The decision has been made in Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Roy Groves did not catch a record-breaking 55-pound channel catfish. What was captured in May 1949 was an impressive blue catfish. Is the decision right and respectful? Judge it yourself!
Roy Groves’ Catfish State Record Nullified
One day short of the full 70th-anniversary celebration of an old fishing record, the officials decided it has been invalid. It was pronounced as such and got voided.
Roy Groves 1949 Record Setting
In the Argus Leader, South Dakota newspaper (issued May 24, 1949) there was a 94 pound, 8-ounce blue catfish, caught by Roy Groves in May 1949, pictured on the front page next to his son. The catfish record for South Dakota seemed to have stood the test of time, but now it has been disputed.
In the article, there was a description of the elder Groves’ battle with the fish, which lasted more than two hours in the James River, north of Meckling. In the fifth paragraph, the story mentions that Groves caught “a 55-lb specimen last week.” This is a direct reference to the said channel catfish record, which was reportedly set on May 18, 1949.
Record Photo Examination
The officials from the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks are in possession of a photograph clearly showing Mr. Groves next to the hanged fish displaying nearly two-thirds of his height. The photo has been carefully examined, and the decision of record annulment made accordingly. The fish was misidentified, confirmed Geno Adams, the experienced fisheries program administrator for Game, Fish, and Parks. The fish in question was not the said channel catfish but a blue catfish instead. They cited one certain detail, in the form and orientation of a fin on the underside of the catfish, stating that the differences can be subtle.
The officials from the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks readily abandoned the possibility of giving the record title to the next largest catch, presuming that it will surely be broken several times over, in the ensuing campaign they have announced as “Catrush 2019.”
The descendants are protesting against the decision as well as against the way in which it was shared with the family. They remember the stories about their great-grandfather being an accomplished fisherman and proud of his achievements. The decision was released in the newspaper without anyone informing the family beforehand.
However, what seems to be a disrespectful act with no regard to traditional values, local culture, and environment, or even a plain record mongering, reportedly has more profound issues in undercurrent.
Besides having their own suspicion, the officials have been keeping a record of numerous complaints made by fishermen over time. For long, the record has been suspected to be faulty. Finally, they consulted experts and claim that the decision was made in a responsible and informed way.
James Labesky, Groves’ great-grandson, posted on Facebook following the announcement: “The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks are taking away my great grandfather’s state record away because they don’t think by looking at a picture it is a channel catfish … I would think he would know the difference!”