Andrews Lake Flathead Catfish Goes 44 Pounds, Sets New Record
Word on the water is that Nicholas Leeson’s new catfish record was caught thanks to a his good luck charm.
Brad Gill | March 8, 2023
Nicholas Leeson has a new good-luck charm he will be keeping in his back pocket—or at least in the back of the boat—when he fishes the remaining seven catfish tournaments with the M&J Catfish War crew. It was in this tournament trail’s latest event, held on Andrews Lake on the Chattahoochee River, when he boated the new lake-record flathead catfish that later weighed 44 pounds on official scales. His new good luck charm? That would be his 7-year-old son Hudson, who was in the boat with Nicholas and family friend Kyle Reyes.
“This was the first tournament I had ever brought my son with me on, so he is telling everyone he was my good luck charm. He is hooked now and told me he is coming with me to all tournaments from now on,” said Nicholas
The 44-lb. fish was kept alive in a big fish tank and officially weighed at Hixon’s Hardware and Trading Post in Cuthbert on March 6 before being returned back to Andrews Lake, a river-run lake about 30 miles south of the Eufaula dam on the Chattahoochee River.
“I have fished Andrews Lake for about six years now, but this is only my third year actually competing in catfish tournaments,” said Nicholas. “I came into the tournament knowing that the flatheads were becoming more active, and I had an area that I wanted to try first thing because I knew it’s always held more flatheads than anywhere else I have fished on that stretch of the river.
The tournament blasted off at 8 a.m. and the trio of anglers arrived at their spot about 8:20.
“The spot had a lot of structure, both deep and shallow, which is what I was looking for,” said Nicholas.
“I had all eight of my rods out by 8:30,” said Nicholas. “I use heavy-duty baitcasters and medium-heavy rods because it is tough pulling some of the bigger catfish out of the river, especially when the current is moving. I had some rods baited with cut bluegill and some with cut gizzard shad and two with live bluegill. Within the first five minutes, we caught a 6-lb. blue catfish and had just put it in the livewell when one of my rods with a piece of cut bluegill started getting a bite. I could tell the fish was on, so I reeled down, and as soon as I felt the weight of the fish, I knew it was a big fish. He didn’t really fight all that much until he broke the surface of the water, and then it was on.”
For the next 10 minutes, Nicholas would get the big flathead almost within netting distance, and then he would make a run back down.
“He was finally wore down enough that I got him close enough for Kyle to scoop him in the net,” said Nicholas. “Not even five minutes after we had the big fish in the live well, I caught another 20-lb. flathead, and we knew we were in good shape for the weigh-in. We continued to fish and ended up with another decent blue catfish and weighed in three fish at 77.40 pounds.”
Nicholas said he’s enjoyed the new record, celebrating the accomplishment with some good folks.
“Marty Highnote, who runs the M&J Catfish War tournament trail, always puts on a great tournament. His schedule is posted on their Facebook page,” said Nicholas.
Interestingly, Nicholas broke the old record of 40-lbs., 11.2-ozs. caught by Tiff Thompson on March 9, 2019. That fish was also caught during an M&J Catfish War tournament.
“I want to thank Hixon’s Hardware and Trading Post in Cuthbert for allowing me to use their certified scales,” said Nicholas
“The best part about catching the fish was having my son there to be a part of it with me, and now he will be hooked for years to come.”
Nicholas is the tournament director for Chatt Katt Catfishing, and they host 9 tournaments a year from Eufaula dam down to Andrews Lake.
Andrews Lake Record Fish
|Blue Catfish||80-lbs., 4-ozs.||Ernest Timpson||02/02/10|
|Shellcracker||2-lbs., 6-ozs.||Jim Hart||1983|
|Flathead Catfish||44-lbs.||Nicholas Leeson||03/04/23|
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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