Nowling reels in record catch

Lavon Nowing is in select company.

The Santa Rosa County angler caught a flathead catfish that sets a state record. The fish checked in at more than four feet long (48.5 inches), featuring a girth of 38.25 inches. It  weighed in at just a hair under 70 pounds (69.9).

Nowling caught the fish in the Yellow River using a rod and reel and live bait. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission fisheries biologists certified that his catch is a record. 

“I’ve caught some good ones before this fish, but none of them were more than 54 pounds,”  Nowling said in an FWC press release. “I’ve been fishing since I was old enough to hold a pole and have been fishing on Yellow River as long as I can remember.”

Nowling brought his catch into the Blackwater Hatchery near Holt, where FWC biologists weighed it in on a certified scale. It’s the the second time in a year that a record flathead catfish was caught in the Yellow River. Marvin Griffin snagged one in 2019. That one weighed in at 69.3 pounds.

“I’ve been deep sea fishing to creek fishing and I never expected to catch a state record fish,” Nowling said. “That day I was fishing for channel catfish and can’t believe I caught a huge flathead. I was in the right place at the right time.”

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