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Huge Lanier Catfish Caught And Released

Could this monster catfish have broken the Lake Lanier record?

Hunter Galloway | February 23, 2018

Blake Buchanan, of Ball Ground, is an avid bass fisherman and spends a good bit of time on the water.

“Thanks to my work schedule, I get to fish two to three times week,” said Blake. “I decided to take one of my normal fishing trips to Lake Lanier yesterday (Feb. 22). I got on the water around 10:30.”

Blake is a bass fisherman and never really focuses on any other species of fish, but on this day he was in for a big surprise.

“I was fishing in pockets that morning,” said Blake. “I ended up catching around 15 bass. The water temp was 63 degrees in the pocket, and I was throwing a crankbait in 3 feet of water. Around 12, the sun started to peak out. I made a cast and got a bite. At first, I thought it was a big largemouth bass by the way its head was shaking.”

When the fish started to head strongly toward deeper water out of the pocket, Blake realized it had to be either a catfish, carp or gar.

“I fought this fish for 15 minutes and assumed I had foul hooked a fish, then I finally caught a glimpse of the tail. I knew then it was a large catfish. With a 6-7 medium cranking rod and 10-lb. fluorocarbon fishing line, it was a heck of a fight.”

After 25 minutes of Blake fighting this fish, it surfaced again for a better look.

“By then, I knew it was a really big catfish,” said Blake. “I figured I would try to net it but found out real quick this fish wouldn’t fit in my net. I made a plan B real fast and found a glove in my boat. I was scared to death to grab it, but I stuck my hand in the fish’s mouth and put it in the boat. I struggled to even pick it up.”

Blake’s fishing net is 4 feet long, and the massive catfish was longer than the net. That really puts into perspective how big this fish was.

“Its head was the size of my chest,” said Blake. “I did have a scale, but I didn’t want to risk breaking my scale or risk killing the fish. I never want to kill a fish. This fish was every bit of 40 plus pounds. I took a few photos, plus a video, and the fish was released back into the lake for someone else to catch. I never in my life fought something so powerful. Incredible fish.”

At the time, Blake didn’t know what kind of catfish this was mainly because he bass fishes. Blake’s friend verified that it was a flathead catfish, and that he should have had it weighed, but by that time, he had already released it.

According to GON‘s official Georgia Lake and River Records, the current flathead catfish record for Lake Lanier is 51-lbs., 10-ozs. That Lanier flathead was caught by Rodney Stephens in August of 2016. Is it possible that Blake’s big catfish could have been the new lake record? We will never know, but judging by the photos, it looks like it could have been close.

Largemouth Bass 17-lbs., 9-ozs. Emory Dunahoo 12/19/65
Spotted Bass 8-lbs., 0.5-ozs. Patrick Bankston 05/20/85
Striped Bass 47-lbs., 12-ozs. Ward Schanhals 04/03/10
Hybrid Bass 12-lbs. Fred Duncan 12/22/92
White Bass 5-lbs., 1-oz.* J.M. Hobbins 06/16/71
Shoal Bass 5-lbs., 5-ozs. Peter T. Thliveros 12/01/94
White Crappie 3-lbs., 2-ozs. Bill Fretwell 04/17/91
Black Crappie 3-lbs., 5-ozs. Chris Williams 10/06/06
Walleye 8-lbs., 9-ozs. Buddy Wade 01/20/13
Bluegill 1-lb., 2-ozs. Mrs. Pat Johnson 06/03/79
Yellow Perch 1-lb., 8-ozs. Jeff Howard 02/02/90
Shellcracker 1-lb., 9.44-ozs. Michael Madryga 12/12/21
Rainbow Trout 9-lbs., 6-ozs. Brooke Wheeler 03/02/19
Brown Trout 6-lbs. Tim Wyatt 04/24/04
Flathead Catfish
51-lbs., 10-ozs.
Rodney Stephens
08/14/16
Channel Catfish 22-lbs., 8-ozs. Robert Hancock 09/28/11
Longnose Gar 30-lbs., 13-ozs. Gerald Kennedy 09/04/13
Common Carp 14-lbs., 10.24-ozs. Cooper Henley 03/14/21

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