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State Record White Catfish Caught

December 1, 2004

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protectionís Division of Fish and Wildlife has certified a new state record white catfish that was caught from Dallenbach Pond in East Brunswick, Middlesex County on August 14. Timothy Jasko of Monroe Township, New Jersey caught a 14 pound, 4 ounce white catfish that weighed 3 pounds 15 ounces more than the previous record taken from the Raritan River in 1976!

Jasko was fishing with a simple bobber, hook and nightcrawler when he landed the fish from his boat on 14-pound test line. The fish was weighed by the DEPís Division of Fish and Wildlife and measured 29 inches in length with a 19-inch girth. In addition to being positively identified by freshwater fisheries biologists, the fish was also verified by the curator of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (ANSP). The ANSP estimated the fish to be 18 to 25 years old and will keep the skeleton for display in its museum.

Jasko was set for a Friday night of fishing with a friend and his children when it started to rain. The guests didnít show, but Tim wasnít about to waste all those worms. After casting the last one around 7 p.m. and seeing nothing, he started to reel the rods in when he saw the bobber on one of them take a dip. Primarily a bass fisherman, Tim first thought he was snagged, but soon realized it was a catfish on the other end. After about 10 minutes he netted the catch of his life.

Dallenbach Pond is an old sand wash that is a popular fishing hole. In fact, Timís grandfather used to fish there. Though small in size, it is very deep in certain spots.

White catfish inhabit the fresh and slightly brackish water of river channels, streams and ponds. Originally restricted to the Atlantic Coast from New York to Florida, the species has been introduced and is thriving widely outside its native range. Although tolerant of swiftly flowing streams, it prefers a slower current than its cousin, the channel catfish.

Despite the name, white catfish sport a bluish coloring above with a silver-hued underside. They are not spotted like channel cats and do not possess a deeply forked tail like a bullhead.

White catfish feed on nearly all aquatic life, including other fish and insects. This species is prized for its excellent taste and firm, white meat.

The Record Fish Program recognizes the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone; there are no line classes. Scale certification documentation, including the Certificate of Inspection/Test Report and Registration Certificate issued by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures, as well as a weighmasterís signature, are necessary. Other rules apply.

For more information or to request an application (pdf, 84kb), call 609-633-7768. Visit the Divisionís Website at www.njfishandwildlife.com/recfish.htm for a complete list of state record fish.

See photo.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: December 1, 2004