High Falls Lake Record Flathead Catfish

GON Staff | June 26, 2001

It was just after 7 a.m. on Thursday April, 26, 2001 when Hugh Rainey, of Griffin, went down to the dock in front of his friend Bobby Beasley’s home on High Falls Lake. Hugh, Bobby and Billy Redding, also of Griffin, had been fishing for catfish the day before off the dock, and had left a couple of rods in rod-holders with the lines in the water overnight. The lines were baited with live shad.

Hugh Rainey with his High Falls record flathead.

Hugh picked up one of the rods, equipped with a Mitchell 1160 spinning reel spooled with 25-lb. monofilament. The line was dangling straight down off the dock and didn’t look encouraging, but when Hugh tightened down, he felt a heavy fish on the end of the line, which immediately began to thrash and fight by the dock.

Hugh began to yell and holler for help, and Bobby and Billy came running. When Bobby saw the huge flathead catfish thrashing on the end of the line, he grabbed his big dip net and jumped straight into the shallow water by the dock and attempted to net the fish.

He finally got most of the fish’s head in the net and struggled with it to the dock, where Billy and Hugh helped him wrestle the flopping monster onto the boards. Though Billy and Hugh had not jumped into the lake like Bobby, the catfish had soaked them down just the same.

A WRD fisheries biologist witnessed the weighing of the fish on certified scales at Adams-Briscoe Farm Supply in Forsyth. It weighed 60 pounds, a new record for High Falls Lake.

The previous lake record is also a previous state record. Charles Price, of Locust Grove, held the state record for two years with a 53-lb., 8-oz. flathead caught on June 10, 1993. Charles had narrowly beaten another big High Falls flathead that was also the state record, a 53-lb. cat caught by Larry Smith on August 15, 1987.

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