Delaware Has a New Blue Catfish Record

Big blue cats are not common in the Diamond State, but an angler sets a new whiskered-fish record with a pig.

James Lord record catfish
“It’s the biggest catfish I’ve ever laid my hands on!” James Lord with his giant Delaware catch. Courtesy James Lord

After a tough 25-minute fight just after midnight on Oct. 8, angler James Lord pulled a heavyweight fish aboard his boat with the able help of his son James Jr. He had no idea during the battle that his Nanticoke River catch was a blue catfish that would make the Delaware record book.

“We had four poles out and knowing that it was going to be a big fish, I had to reel up all the poles and get them out of the way, so we weren’t crossing the lines,” Lord Jr. said.

Lord’s new state record blue catfish weighed 48-pounds, 3.2-ounces, measuring 40.5 inches long and a 30-inch girth.

“An 18-to-20-pound fish sometimes feel like it’s going to be a 50-pound fish,” Lord told Delaware’s WBOC-TV. “So every single time it’s like an adrenaline rush that this could be the next biggest fish and it just so happened it was the biggest fish.”

Lord, of Laurel, Delaware, believes the ticket to catching targeted fish species is using the correct bait for that fish.

“It depends on what you’re targeting,” Lord said. “It seems like this summer it’s been so hot that a lot of the other fish weren’t biting so we started targeting catfish in general. You got to use a bigger bait to catch a bigger fish. So we used live bait from the river, and I mean a pretty big one. and we happened to catch the bigger fish.”

Early in the summer Lord was using small 2-inch bluegills and catching smaller catfish. As he increased the size of his baits, the catfish he caught were larger. When he put out a 4.5-inch live bait, the state record fish hit. He was fishing bottom on a drop-off from 3-to-8-to-15 feet during an outgoing tide.

“It’s the biggest catfish I’ve ever laid my hands on,” Lord said. “I caught it off the bottom, fishing with a 4.5-inch live bluegill and a 4-ounce sinker.”

Lord said his new Delaware state record blue catfish put up a much better battle than the 10-to-20-pound cats that he had been catching from the Nanticoke River. He plans to have a taxidermist mount his record catfish for home display.

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