Note: This item is more than a year old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Feb. 21, 2013 — Update: This news release has been corrected to reflect the fact that the fish was a blue catfish, not a channel catfish.
Little Lake Does Not Always Mean Little Fish
ATHENS—The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center’s main stocked fishing pond, Lake Zebco, covers only about an acre and a half. (A full football field including end zones covers 1.32 acres.) Walking at a brisk pace, you can circle it in three or four minutes.
The lake’s small size does not give a hint of what monsters lurk beneath its surface. On the morning of Valentine’s Day, Jonathan (“Gonzo”) Gonzalez of Kaufman caught a blue catfish measuring 35.25 inches long and 23 inches in girth and weighing 18.6 pounds.
Gonzalez, a frequent visitor to TFFC, is a dedicated fly-fisher who frequently fishes for rainbow trout in TFFC’s ponds. As usual, on this occasion he was targeting rainbows using a five-weight rod and a semi-seal lure in peacock green.
Gonzalez is a prolific fly-tier who demonstrates his skills at the annual Fly Fish Texas event at TFFC, scheduled this year for March 9. “A semi-seal fly is named that because it looks like seal fur,” he said. “It’s bushy.” Gonzalez first saw the fly in Arizona, where it is used for trout, and now ties the pattern himself.
“I had seen trout rising on the upper end of the pond near where the waterfall comes in,” Gonzalez revealed. “I cast just past the trout, and the catfish hit the fly as soon as it hit the water. I suspect he may have been looking for rainbow trout to eat.”
The catfish is his biggest catch on a fly rod, eclipsing the 10.5-pound bass that was his previous best. How big was it? It is a pending state fly-rod weight record for blue catfish as well as a weight record for Lake Zebco. The fish missed qualifying for a state catch-and-release record by just three-quarters of an inch.
“I was pretty lucky,” Gonzalez said. “I fish at TFFC a lot, and this was just icing on the cake.”
For information on how you can submit your catch for a Texas record, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/.
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to email@example.com and mention Plain Text Pages.