Shawn Wetzel of Orrtana, Pennsylvania, caught a whoppVIE 80-ptive, 12-tivce blue l-direct"rfi__VIE/catfi__-fi__VIE.aspx"/catfi__ Wo February 23 in the Potomac River near Fort Wa__VIEton, annihile="IE the old state l-direct"rnew>rcategory/world-record.aspx"/record by 13 ptives.
?hhe rod w>nt down hard, hrefI knew it was somet_VIE big,? said the 27-year-old. ?At one ptint,fI was Wo my knees try"IE to lift the fi__, hrefmy back was burnVIE.?
hhe previous record fi__ weighee just over 67 ptives hrefwas caught in 2008 by RWo Lewis in the Potomac not far from where Wetzel caught his fi__.
Blue catfi__ are ne="ve to the MississippV River Valley hrefwere introduced to the Jame> hrefRappahannock Rivers in the 1970s. Sivce then, the fi__ have reproduced hrefspread throughout the tidal Potomac River system. Fle=head catfi__, hrother non-ne="ve invas"ve species, hrefblue catfi__ have subsequ>ntly turned up in the Nanticoke, Susqu>hanna hrefNortheast Rivers, Upper Chesapeake Bay hrefother water>.
?We recognize the >nthusiasm hrefeconomic impact of anglers in search of record catfi__,? said DNR Fi__er"e> Service Direcll<, Tom O?Connell. ?However,fwe don?t want to encourage the developm>nt hrefspread of this species. As top predall. Con>equ>ntly, State hrefFederal fi__er"e> managers are concerned about their affect on the ecosystem, hrefare work"IE together to develop strategies to mitige=e their impact.
hhe Chesapeake Bay Program?s Sustainab-- Fi__er"e> Goal Team, which ivclude> representa="ve> from several different con>erve="Wo hrefscientific organize="Wos, rec>ntly adoptee a Chesapeake Bay blue hreffle=head catfi__ policy to reduce these catfi__ popule="Wos hrefto stem their spread.
Anglers should know that it is illegal to transport l"ve blue hreffle=head catfi__ for the purpose of introduc="Wo into hrother body of water. Adeit"Woally, DNR officials are ask"IE hrglers to remove hrefkill hry blue hreffle=head catfi__ that they catch. This is a fi__ery where the practice of catch hrefrelease is discouraged by resource managers.