- South Carolina has great fishing opportunities in its many lakes and rivers as well as in the Atlantic Ocean.
- The biggest blue catfish ever found in the state weighed over 100 pounds.
- While it would not have weighed as much as a large feral hog, the record-setting blue catfish would have weighed as much as a small one.
South Carolina is widely known for its great fishing opportunities. Anglers from all over the state and far beyond enjoy settling in at their favorite spots to pull freshwater and saltwater fish from the waters. This state nestled along the Atlantic Ocean has been the site of some truly enormous trophy fish catches. Discover the largest blue catfish ever caught in South Carolina and learn where it was caught and how long ago the angler set the record!
About Blue Catfish
The blue catfish is the largest species of catfish in North America. The fish are native to the Mississippi River drainage basin, but they have been introduced to many other lakes and rivers throughout the United States. Currently, the species has been stocked in about 20 different states.
These ray-finned fish can weigh anywhere from 25 to 150 pounds while growing between 24 inches and 65 inches. Despite their name, the fish can appear from a silvery-blue to an olive color along their sides with a white bottom. They are known for having deeply forked tails, flat dorsal fins, and four pairs of barbels near their mouths.
These fish prefer to live in the main channels of medium and large rivers along with large impoundments with a current and some depth to them. They prefer areas with sand, gravel, or mud bottoms.
These fish are well-loved by anglers because they fight so hard when they’re on the line, presenting a real challenge to those catching them. For a state with so many people that enjoy catching fish, it should come as no surprise that fishers have found several large specimens in South Carolina’s waters.
What Was the Largest Blue Catfish Ever Caught in South Carolina?
The largest blue catfish ever caught in South Carolina weighed 113.8 pounds, and it was caught by an angler named Paula D. Haney of Liberty, South Carolina. She pulled the record-setting fish from Lake Moultrie in 2017, topping the previous record.
The blue catfish that Paula D. Haney caught was 113.8 pounds, measured 52 inches long, and had a girth of 40 inches. Haney was fishing on the lower end of the lake using blue herring as bait. The fish took the bait around 9:30 a.m. in relatively shallow water that was perhaps 10 feet deep. She furiously reeled in the fish before getting it alongside the pontoon boat she and her husband had used to get out on the water.
When the fish got close enough, they brought it onboard. Paula and her husband knew they had something special on the line, and a biologist later confirmed it as the largest catfish caught on rod and reel in the state.
The former record belonged to a man named George Lijewski. He caught a massive catfish in 1991 that weighed 109.4 pounds.
Where Is Lake Moultrie?
Lake Moultrie is located in the south-central part of South Carolina within Berkeley County. The lake is fewer than 10 miles north of Charleston, and it is easily reached by following U.S. Route 52.
Lake Moultrie is the third-largest lake in South Carolina featuring 60,400 acres of surface water and a total depth of about 75.46 feet. On average, the water is about 18.7 feet deep.
The lake is a popular attraction for locals, especially those that enjoy fishing. They come to this lake to catch blue catfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and more. Several record-setting fish have been caught in these waters. An angler named W.H. Whaley caught a 58-pound channel catfish from this lake in 1964, and that stands as the world record channel catfish to this day!
So, catching large fish in this lake is not unusual at all.
An Even Larger Blue Catfish Was Caught Before
Although the record books clearly say that Paula D. Haney’s 113.8-pound blue catfish is the largest one ever caught in the state, another entry could just as easily exist with an asterisk. Two fishermen named Leland Selph and Jimmy Dowling caught a blue catfish weighing 136 pounds 6 ounces. The fish was 56 inches long and had a girth of 42 inches.
Oddly enough, this monster fish was also caught on Lake Moultrie. Unfortunately, the fishermen caught the fish on a 150-hook trotline rather than a hook and line. That method disqualified the fish from appearing in the record books.
The catch was impressive nonetheless since the men had to pull the fish from the water without losing it. Also, that catch shows that fish much larger than the state record lurk below the water at Moultrie Lake.
How Does the Largest Blue Catfish Compare to a Feral Hog?
The original comparison of the largest blue catfish versus a feral hog is somewhat apt. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average feral swine weighs somewhere between 75 and 250 pounds on average. Much larger specimens exist too . So, the record-setting blue catfish in South Carolina could weigh more than a small feral hog. At least, it would be heavier and longer.
The largest blue catfish ever caught in South Carolina using a hook and line was simply massive. However, catches on a trotline showed that larger, heavier fish than the record-holder exist in the famous Lake Moultrie. Anglers continue to take up the challenge of catching these incredibly large specimens. With so many record-setting fish caught in these waters, it is not unlikely that some anglers will set a new record. When they do, the chances also seem pretty high that the record-setting fish will be pulled from the same lake!
Where is Lake Moultrie Located on a Map?
Lake Moultrie is a big lake in South Carolina, made by building a dam on the Santee River in the 1940s. It was created for a state project to give electricity to rural areas. The lake is over 60,000 acres in size.
Here is Lake Moultrie on a map:
The photo featured at the top of this post is © M Huston/Shutterstock.com
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