Lower Chattahoochee Flathead Catfish Sets Record

Tiff Thompson was fishing a tournament when he caught a 40.7-lb. flathead catfish.

Daryl Kirby | March 21, 2019

A new record for flathead catfish on the lower Chattahoochee River was set on Saturday, March 9, 2019 by Tiff Thompson, of Americus. Tiff was fishing an M&J Catfish War Tournament Trail event when he caught his record flathead.

The next day, when Tiff got the fish weighed on certified scales at Stripling’s General Store at Lake Blackshear, an official weight of 40.7 pounds (40-lbs., 11.2-ozs.) was recorded.

Tiff said he was fishing a stretch of the Chattahoochee between Fort Gaines and the Columbia Lock & Dam when the record flathead hit. He was using a live redbreast as bait. Live bream are allowed as bait as long as the bream are caught on rod and reel.

Tiff Thompson with his record flathead catfish during the March 9, 2019 M&J Catfish War Tournament weigh-in on the lower Chattahoochee River.

I was fishing heavy tackle because I fish log jams in the river with heavy cover,” Tiff said. 

For GON’s Lake & River Records, the lower Chattahoochee is the stretch below Lake Eufaula and above Lake Seminole.

Tiff was fishing the tournament with his 8-year-old daughter McKinley.

“She’s fished with me on several tournaments,” Tiff said. “Now she says she wants to be a professional fisherman. I’ve been doing tournaments since 2006,” he said.

Even though everyone knew it was a flathead, Tiff wanted to make sure to meet the criteria to get his fish certified as a record, and it was Monday before he could connect with DNR Fisheries to get the species verified as a flathead.

Tiff is a regular on the catfish tournament circuit. He has won the prestigious Wayne County Catfish Tournament three times, and he placed 5th last year. Tiff also guides for catfish, specializing on big flatheads on the Altamaha and Ochlockonee rivers in south Georgia and the Applalachicola, Chipola and Choctawhatchee rivers in north Florida. His guide service is called Get A Life Guide Service.

This is Tiff’s second record fish. He also has the record for a Flint River flathead catfish that weighed 43 pounds caught April 13, 2012.

The next M&J tournament on the Chattahoochee is a nighttime event on April 13, launching from Gordon Boat Ramp off Jowers Road in Gordan, Ala.



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