Ocmulgee River Record Flathead Catfish

GON Staff | July 2, 2002

A group of fishermen from the Griffin area were vacationing along the waters of the Ocmulgee River. Their vacation ended in a brand new flathead catfish record for the river, one that shattered the old record by more than 28 pounds. (From left to right): Reginald Shiftlett, Rich Hulsey, Howard Bauchcum, the new record holder Hiram Baughcum and Joshua Clower.

A relaxing fishing vacation to the Ocmulgee River with four good buddies during the summer of 2002 turned into a record-breaking enterprise for 72-year-old Hiram Baughcum, of Griffin.

On July 2, 2002, Hiram successfully hooked and boated the new Ocmulgee River record catfish. The oversized cat weighed 59-lbs., 2-ozs. and measured 46 1/4 inches long. Hiram shattered the old record, a 30-lb., 8-oz. flathead caught on May 4, 2001 by Rich Queen, by more than 28 pounds.

Hiram and his buddies were fishing a stretch of the Ocmulgee River about 12 miles south of Hawkinsville, a stretch he’s very familiar with. Hiram, whose biggest catfish before the record catch was a 35-lb. flathead, has been fishing the river for nearly 50 years.

“We camped out down there Monday, planning to fish for two days,” said Hiram. “We didn’t do anything on Monday. By late Tuesday afternoon we hadn’t done anything either, and I told the guys I was ready to go home. However, we decided we were enjoying ourselves so much that we’d stay and fish some more.”

Hiram was in a 16-foot long, 6-foot wide, flat-bottomed boat with Rich Hulsey, from Griffin. His brother Howard was in a different boat, but he was within sight. Hiram was fishing with a Diawa spinning reel, using a big earthworm on the bottom of a 30-foot hole with just a No. 2 hook.

“About 4 o’clock, the old spinner bowed all the way down to the water,” said Hiram. “It was probably 20 minutes before I ever saw him, so I knew I had the biggest one I ever hung. We had a ball, I really enjoyed that.”

The fish was boated, then weighed at the Fort Valley WRD Fisheries office the next day and is believed to have lost 5 percent of its original weight.

“I’m just guessing, but the flathead is probably between 15 and 20 years old, maybe a little older,” said WRD Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger. “We believe that flatheads were introduced into the Ocmulgee probably from the Flint River sometime back in the 1970s.”


Ocmulgee River Record Fish

Largemouth Bass22-lbs., 4-ozs.**George Perry06/02/32
Shoal Bass7-lbs., 8.8-ozs.Charles Mitchell05/17/06
Spotted Bass5-lbs., 12-ozs.C.J. Rice03/09/14
Channel Catfish33-lbs., 8-ozs.Travis Wilson05/12/08
Flathead Catfish59-lbs., 2-ozs.Hiram Baughcum07/02/02
Green Sunfish1-lbs., 8-ozs.Rodney Robertson07/19/08
Shellcracker3-lbs., 4-ozs.Terry Stone06/16/07
Bluegill1-lb., 6-ozs.Stanley Wiggins06/26/19
Hybrid Bass7-lbs., 11.84-ozs.Josh McDonald04/04/20
Redbreast12.8-ozs.A.J. Lewis06/06/20

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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