught alive. Not impossible but a very low chance.
Reply by: FISHRANGLER Posted: 2/17/2015 10:41:32 AM Points: 1682
Maybe we could get Brian Williams to do the investigating. It seems to be the job for him.
Anyway they wont do a lie detector test, they cannot force the guy to take it. They probably would not even ask him to take one.
Its a family of five that has made the claim and the proof would now be put on him if he wants it. So he could probably pay to take a lie detector test for them.
But I doubt that CPW would pay for that or even go down that road when they have these people saying that it was dead.
And as far as I know he did not break any laws he could be charged with other then then maybe fraud but then CPW would have to prove it was. And once they did that, then maybe penalties to re-coop experiences.
Reply by: yard dogs Posted: 2/17/2015 11:03:16 AM Points: 622
That is some crazy sh%#. Who would do such a thing. People never cease to amaze me. If he really did lie about catching the fish, and had his kids there for all of it, that is just beyond low. Bad enough to be a liar, but leading your children down the same path is as bad as it gets. I agree with Lew - should at least be a fine for somethin like this.
Reply by: Kolorado KingFisher Posted: 2/17/2015 11:49:03 AM Points: 82
as ridiculous as this whole thing is...I am not surprised by it in the least, these sorts of scenarios are relatively common. I am sure you all remember the walleye caught out of Lake Loveland on a fly claiming to be the C&R state record at 30", when that fish was no where near that mark, not even close!!! Unfortunately there is very little integrity in the world and this seems to be amplified and even in some cases accepted among those who fish.
Anyway, any of you cat guys break out the rods for the season yet? It sure was looking like it wasn't far off until these recent storms came through, I think it is going to be an early season...I predict the kitty action will be in full swing sometime this March.
I have never seen a black flat head. The only time flats get close to black, is just a variation of the rusty camo pattern they have, looks like a really dark burnt brown color, but still hints of lighter gradations. That one he "caught" was black as the night.
The chicken liver as bait thing is horse sh*t. Yes, a flat would eat liver, but only if it was almost on's death door and highly malnourished. J-mart is THRIVING with consistent bait from crawdads, minnows, shad, gizzard shad and even leeches coming down from The Ark. That spot he caught it as is like a Country Buffet. If anything the real challenge is presenting your bait in a way that is attractive enough to call one in and away from all the other food around.
The concern I have still is in regards to inspections. The blue/channel confusion is very understandable, but not a flat. So this inspector sees a flat that is dead as a door nail, and with a gash along it's head. Ok, fair enough it may have been dead for a day tops pending inspection, but it (literally) doesn't take a scientist to tell if a fish has been a dead boat for two or more days, especially the rot around the eyes and fins.
So now this little boy of his is wondering why everyone is patting his pops on the back for "catching" the fish, when he saw his dad pull it on shore with his own eyes. If you by chance see some chubby hespanic man running in the water and grabbing fish by hand twenty years from now, and telling everybody he is "catching" fish, well, we know who his dad is.
If he was smart he would have taken it home and cut it open. He would be literally the only guy in Colorado that knew exactly what a flat ate at thirty some odd pounds. He would have had a huge advantage in his favor, but he cheated.
According to the US Fish And Wildlife Service National Fishing License Report, Colorado had 674,775 license holders in 2013 (the last year I could find data for). Even if you consider that 1/3 of those were out of state licenses, it still means a lot of people spending a lot of time fishing. So I question the statements that this is relatively common (lying about state records), and that fisherman have even less integrity than other people, when those statements are based on two examples.
Please excuse me if I missed it somewhere. I thought that any fish that was to be considered for a record had to be alive when it is weighed and measured not dead. I could be and probably am wrong but that is my understanding.
No I don't believe a fish has to be alive to be submitted as a state record. I think the only requirement is that the fish has to be weighed on a state certified scale and the fish turned over to the DOW for inspection. Otherwise you would be out of luck if you caught a state record fish in the middle of the night.
The state does not even require state inspection. The inspection part is only required if the fish species is in question. The CPW will if they are in the area inspect the fish or you can take it to them. But only if they ask the person to, it does not need to be though. Most are.
The process can be done without a state Ranger inspecting the fish. In some cases where they absolutely would need to see the fish would be something like my old record, where Blues were once stocked on Aurora Res and Channel cats too. Because they are so close and hard to tell a part they need to inspect the fish.
It would be the same if you had a black or white crappie. Even SMB and LMB and Spotted Bass need to be inspected sometimes because after put on ice fish look similar.
