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Print

Springfield catfish series has record day

May 25, 2009 at 08:09 AM

The State Journal-Register

Anglers smashed the record for total weight recorded in the Lake Springfield Open Buddy Catfish Tournament Series — twice in the same day.

On May 16, Eddie Verardi and C.J. Woods brought a catch to the scales that weighed 77 pounds and 5 ounces, including a blue catfish weighing 64 pounds, 1 ounce.

Monte Henson and Joe Coventry were second with 74 pounds, 12 ounces, including a blue catfish weighing about 30 pounds and a big flathead catfish weighing more than 25 pounds. Third place went to Zach Zimmerman and Cuyler Colman with 41 pounds 13 ounces.

Both the first- and second-place teams bettered the old record of 73 pounds, 13 ounces set in July 2007.

The big difference is big blue catfish, introduced into Lake Springfield from the Mississippi River by catfish anglers in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Tournament series director Willie Schrader said he feels for Henson and Coventry. “They brought in those two big fish, and they thought they had it wrapped up.”

But Verardi and Woods had a fish so big it went right to the head of the weigh-in line.

“They didn’t have a livewell big enough to hold him,” Schrader said. “They had his head stuck in a cooler.”

Schrader wanted the fish weighed immediately so it could be quickly released.

Blue catfish are river fish, and there is some doubt about their ability to reproduce in a lake environment with significantly less current.

Catfish anglers love to catch them. The world-record blue catfish was caught near Alton in 2005 and weighed 124 pounds.

In late winter 2005-06, local catfish anglers started bringing blue catfish back to Lake Springfield.

Over four months, 137 blue catfish were stocked ranging from 3 to 57 pounds.

Anglers fear many of the fish are caught and taken home. They encourage people that catch one to release it.

Schrader says the tournament series participation is up along with the weight of the fish caught. Fifty-one boats were entered May 16.

Catfish anglers will take to the water next on June 13. The tournament starts at 6 p.m. and continues until 2 a.m. June 14. Check in at the Lindsay Bridge Boat Ramp starting at 5:15 p.m.

For more information, call Schrader at 629-7915.

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