EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — A Lancaster County man set a state record in April after catching a 50-pound flathead catfish.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says 54-year-old Jeff Bonawitz, of East Lampeter Township, Pa., was fishing on the Susquehanna River in York County on April 6.
Bonawitz said he caught several 30-pound fish before he started to run low on bait. He decided to use the biggest live bluegill he had left, and he got a bite.
“It kept hanging down deep and when it finally came up to the top, we thought it might be a mermaid,” Bonawitz told the Fish and Boat Commission.
It took 25 minutes for Bonawitz to bring the flathead catfish aboard his boat.
Bonawitz kept the fish alive at his home for a day, thinking it could set a state record, then took the fish to Columbia Bait and Tackle in Lancaster County on April 7.
The fish weighed 50 pounds and 7 ounces, beating the previous record of 48 pounds and 6 ounces. That record was set in 2006.
Bonawitz kept the catfish alive, and he and his 8-year-old nephew, Dylan, later released it back into the Susquehanna River.
“I thought the best thing to do was put it back so that maybe the next guy could catch it,” Bonawitz told the Fish and Boat Commission.
More information on Pennsylvania state record fish can be found at fishandboat.com.