Ed Wilcoxson and the state of Arizona have been getting a lot of attention since he landed at 76.54-pound flathead catfish at Bartlett Lake, setting a state record
PHOENIX - The way some anglers look at Arizona as a fishing destination has begun to change since April, when "Flathead" Ed Wilcoxson landed the heaviest recorded fish in the state's history.
Word is getting out that The Grand Canyon State is home to many gargantuan flathead catfish.
After photos of his 76.54-pound flathead catfish taken out of Bartlett Lake were shared on fishing forums and media outlets across the Internet, Wilcoxson has received phone calls from interested anglers as far away as Africa, England and Australia. He said producers from the hit show "Duck Dynasty" on A&E requested Wilcoxson send them a short video of him fishing.
"I believe there's bigger ones than (my record) out there," Wilcoxson said. "I hooked two last year that absolutely broke me off. Even fishing as much as I do, it took me by surprise."
In the past two months, Bartlett Lake has given up a 41.82-pound flathead catfish, and Lake Pleasant has produced an estimated 70-pound flathead catfish. The lower Colorado River also is notorious for monster catfish, as was evident in 2008 by the 89.4-pound flathead catfish that was weighed and released by the Arizona Game and Fish Department through an electrofishing survey.
The local economy is benefitting as well. Some Phoenix-based tackle shops have enjoyed increases in sales of heavy-duty catfish rods, hooks and baits.
Steve Ortiz, store manager at the Mesa Sportsman's Warehouse, said since the record went down in April, he's seen an increase in sales of 7-foot, heavy-action, fiberglass spinning and bait-casting rods. In particular, he's seen a spike in sales of outfits with reels that have a "clicking" mechanism, which allows an angler not holding the rod to hear the clicking of line being taken from the spool - a popular method of waiting for a bite.