73 3/4 Pound Catfish Sets Lake Sinclair Record Then Released

Craig James | February 5, 2024

Brandon Pitts holds the new lake record blue catfish from Lake Sinclair. He caught the 73-lb., 12.16-oz. fish while fishing with his buddy, Kenny Scott (left).

On the afternoon of Jan. 26, long-time buddies Brandon Pitts and Kenny Scott set out on Lake Sinclair in hopes of wrangling some big stripers. Finding gizzard shad of a suitable size for bait proved to be difficult, forcing the anglers to alter their game plan. Unbeknownst to them, it put them on a path to a record-caliber fish.

“The gizzard shad we had were just too big for stripers, so we decided to go after some catfish instead,” said Brandon.

After catching a 15-lb. blue cat and a 33-lb. flathead, the pair of anglers had their sights set on what appeared to be a big catfish on the depthfinder screen.

“It was about 5 o’clock, and we’d been sitting on the catfish trying to get him to bite for 28 minutes. At that point Kenny said we’d give him another minute or so, and if he didn’t bite, we were going to call it a day. Less than a minute later, he bit,” said Brandon.

Based on the way the catfish bit, the two were convinced that a big flathead was the culprit.

“When he grabbed it, he kind of messed around with it before pulling the rod down. That’s usually a good indication of a flathead. Most of the time a big blue will just slam it when it hits,” Brandon said.

When Brandon grabbed the rod, a tug of war battle began that would last for the next 12 minutes or so, testing Brandon more than any other freshwater fish he’d ever hooked.

“Man my forearms were burning. I had him on a baitcasting rod with 50-lb. line, and I couldn’t do anything with him. I was giving him all I had, and I couldn’t move him. The closest thing I can compare it to was catching a big grouper. It was an unreal fight,” said Brandon.

When Brandon finally pulled the big fish within view, both anglers were shocked to see a giant blue catfish instead of the flathead they thought they were hooked into. They both frantically fought to wrangle the big cat into the net and finally managed to get it into the boat.

“Kenny struggled to hold the big fish up with his scales that indicated the fish was a little over 76 pounds with it hanging in the net, and he said that’s got to be the lake record. We couldn’t find anywhere to weigh it so late in the evening, so we put it in Kenny’s 80-gallon livewell and hoped the fish would make it through the night,” said Brandon.

The next morning the fish was certified at a whopping 73-lbs., 12.16-ozs., easily making it the new lake record. It beat the old record set last year when James Rowland caught 60-lb., 7.8-oz. blue cat.

“I’m excited I caught it, but I could have never caught that fish without Kenny. He’s one of the best there’s ever been, and he knows how to catch them on the lake. All the credit goes to him, Kenny was born to fish,” said Brandon.

The next morning they were able to release the giant record fish back into Lake Sinclair.

Largemouth Bass13-lbs., 2-ozs.Jimmy Edge02/10/90
Hybrid Bass10-lbs., 7-ozs.David Phillips11/27/98
Striped Bass42-lbs.Mike Wicks-
White Bass2-lbs., 7-ozs.James Borders Jr.07/12/92
Black Crappie2-lbs., 11.5-ozs.Brent Moye01/22/00
Channel Catfish21-lbs., 5-ozs.Kenny Durden05/02/07
Longnosed Gar15-lb., 3-ozs.Dustin Turk08/18/09
Flathead Catfish39-lbs.Tommy Spell07/19/22
Blue Catfish73-lbs., 12.16-ozs.Brandon Pitts01/26/24
Yellow Perch15.04-ozs.Eric Phillips02/09/22
Spotted Bass3-lbs., 9.76-ozs.Larry Cason05/10/21
Warmouth12-ozs.Christopher Leverette02/22/23


Catch A Lake or River Record? Requirements For Record Fish

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

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present.

• 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 can correspond with DNR when high-quality, multiple photos are taken of the fish and emailed to GON. All record submissions and photos must be sent to [email protected].

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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