SOCIAL CIRCLE — Angler Earnest Timpson of Edison (Calhoun County) reeled in the new state record blue catfish from Lake Walter F. George on Feb. 2. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, this 80 pound, four-ounce, 49-inch long catch beats the former state record by more than five pounds. The previous record weighed in at 75 pounds and was caught in 2008 from a private pond near Carrollton by Tyler Dodson.
"It is always exciting for anyone to reel in a state record catch as it reminds us that Georgia is such a fantastic place for anglers because there are numerous fishing opportunities and resources available, from big rivers and reservoirs to small neighborhood lakes," said Division Fisheries Chief John Biagi. "The two most recent anglers to have held this blue catfish record also show that age is not a factor in landing a state record — Dodson was 15 years old and Timpson is 67."
Blue catfish are one of the largest species of North American catfish. The world record of 124 pounds was caught in the Mississippi River in May 2005.
The fish have a slate blue back fading to white on the belly, and their lack of spots differentiates them from channel catfish. As opportunistic predators, they feed on crayfish, mussels, frogs and nearly anything available.
Blue catfish are native to the Coosa River drainage system, living primarily in large rivers and have been introduced to the lower Chattahoochee, Oconee and Altamaha rivers in Georgia.
For information about state record fish or the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook, go to www.gofishgeorgia.com.