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Texas angler breaks Texas state record
with 98.5 lb. flathead

Spring 1999

Things are always bigger in Texas. Right? Well not always. A Texas angler caught a new Texas state record flathead on December 2 fishing for crappie. While his catch set the new state record, it fell short of beating a flathead caught by Ken Paulie of Caney, Kansas in May.

James Laster, the Texas angler, was fishing for crappie on Lake Palestine when he hooked into the biggest flathead catfish ever caught on a rod and reel in Texas and a possible line class world record. Laster, who was fishing for crappie from the bank on Dec. 2, fought the 98.5-pound fish for nearly 30 minutes before getting it ashore. The huge catfish, which measured 53 inches in length and had a girth of 40 inches, eclipsed a 22-year-old state record flathead weighing 98 pounds. William Stephens of Lewisville caught the former record on Lake Lewisville.

Applications will be submitted to the International Game Fish Association in Florida for a World Line Class Record (16-pound test line) and to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Wisconsin for a National Line Class Record.

The new state record, named Taylor after Laster's grandson, was transported to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and is currently doing well. Biologists at the Center hope to be able to put the fish on display in the 26,000-gallon Anheuser-Busch Theater Aquarium.


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