70 Pound Flathead On 6-lb. Test Sets New Clarks Hill Record

It took an hour, but a new bar has been set high for the Clarks Hill flathead record.

Brad Gill | March 19, 2023

Michael Dollar, of Raysville, has been fishing Clarks Hill Lake his whole life, and he’s got a new PB for flathead catfish. This 70-lb. monster was caught while crappie fishing and using 6-lb. test line.

Michael Dollar, of Raysville, said that flathead catfish in the 70-lb. variety in Clarks Hill aren’t necessarily rare, but catching one on a rod and reel isn’t something you hear much about. Taking that one step further, boating one after an hour-long fight using an ultralight crappie fishing setup using just 6-lb. line may have never happened, at least not until recently.

With the early spring weather, the fish have been biting. Michael and some buddies spent Monday, Feb. 27 crappie fishing and did real well, catching 30 nice fish. On Saturday, March 4, they went back to catch some more filets for the freezer. From Michael’s 21-foot Sea Pro center console, they were trolling six, 1/16-oz. Canyon Plastics Mini Jigs in blue/white.

“I had just bought some 10-foot Zebco crappie combos with 6-lb. test from Raysville Bait & Tackle,” said Michael. “They came with line on it, so I just figured I’d use that.”

The fishing started off pretty slow.

“We were not having much luck, there was a lot of trash in the water,” said Michael. “We made a pass, and I told one of my buddies to get me closer to the bank on the next pass.”

That’s when the giant yellow cat bit.

“One of the rods bowed over, I get it and was going to pop it thinking it was hung up,” said Michael. “The cork was moving and I was like, ‘this is a fish.’ My buddy got all the rods and reels in. I knew within a minute it was a catfish, but I didn’t know how big it was. I didn’t know it was a 70-pounder.”

Michael said he knows a guy who fishes trot lines and catches a 60- to 70-lb. flathead every year, but those don’t count toward GON’s Lake & River Records program or are considered for WRD’s Georgia State Record Freshwater Fishes program.

“After 20 or 30 minutes I thought we were going to have to cut the line, that we’d never get him in,” said Michael. “It was probably 40 minutes or an hour before we got him in. I told my buddy just to get his head in the net. Well the net broke, and I had to throw my rod down to get him in the boat. I just hollered real loud. From where he bit to where we put him in the boat was probably a half mile, but we probably zig-zagged for 2 1/2 miles.”

The new record flathead was weighed in front of about 20 witnesses on certified scales at Raysville Bait & Tackle and Bob’s Cafe, 5240 Lincolnton Hwy, Thomson, GA 30824.


Clarks Hill Lake Record Fish

Largemouth Bass14-lbs., 14-ozs.Carl Sasser02/16/72
Spotted Bass4-lbs., 11.8-ozs.Riley Hale03/19/22
White Bass3-lbs., 9-ozs.Ed Lepley03/09/15
Striped Bass55-lbs., 12-ozs.Sam Porter05/27/93
Hybrid Bass16-lbs., 12-ozs.Jim Hankinson-----
Black Crappie4-lbs., 8-ozs.Dewey Marks1979
White Crappie4-lbs., 12-ozs.Weldon Clark03/30/06
Blue Catfish62-lbs.Ralph Barbee Jr.09/12/79
Flathead Catfish70-lbs.Michael Dollar03/04/23
Channel Catfish25-lbs., 2-ozs.James Gunn05/13/93
Yellow Perch2-lbs., 8-ozs.Brad Murphy12/89
Sauger4-lbs., 3-ozs.Stuart Bowers04/05/86
Warmouth13-ozs.Daniel Rawlins04/15/01
White Perch1-lb., 4-ozs.Dennis Franklin02/22/15
Shellcracker1-lb., 9-ozs.Kathleen Weeks06/23/11

See all of GON’s official Georgia Lake & River Records here.

Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with state game and fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present, who must be willing to provide their names and phone numbers so they can be contacted to verify the weighing of the fish.

• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel.

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration.

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