Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

April 8, 2013

Marc with 48 pound flathead catfish.

marc_op_040513a

This Op was caught on a trotline in Palo Gaucho with jugs at a depth on 6 or 8 feet.
The depth of the water was unknown since I don’t have a depth finder.  I baited with live
perch on 6/0 forged steel hooks – my lines are heavy duty for these fish.  My neighbor
was with me when I caught Opzilla.  He lets me tie up to his boat dock each spring,
and in return I give him the small blues that I catch.  He doesn’t like the big ones, and I
don’t care to clean very many fish.
When I saw the water swirl and felt a big tug as the line went down, I knew that a had
a big one.  I was rebaiting at the time, and my neighbor wanted me to go get the fish right
away.  I patiently continued to bait hooks knowing that Ops are always hooked in the
lip and the chances of landing one are better if you play them down.  I landed Opzilla with
a gaff given to me several years ago by our late dear friend, Pete Vercher.  This fish about
equaled my best catch.
+++++++
Flathead Catfish is a US native species that today is found in most parts of the US after being introduced to a lot of different waters across the nation due to it’s value as a game and food fish. They can be found in slow moving water in large rivers and streams but can also be found in lakes. They prefer deep water with fallen logs and other hiding places. They prefer live live bait versus cut bait.
Flatheads are close to impossible to breed in aquariums due to their solitary nature but they can be breed in large ponds. In the wild Flathead catfish spawns during the late spring when the water temperature is raising. The male guards the egg and fry in a nest that usually is placed in a cave or near another sunken object that can help provide cover for the nest. The female can lay 100 000 eggs in one spawning. The fry form large schools in and around the nest the first few days but after that they disburse and the males parental duty is then over.
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