All you need is scale that has been certified for that time frame, most scales are calibrated and given a cert every year. The State Ranger does NOT need to be present for the weighing of the fish. Print the paper work that has to be submitted with a witness and photos of the fish. This paper work can be filled out by anyone, but your better off having a Ranger doing it. But most if not all, are inspected to my knowledge and the Rangers will fill out the paper work.
The fish cannot be gutted or frozen before hand. Most people will want to get the fish weighed ASAP to get the fish at its prime weight.
But a person could catch a fish and put it on ice and keep it for days as long as its not frozen or gutted and can be certified later.
So catching a fish at night, that doesn't matter, if your going for the Dead fish record. Which is what most are after. Some are after both, like myself. Records by length and weight. Some are just after the Catch and release record by length.
While I agree with Fishrangler and others that this record claim is very highly suspicious, I doubt CPW can do much to prove that this person was lying.... anyone is considered innocent until he is proven guilty....and proving that he lies is not easy.... I doubt anyone would be able to (and if any, also willing to) provide any clear and acceptable evidence that the person was not telling the truth... it is sad to see this, but for some people, fame means a lot and many are willing to do anything to get it...
I would add, that the CPW will not say he lied because they would then have to prove it, or face law suits I'm sure. So removal from the record books is all that most likely will happen. Anything else, and they would need to prove it happened a certain way. This way they dont need to do anything.
If i remember correctly the state record striper and the one record grass carp ended the same way with removal and nothing ever said as to why.
Ahh, ok...so similar incidence happened before already... yeah, I think CPW has already recognize that this record claim is highly suspicious and therefore removed it from the list of record....That's good to know that CPW listened to what the public are talking about or even better, read the posts in FXR :)...
Just happened to come across this photo on another fishing website. A guy that claims to be a fellow co worker with the man that supposedly caught the fish posted this along with the picture.
COULDN'T FIND A RANGER THAT DAY SO HE HAD TO WAIT TILL THE NEXT DAY. CAUGHT IT ON SHAD THAT'S ALL I KNOW
After looking at this picture it gave me a whole new perspective and it appears to me that the fish had been dead for some in my opinion. I have caught a number of flatheads over the last two summers and I have not seen any that have looked like this even after being on a stringer all night long. If the fish wasn't turned over to a ranger for a day after it was caught I could easily see how they would have gave the man the benefit of a dought. Just glad to see everything was hopefully set straight.
I got confirmation today. It will stay off the record.
So messed up and so sad.
From someone like myself that chases record almost full time this really make me upset. I have planned with my friends many trips to chase this flathead record we have talked about it for days some times on the shore line.
Im just very happy that it was turned back over to the original record holder and a true sportsman can try to obtain it later.
Good to know. All jokes aside this fish could have easily slipped into the record books permanently if a few people didn't speak up. It's sad that it even got that far. It takes a lot of nerve to take credit for a dead fish....
Reply by: cookster Posted: 2/19/2015 9:13:23 AM Points: 61766
I think they should line that dude up next to the guy that weighed it in for record and give them a three stooges slap 5 or 6 times and make the kid watch and tell him this is what happens when you try to lie about a dead fish.
Catfish are good hibernators. You can freeze them and they'll come back to life. Just like they burrow in the mud for the winter. Just can't kill catfish. He must have saw it twitch so he noodled it before it got away. Legit.
The next record flathead will come out of Pueblo this summer. Also, I am not a big catfish guy but I thought flathead prefer live bait such blue gills. What is interesting is the last two state records have come under fire.
Blue Gill.....private lake (Pueblo area). No one even checked his license but he doesn't need to spend the money if he is fishing private lakes. But he CAN waste the CPW's time that we pay for to certify is catch.
Flathead....did anyone check to see if he had a license? Also, what did he do with his catch? Eat it or mount it? I guess that is his decision. I have only fished behind the dam at couple of times for saugeye but I hear it is loaded with rattlesnakes.
I highly doubt he ate the fish it looks like it was fairly rotten. Yea there are rattlesnakes everywhere at John martin and I would discourage anyone from making the drive out there. The fishing is no good anyway, that was the last big catfish in the lake and it died. Also, despite what people say flatheads love chicken livers best. :)
thanks Ajax That was the third trip we had taken to get him on a big cat. He still talks about it today, even though he has caught bigger Channels. Rob has taken many vids of some of our chatches with the kids.
I feel bad for the lessons he is teaching his child. Leave trash at your fishing places, lie about things to officers and the world what an embarrassing parent. Wouldn't want to know this guy or be his kid. Pretty sad glad the truth prevails