Santa Rosa County man second in his family to catch record-setting flathead catfish


Catching record-size flathead catfish is a family affair for the Griffin's in Santa Rosa County.

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) certified a new flathead catfish state record after Marvin Griffin reeled in the nearly 70-pound catch.

Griffin caught the flathead catfish, weighing 69.3 pounds and measuring 47 inches long, on rod and reel with live bait in the Yellow River.

The former state record weighed 63.8 pounds and was caught on the Chattahoochee River in Jackson County in 2016. Before that, Griffin’s uncle, James Auston Jr. caught a state record flathead catfish in the Yellow River and held the record from 2011 until 2016.

Griffin said he and his family have been fishing the Yellow River for years and have caught "exceptionally large" catfish there before.

He told FWC, “I wasn’t expecting to catch a state record when I started fishing that day... it was the first and only fish we caught that day. I never would have been able to bring the fish into the boat without his help.” 

Griffin brought his catch to the FWC’s Blackwater Hatchery where biologists weighed it on a certified scale.

“I have always wanted to catch a state record,” said Griffin. “After my uncle caught his, I made it a mission of mine to catch my own.”

FWC says flathead catfish are a non-native fish found in many Northwest Florida panhandle river systems. Their solitary lifestyle makes them more difficult to catch than other catfish. Adult flathead catfish feed primarily on live fish, crawfish, freshwater clams and mussels.

To properly certify a new Florida state record, an FWC biologist must identify the fish species and witness its weighing on a certified scale. Anglers can check the current state records at by clicking on “State Record,” and should notify the nearest FWC regional office if they believe they have caught a record fish. 

The FWC recognizes other memorable freshwater catches through its Big Catch program, which provides certificates commemorating trophy catches of 33 different freshwater species.