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Lake-Record, 36-lb. Blackshear Appaloosa Caught On Jigging Spoon

Angler using unconventional technique to catch monster catfish.

Nick Carter | December 1, 2008

Living on Lake Blackshear, Mike Bullington used to be involved in the bass-tournament scene, but an unusual pattern he discovered three years ago while fishing for deep bass has turned him into a catfish angler for a couple months each year. That pattern landed him the new lake-record appaloosa (flathead) catfish on Nov. 2, 2008, a 36-lb., 6.08-oz. behemoth that eclipses the previous record of 18-lbs., 1-oz. — a record which has stood since 2004.

Actually, Mike said he has probably broken the lake record a dozen times in the past three years. Thinking the record was 28 pounds, he never bothered to have a fish weighed on certified scales until now. He said he had to drive all over the place to find a recently certified scale at GFA Peanut Company in Cordele. The fish was positively identified by Jody Swearingen, the hatchery manager at the Cordele hatchery.

Mike Bullington set a Blackshear lake record with his flathead he caught Nov. 2, 2008. He said he’s probably broken the record several times, but he thought the old record was heavier and never had his catches certified.

Mike’s technique may come as a surprise to many catfishermen. He doesn’t fish live or cutbait; he fishes artificials. From November until December, when water temps are in the low 60s, Mike goes to the outside bends of the river channel and flutters a spoon off the bottom in 30 to 38 feet of water, just like he’s spooning for bass. He caught his lake record on a 2-oz., chrome Strata spoon fished on a medium-action bass rig with 20-lb. test line.

“It’s like fishing for grouper. You get ’em up to the boat, and they go straight back down,” Mike said. “This one ripped drag all the way down to 40 feet. I had to tilt my rod over to keep him from breaking it.”

Mike said it took about 20 minutes to land the fish, and at one point it hung up in some trash on the bottom. Mike kept steady pressure on the beast until it came free. Then he did his best to steer it out into the channel where there is less trash.

Jody said there have been some big appaloosa cats caught out of the river above and below Blackshear, but this is the biggest he’s ever seen come out of the lake.

 

Current Lake Blackshear Official Lake Records

Largemouth Bass 11-lbs., 7.84-ozs. Scott Holland 04/01/06
Striped Bass 35-lbs., 1.6-ozs. Steve Phillips 02/03/18
Black Crappie 3-lbs., 9.28-ozs. Casey Tanner 04/13/19
White Crappie 2-lbs., 15-ozs. Paula Short 03/29/07
Flathead Catfish 39-lbs., 15.04-ozs. Shannen Kitchens 09/15/17
Hybrid Bass 10-lbs., 0.16-ozs. Billy Myers 12/23/19
Yellow Perch 1-lb., 5.6-ozs. Stephen Lane 12/11/2020
Shellcracker 2-lbs., 1.44-ozs. Robin Van Dette 04/24/22

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