With so many Giant Catfish out there it is hard to know which ones are real and which ones aren’t. Here are a few giant catfish photos I’ve come across that seem to be real. You can judge for yourself.
OK, now for the purpose of this post.
I recently got an email that described a really big catfish. We are talking about a giant catfish that was cut open to find pieces of ingested human. Here is how the story goes:
|Each year, a few people will be drowned mysteriously in Huadu’s Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently when the son of a certain official went swimming in the reservoir with his friend and were drowned that the secret was unravelled! It’s a 3 meter long man-eating catfish whose head alone is 1 meter wide! After cutting up the catfish people were surprised to find the remains of a man inside! Because this was a huge incident, and the local government was afraid of the impact on local tourism, they imposed an embargo on the news, but people came away with these pictures taken on their cell phones of the man-eating fish! Swimming in the reservoir is now forbidden because it is feared another similar man-eating catfish is still lurking in the waters. Talk about one BIG fish!!|
Take a look at some of the Giant Catfish pictures below (or so many are fooled to believe by this email):
The story is amazing and it would seem that this is the biggest catfish in the world. Unfortunately, it isn’t a catfish at all! It’s a whale shark. And it wasn’t caught in a fresh water reservoir as whale sharks live in salt water. Furthermore, when it was cut open, no human remains were found; just some entrails that vaguely looked like the bottom half of a human torso.
Catfish stories have been common for years and though no one really knows how big a North American catfish can actually get, it is fairly certain that they don’t grow to the size of a small car. The record catfish is reportedly 123 lb flathead caught in Kansas but some people have sworn that they can get twice that size. These same people are also the same ones who “almost” caught one. There are many larger catfish caught in Spain and in the Congo and they can reach upwards of 400lbs as seen by some of the world’s biggest catfish pictured at the top of this story.
Most of the giant catfish stories are nothing more than pranks that took on a life of their own. There is a widely-circulated 1914 Tennessee photograph that shows a 500lb giant catfish. In the picture, the fish is in what appears to be a logging wagon with its tail hanging off. A man is seen viewing this big catfish at the rear end of the wagon. It seems to be someone believable to the average person. But even if it were true, the man would be long dead now with only this one photograph to carry on the tale.
But was the photo real to begin with? A member of the photographer’s family dismissed the incident as just a prank. “My daddy had a little wagon that looked like a log wagon,” said Joe Brownlow Pitts of Savannah, Tennessee. “He put the fish — which weighed, I recall, about 85 lbs. — on it. Then, my uncle Frank, who was good at photography, cut out a cardboard man that was being used in a clothing advertisement and stuck it on the wagon, along with the fish. He took the picture.”
But there may have been some additional motive for perpetuating this myth. Hardin County, Tennessee is the self proclaimed “Catfish Capitol of the World” and the National Catfish Derby, an annual catfishing derby and festival, is held on the Tennessee River. The derby president, Jay Barker doesn’t hesitate to show off the the black and white photo. In 2003, writer Taylor Wilson had a chance to catch up with him at the event and interviewed several people including Barker.
Barker told Wilson that he first learned of the photo from Betty Coleman, a fellow resident of Savannah, Tenn. She found it while gathering old photos for the Hardin County Historical Society.
Since then, people have informed Barker that the photo was taken in the Hardin County community of Cerro Gordo in 1914. Additional facts came to light including the assertion that the man standing alongside the catfish was Warren McConnell and that a copy of the picture hung for many years in Pitts General Store.
The catfish has been estimated, by those who believe in the photo’s authenticity, to weigh about 500 pounds.
Whether the photo is true or not, Barker has long known the story would get plenty of news play and help promote the event.
“Some people say it’s fake, but others firmly believe the catfish was actually caught. ”— Jay Barker, president of Tennessee’s National Catfish Derby
Faye Callens said his mother, Rilla Callens, handed down the photo to him as she had worked as a bookkeeper at Pitts General Store. She told her son that the photo was genuine and that a man named Green Bailey caught the fish on a trotline.
Indeed Bailey’s name is inscribed on the photo along with the date and place where the photo was taken, “Cerro Gordo 1914.” Callens also said he visited Bailey’s sister several years ago, and she told him her brother did catch the big fish.
“Many people don’t believe the photo is real, and that is all right. But my mother told me it was, and she had no reason to lie. ”— Faye Callens
Of course it is this kind of logic by Faye Callens that spreads these stories so effectively. Her mother probably believed the story to be true and the person who told her may have believed it as well. But this doesn’t make it true.
Wilson found other stories that were attached to the picture of this monster catfish.
One was that the late Joe B. Pitts, proprietor of Pitts General Store, actually caught the fish. Another story claimed that the fish was caught during a dry summer after it became landlocked in shallow water (before dams regulated water levels on the Tennessee River).
Then, there was the story that the whole thing was a hoax. A cardboard cutout of a man from a cigarette ad was placed on a child’s wagon with a catfish that really weighed about 50-80 lbs.
It is interesting that Barker has a copy of another photo of the same man and the fish taken from a different angle, yet the man looks the same as the first photo.
Barker would never admit the old photo was suspect. After all, the place bills itself as the “Catfish Capitol of the World”?
“Personally, I believe it is authentic, and it shows without a doubt why we’re the Catfish Capitol of the World,” Barker stated firmly.
At one time the famed photo had been made into a postcard used to promote the National Catfish Derby.
I’m going to lay this fish story to rest, but if any of you find a REAL 800lb catfish, be sure to let me know.