Species Info

Flathead catfish

Type:  Catfish

Appearance:  A flat head, tiny eyes, squarish tail and protruding lower jaw distinguish flathead from other catfish. They are yellow-brown, usually mottled above, with a whitish belly.

State record:  55.05 lbs.

BigCatch:  To qualify your catch needs to exceed the listed weight OR length (not necessarily both).

Habitat:  Flathead were first collected in Florida, in the Apalachicola River in 1982. They are now also in the Escambia, Yellow Choctawhatchee and Ochlockonee rivers.

Behavior:  In late spring, one or both parents excavate a nest usually in a natural cavity or near a large submerged object. Females lay a golden-yellow mass of up to 100,000 eggs. The nest is guarded and the eggs are agitated by the male to keep them clean and aerated. They feed on other fish, especially catfish and sunfish. FWC encourages their harvest.

Tips:  Their solitary lifestyle makes them more difficult to catch than other catfish. They bite best at night while in shallow water looking for food. To catch flatheads, anglers typically fish on the bottom using heavy tackle with live or freshly cut fish.

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