Fishing guide Justin Whiteside from Rock Hill has made his share of interesting catches on the several South Carolina lakes he fishes on. But none have been as unusual as one he recently caught on Lake Monticello. That’s where Whiteside landed a 10-pound ‘piebald’ catfish taken at the South Carolina impoundment.

“We were fishing for catfish, primarily targeting blue catfish and having an excellent day, when we caught a catfish that was different from any I’d ever seen or caught,” Whiteside said. “It reminded me a bit of a Jersey cow with the unusual coloration, and from pictures I’d seen, I recognized it as a piebald catfish. I had heard of them and seen pictures of them caught in other states, but this was my first.”

Whiteside (803-417-0070) and his guide party had a fantastic day of catching hefty blue catfish at Lake Monticello, known for producing huge blue catfish, but the catch of the day was the piebald, even though it was one of the smallest fish caught that day.

“We caught it mid-day on a gizzard shad and it bit and fought just like the other blue catfish we were catching, but the look was amazing,” he said. 

In nature, the term ‘Piebald’ generally refers to a mutation with a distinctive pattern of mottling, although patterns are typically varied from one animal to another. Having the same size and shape as an ordinary blue catfish, piebald blues are distinctive because the lighter, whitish skin is marbled with prominent blotches, usually gray and/or black. The piebald mutation occurs in deer and other animals on occasion as well. 

“Every time we had a break in the fishing action we’d stop and look at this fish,” Whiteside said. “Catching a catfish so unique makes for a memorable experience but after we enjoyed it and took pictures, the fish was released alive back into Lake Monticello.”

Whiteside said that he had a friend catch a true albino blue catfish, including having the distinctive pink eyes of a albino, at Lake Monticello last year.