Pennsylvania Angler Smashes State Record With 66-Pound Flathead Catfish

Record catfish
Columbia Bait and Tackle

I grew up on the Susquehanna River and while we always said there were monsters lurking in the murky water, now we get some proof.

Mike Wherley of Fayetteville, PA was out fishing the 5th oldest river in the world near Safe Harbor Dam when the 12 inch trout he was using as bait was hit, hard. 

This was part of Mike’s weekly fishing trip to the area, where he’d previously caught some big catfish, including a 44 pounder, but nothing like the behemoth he pulled in last Sunday. After landing the flathead from his boat, he put it on his scale which instantly maxed out.

It was at this point he thought a state record was in play.

He spoke to Lancaster Online about the catch:

“I have a scale that goes to 50 pounds, and this one went right past that, so I thought I might have a state record fish.”

To get the official measurements, he called Matt Musselman, owner of Columbia Bait & Tackle, whose scale was certified by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. He made sure the fish stayed alive while on the way by putting an anchor line through its gills and keeping it in the water.

“The fish got that big by living a long time, so I wanted him to keep on living.”

As soon as he arrived at the shop, Musselman knew it was a special fish.

“I knew it was the record as soon as I saw it. I see these big fish all the time, and this was the biggest”

The official measurement came in at 66 pounds and 4 ounces, more than 10 pounds over the current record of 56lbs 3oz, caught by Jonathan Pierce in 2020.

Jeff Schmidt of the PA Fish and Boat Commission was on hand to witness the measuring process to ensure the correct procedure was followed. Unfortunately, the paperwork has yet to be filled as Musselman was hospitalized with an illness, but he said he will make sure it’s done as soon as he’s released.

While most anglers would be happy just catching a few fish each time they go out, Mike always had the feeling he was due to get his name written down in the record book.

“I’ve told everybody in my family I was going to catch a state record someday, and here I did it. That’s incredible.”

Assuming no hiccups with the filing process, there’s a new flathead record in the Keystone State.

Gotta get myself home and see if I can pull one of these for myself.

Although let’s be honest, I’d be pumped with a 10 pounder…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock