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New State Record Blue Catfish Caught From The




June 2003

DES MOINES - Rick West, Jr., of Honey Creek, Iowa, has caught a lot of big fish from the Missouri River over the years. A 50-pound catfish - either flathead or blue - is nothing to get excited about. But when West and his brother Kyle set their bank lines late on May 16, the excitement was only a sunrise away.

The West brothers were fishing near Council Bluffs. Rick West said during a typical fishing trip, they would set their bank lines before dark, do some still fishing with a rod and reel, then come back in the morning to see if anything was biting. A few years back, he caught a 59-pound blue cat. Another time, he hooked a flathead that may have gone 80 pounds, but didn't get it landed.

When they returned the following morning, they found a big fish had taken the bait. Although Rick said he doesn't recall if the 77 pound, 15 ounce blue catfish took a live sunfish or the cut bait, he does know that it is a new state record. It seems the West family and big blue catfish go hand in hand. West's father, Rick West, Sr., had the state record - a 53-pound fish - for a couple of weeks a few years ago.

But it wasn't until the next day before West could locate a certified scale and a DNR witness, conservation officer Marlowe Wilson, that the record was confirmed. During that time, he kept it tied up in the river and took a few pictures.

West caught four blue cats that day, and said all were pretty good sized. He releases all the blue catfish he catches, including this state record fish. "It seems they're not as abundant as the flatheads," he said

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