A Cecil County resident has officially been recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as the first-ever state record holder for the invasive flathead catfish. Joshua Dixon caught the 57-pound, 50-inch long flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) on Dec. 27, 2020 fishing near the Lapidum Boat Ramp on the Susquehanna River.
The 34-year-old angler was fishing from shore with Zoom plastic swimbait, and said it took nearly 30 minutes to pull in the flathead. Dixon was using medium-weight spinning tackle, which added to the intensity and length of the battle.
“It was really weird because I thought I snagged a tree,” Dixon said. “It didn’t feel like a fish but after a while, it was going crazy.”
Dixon’s record-breaking catch broke the state’s minimum flathead catfish weight of 40 pounds. The flathead catfish’s weight was officially certified by Jack Manning of Keen Compressed Gas in Elkton. A Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist confirmed the catch.
Dixon donated his record-breaking catch to friends who harvested the fish’s protein-rich filets.
The department maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive – and awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches. Fish caught from privately-owned, fee-fishing waters are ineligible for consideration.
Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and fill out the state record application and call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325. The department recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed, and certified.