State Wildlife Action Plan
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
A yellow bullhead caught in the Crystal River on Dec. 17 is the
new state record for that species, a type of catfish, according to
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
Tom Flynn of Homosassa was fishing with minnows he had caught at
a boat ramp when he hooked into the catfish. The new state record
yellow bullhead weighed 5 pounds, .75 ounces and was 20 inches in
"Actually, I was fishing for mangrove snapper," Flynn said.
"However, I started catching catfish and decided to keep them. I
caught seven and took them home."
Flynn tried to convince his wife the fish were good eating.
"She's not really a big fan of catfish," Flynn said. "But she
went online to check them out and discovered that the state record
was 2.91 pounds. I knew I had bigger fish than that."
Sure enough, when Flynn checked his catch, he had two fish that
weighed more than the standing state record.
Eric Thomas, an FWC freshwater fish biologist from the Ocala
regional office, verified the new record yellow bullhead.
Yellow bullhead are similar in appearance to the more common
brown bullhead, with a nearly square tail, but the chin barbels
(whiskers) are pale yellow or pink, unlike the somewhat larger
brown bullhead (state record: 5 pounds, 12 ounces) that has darker
pigmented chin barbels.
The previous record was a 2.91-pound yellow bullhead.
Michael Pace caught it in the Withlacoochee River in Levy
County on March 7, 2007.
For a fish to become an official state record, an FWC biologist
must verify the species and weigh it on a certified scale. However,
the FWC also recognizes anglers who catch a memorable-size fish
with a Big Catch certificate. These are issued for 33
different species of freshwater fishes and are subject to less
stringent guidelines to allow an angler to be recognized if the
fish's weight or length exceed minimum standards (see
MyFWC.com/Fishing or the Freshwater Fishing Regulations
For a Big Catch certificate, an adult needs to catch a yellow
bullhead that exceeds either 14 inches in total length or 1.5
pounds (youth standards are 10 inches and 1 pound).
The world record for this species is a 6-pound, 6-ounce yellow
bullhead that John Irvin caught in Bates County, Mo., on May 27,
"I can't believe what good eating these fish are," Flynn said.
"I think I'm going to keep going for them and see if I can catch
the new world's record."