There’s a new record mudcat in The Mount Rushmore State. According to a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) Facebook post, Ethan Evink of Hospers, Iowa, was the lucky angler. Evink caught the 67-pound, 8-ounce flathead catfish while fishing the Missouri River in Union County, which is in the southeast part of the state on the border of Iowa.
“State record alert!” wrote the SDGFP in the post. “This monster came in at 51.5 inches long with a girth of 32.5 inches.”
Evink hooked into the brute at 5 a.m. on a recent morning. He was soaking cutbait. According to Catch The Fever, a North Carolina-based fishing rod maker, Evink was using a Catch The Fever Hellcat Rod. Evink might be able to cash in on his record, as Catch the Fever offers a state record payout promotion that offers anglers up to $25,000 for using their gear to catch state record fish.
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Evink’s fish easily smashed a longstanding state record—a 63-pound, 8-ouncer caught in 2006 by Davin Holland out of the James River. According to the SDGFP, flatheads are found primarily in slow-moving rivers in the southeast part of the state. They typically congregate in deep pools with abundant cover, where they feed on both live and dead fish as well as some insects and crustaceans. While Evink’s fish is a record-breaker for South Dakota, it doesn’t even come within spitting distance of the world record, a 123-pounder caught by Ken Paulie in Kansas’s Elk City Reservoir in 1998.