70 Pound Lake Oconee Blue Cat Caught On 8-lb. Test
These anglers were just hoping for a few white bass for the fryer.
Koob Moua, from Monroe, didn’t set out to establish a new Lake Oconee record for blue catfish. In fact, Koob seldom even fishes for catfish, but he might from now on.
On March 22, Koob joined his brother Jacob Moua and their friend Justin Pledger in a 16-foot aluminum Bass Tracker boat. Using light tackle, they just wanted to catch a few white bass.
“I’ve fished that lake a couple times,” Koob stated. “That day, we were fishing for white bass with a white-and-chartreuse Rooster Tail. We launched out of Dyar Pasture and went up river before Scull Shoals. Fishing was a little slow. We caught about three white bass.”
Not prepared to battle a whiskered leviathan, Koob worked his in-line spinnerbait with a custom-made, 7-foot, medium-action spinning rod. He loaded the reel with 8-lb. P-Line, plenty strong enough for white bass, a fish that tops out at about 5 pounds. Then, something completely unexpected happened.
“My rod was a custom rod that my brother built,” Koob said. “He calls them Skunkless Rods. I was just casting when I thought the lure got stuck on something. I wasn’t sure if a fish bit it or if it was snagged. Then, all of a sudden, the fish started taking off and pulling drag. We weren’t ready for that fish. I was afraid the line was going to snap and the rod, too. It was bending to the extreme.”
As line sizzled from Koob’s reel, Jacob jumped on the trolling motor and chased the lake monster to recover as much line as possible and to ease some of the pressure on the rod and line while his brother battled the beast from below. Koob fought the giant for 30 minutes before it came to the surface, and they caught their first glimpse of it.
“When I started fighting the fish, I thought he was going to spool my reel,” Koob said. “I thought it might be a catfish or a big striper, but I had no idea it was a catfish that size. I just wanted to see what it was. After about 30 minutes, the fish started popping up to the surface, but he wasn’t ready to quit yet. I saw the big tail flop out of the water and wondered, ‘what is this thing?’ We just kept fighting it until the fish got tired.”
The team fought the powerful predator for another 10 minutes or so before they brought it alongside the boat. Justin tried to scoop it into the net, but the huge fish wouldn’t fit in the net more appropriate for landing largemouth or white bass.
“The fish was much bigger than the net,” Koob said. “It was scary looking. I’ve never caught a catfish that big before. Half of its body was hanging out of the net. I thought the net handle was going to break because it was bending. I was shocked it didn’t break. I’m surprised how well that light line held up to that big fish, but it did its job. My drag was set perfectly to fight that fish. It took two of us to pull that fish into the boat.”
Once they hauled that whiskered whopper into the boat and placed it down on the deck, they finally realized its true size. It took up a good portion of the deck in the small boat.
The team decided to take it to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in Social Circle to weigh it. The fish weighed 70-lbs., 2-ozs. and measured 51 inches long.
“Once we finally got him in the boat, we took a deep breath, celebrated and high-fived each other,” Koob said. “We needed a rest. We got the whole thing on a GoPro camera. I thought it might weigh about 40 pounds. I didn’t have any idea it might be a lake record.”
After weighing it, Koob took the big fish home to feed his family. In fact, it fed three families.
“Everyone was saying, ‘Wow, we’ve never seen a fish this big,’ Koob said. “This was the biggest catfish anyone in my family has ever seen.”
On March 11, just 11 days earlier, Rob and Robbie Allgood established a new record for Lake Oconee flathead cat at 62.65 pounds.
Koob’s fish just edged out the former blue cat record of 69-lbs., 7-ozs. set by Wayne Tatum in 2016.
The Georgia state record blue catfish weighed 111 pounds. It came from the Chattahoochee River just upstream from Lake Eufaula. Tim Trone, of Havana, Fla., caught it on Oct. 17, 2020, during a tournament.
Lake Oconee Record Fish
|Largemouth Bass||12-lbs., 14-ozs.||Bill Brantley||05/14/12|
|Hybrid Bass||14-lbs., 4-ozs.||Jan Allen Ward||04/03/91|
|Striped Bass||29-lbs., 14.9-ozs.||Fred Worthy||05/10/96|
|Black Crappie||3-lbs., 12-ozs.||Edward Rhodes||02/10/97|
|Channel Catfish||34-lbs., 8-ozs.||Jonathan Clifton||05/31/98|
|Blue Catfish||70-lbs., 2-ozs.||Koob Moua||03/22/23|
|Flathead Catfish||62-lbs., 10.4-ozs.||Rob Allgood||03/11/23|
|White Bass||3-lbs., 6-ozs.||Tony Couch||04/02/93|
|Longnose Gar||20-lbs., 13-ozs.||Dustin Turk||10/05/19|
|Chain Pickerel||1-lb., 2-ozs.||Terry Brice||03/05/17|
|Spotted Bass||5-lbs., 3.2-ozs.||Austin Skinner||03/19/22|
|Shellcracker||1-lb., 14.56-ozs.||Randy Smith||04/23/22|
|Yellow Perch||11-ozs.||John Moore||02/16/23|
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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