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Record Setting Maryland Blue Catfish Released Back into the Wild Raises all Sorts of Questions

Maryland State Record Blue CatfishNews came yesterday from the WorldFishingNetwork that an 84 lb record breaking blue catfish was caught off the Potomac river. Ed Jones and his guide Captain Josh Fitchett have not disclosed their method of catching the fish, which I am sure is on everyone’s minds. Stranger still, the two anglers agreed to keep the fish alive while hauling it to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for weight and certification.

Once the two hard registered the fish it was placed back in the Potomac with tracking devices provided by the state. Curiously, they allowed the monster fish back in the water even though blue catfish are not supposed to be released after catch. The state is trying to rid the mighty river of these large fish that were originally stockpiled in the 1970’s.

This story raises all sorts of questions for fisherman today. First we look at the decision for the pair of fisherman to release the fish. Generally speaking an 84 lb catfish of this girth and magnitude would not necessarily be the prettiest fish on a wall. Nevertheless I have seen taxidermists do far greater wonders. This could have been an incredible showing piece with few to even match its story.

Whether or not to mount a fish has long been an argument outside of the fishing and hunting community and stayed a matter of politics. However in recent years I have seen a renewed interest in alienating the art of taxidermy and much of it is going out of style from the stand point of casual fisherman. You might not expect the same from professionals but we may see a trend emerging.

After it was agreed the two would not keep the fish to mount one has to wonder why the animal was allowed back into the Potomac especially since the DNR director from Maryland is quoted as saying that the fish are a major threat to the native species. If these monster fish (no offense to the catfish) are not wanted, why on earth are they putting the biggest one back in the river? I understand there are some worthy tests to consider, but at what costs?

Finally, it leaves me to question or decisions to place fish in bodies of water that don’t belong there to begin with. We see this all the time with fisheries stocking their local ponds and lakes in parks or private communities with carp. However, this aside some nasty creatures have been stocked and many not intentionally. This is especially true of the razor sharp toothed Chinese fish that can walk on land. Many DNR departments are offering lucrative bounties on these specimens. Is there a better way to solve problems of algae or micro-organisms in our water ways?

My guess these are questions that have been going through the minds of the fisherman who landed this beautiful catfish. It is obvious that they enjoy the story, the hunt and the fight far more than the show of a monster catch fish on their walls. Knowing you are, as a fisherman taking part in a project to promote the betterment of waterways and fisheries is at the heart of good sportsmanship and being a general good citizen. I imagine these two will have some great catches to come and would be awesome to tag along with for a fishing trip.

Scott is a guest contributor from Fishing Line, a blog that likes to focus on reviews for all kinds of tackle available to fisherman.

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