|Doyle Ammons (right) of
Ponce de Leon, Fla. with his 63lb, 48" catfish, from the
Choctawhatchee River. (FWC photo by Lt. Hampton Yates)
Ponce de Leon resident
Doyle Ammons has caught plenty of fish over his 76 years. None of his
fish compare, however, to the near-record 63-pound blue catfish he
caught Nov. 6 from the Choctawhatchee River.
Ammons’ fish was 48 inches long and would have almost certainly been
certified as the new Florida record, except for one thing – he caught
his fish on a bush hook, sometimes called a “limb line.” It is legal
to fish with bush hooks or trotlines, but fish caught by such methods
are not eligible for certification as new records. Only record
freshwater fish caught by conventional hook-and-line or rod-and-reel
can be accepted.
His fish weighed 1.5 pounds more than the recognized state record
blue cat. That fish was caught by rod-and-reel from Little Escambia
Creek in Escambia County in 1996.
Despite the fact his catfish won’t show up in the record books,
Ammons said it was satisfaction enough to catch the biggest blue cat
ever landed in Florida.
Ammons said his bush hook was tied to a limber green vine hanging
over the edge of the river, a factor he credits in “wearing down” the
catfish. For bait he used chunks of bowfin.
This was his second large blue catfish in the past two months, the
other a 55-pounder.