Ellijay Teen Owns New Carters Lake Flathead Record

Brad Gill | May 28, 2020

Ellijay’s new hometown hero is 13-year-old Wyatt Stokes, who recently added his name to GON’s Georgia Lake & River Records listing with a Carters Lake flathead catfish that weighed 41-lbs., 12-ozs.

“He was ecstatic. He couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t either, we were both excited,” said Jamie Stokes, Wyatt’s dad.

The two were bank fishing at daylight on the morning of May 6 on the upper end of Carters Lake where the river feeds into the lake. Every spring they enjoy striper fishing in this stretch of the lake.

“The only reason he was catfishing that day was because we had been striper fishing, and he was bored with it because we weren’t catching anything,” said Jamie. “He decide he wanted to do something to catch some fish, and I told him catfish were always biting this time of year. That’s what caused him to do that. Now he’s hooked, he just wants to catfish. He doesn’t even want to striper fish anymore.”

Wyatt was fishing a live gizzard shad on a Texas-rig with an Eagle Claw 2/0 hook and a sliding bullet sinker on an Abu Garcia 6500. The flathead bit in about 15 feet of water and about 45 minutes after they started fishing.

Wyatt Stokes, 13, of Ellijay, with the new Carters Lake flathead catfish record that weighed 41-lbs., 12-ozs.

“He let the fish run a little ways until he knew it had the bait in its mouth, and then he followed it down and set the hook. He’s a good fishermen for his age, we’ve done it all our life,” said Jamie.

Wyatt’s battle with his new lake record lasted probably as long as any we’ve heard about in recent years.

“It  probably took him every bit of an hour to get it to the bank,” said Jamie. “It’s real rocky where we are fishing, and I guess what it would do is nose dive under some of those rocks, and he would say ‘I’m hung.’ I told him to just pull it tight and hold steady pressure. He’d pull real tight on it, and I guess it would start hurting his nose, and he’d swim up, and he’d pull him 2 or 3 feet, and he’d take off and go 20 or 30 feet off. He did that for at least an hour before we could finally get him to the bank.”

Thankfully, Ace Hardware in Ellijay is a friend to GON readers and allowed the Stokes to weigh the new record catfish on their certified scales. The 41-lb., 12-oz. catfish is one of just a few Georgia Lake & River Records listings held by a teenager.

GON’s Official Carters Lake Record Fish

Largemouth Bass 13-lbs., 1-oz. Jimmy Dixon 04/11/87
Spotted Bass 7-lbs., 3-ozs. Leonard Lawson 12/05/92
Hybrid Bass 14-lbs., 6-ozs. Hunter Bruce 04/03/12
Black Crappie 2-lbs., 1-oz. Brian Childs 05/20/00
Striped Bass 36-lbs., 0-ozs. Angela Hawes 08/22/09
Walleye 8-lbs., 11-ozs. Gary Hawkins 03/09/03
Bluegill 1-lb., 11-ozs. Jonathon Sutton 04/12/98
Rainbow Trout 3-lbs., 12.48-ozs. Mike Guthrie 04/28/17
Flathead Catfish 41-lbs., 12-ozs. Wyatt Stokes 05/06/20
Blue Catfish 17-lbs., 4.64-ozs. Gary Turner 08/17/14
White Crappie 3-lbs., 4.9-ozs. Chandler Watkins 02/28/21

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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