New Mexico Game and Fish Department expects the monster blue catfish to be a record-breaker – if only it had been officially weighed.
What do you do when the catch of a lifetime comes at 13-years-old? Keep fishing, naturally. Surely this will be the case for New Mexico’s potentially record-breaking angler Alonso Ordaz.
According to the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, Ordaz caught the mammoth catfish on an Elephant Butte lake. The young champ brought in his monster with cut bait shad using the appropriately named Muddy River Cat-Fishing Demon Dragon rig. Thankfully, Ordaz thought to get a photo with his blue, which has been “unofficially” weighted at a whopping 55 pounds.
The weight comes in as “unofficial” simply because the department themselves weren’t able to weigh the catch. Without an official state scale’s measurement, the fish isn’t eligible for the state record. Ordaz’s father, however, tells local KOAT 7 news station they did weight his son’s giant at 55 lbs. Afterwards, the Ordazs threw their monster back out into his kingdom.
Currently, the New Mexico record holder is a 54 lb. 4 oz. blue catfish. Since Alonso returned his trophy to the waters, the former record stands. A shame, considering the Game and Fish Dept. has evaluated their photo, and confirms the 13-year-old could’ve made the title his own.
Regardless, the department is sharing his incredible catch on social media. This way, at least, Ordaz will be able to enjoy some of the acclaim that comes with a “lifetime catch.”
“Alonzo Ordaz caught and released a 55-pound blue catfish using cut bait shad with a Muddy River Cat-Fishing Demon Dragon at Elephant Butte Lake,” the organization posts to Facebook:
Blue Catfish Achieve Gargantuan Proportions in the Wild
The catfish we typically source and eat commercially are captive bred, and typically no larger than 10-15 lbs. In the wild, however, blue catfish can reach astounding measurements.
As the largest species of North American catfish, blues can reach remarkable lengths. The largest individuals on record are over 5 feet, at 65 inches (165 cm). While Alonso’s 55 lb monster would’ve broken New Mexico’s record, these largest individuals can reach over 150 lbs. (68 kg.).
The typical length for a blue catfish sits around 24-46 inches, and these hardy bottom-dwellers can live for 20 years or more. This large species is native to the Mississippi River and it’s drainage. American anglers, however, chase blues across the continent due to their wide distribution and introduction into non-native waters.
As such, blue catfish can be found everywhere from Tennessee, Ohio, and Arkansas, all the way out to the Ordaz’s New Mexico and California. Due to their tolerance for brackish waters, blues can be found in Florida and many coastal regions, as well. In some areas, such as the Chesapeake bay, their presence in these unnatural habitats has become troublesome – leading many states to regard the catfish as an invasive pest.