Oconee Catfish Haul Includes 45-lb. Flathead

Rick Burns | May 16, 2019

It was an overnight fishing trip to remember in the upper stretches of Lake Oconee for Lynn Lucas, of Eatonton, and his friend Will Hawn.

Lynn, who turned 78 years old at the end of May, said they fished the night of May 8 and into the morning of May 9. By daybreak, they had run out of cooler space to fit all the catfish they boated—and they had a lot of coolers. Lynn is well known in the Lake Country for his Original Lucas Catch All spinners, which he has been making for 30 years.  

Lynn stopped by the GON office the morning of May 9 as he was headed home to Eatonton. He was admittedly worn out from lack of sleep—and from wrestling catfish into the boat. The bed of Lynn’s pickup truck was filled with coolers that were stuffed with blues and flatheads, including a 45-lb., 13-oz. flathead catfish that was only 4 pounds shy of the Lake Oconee record.

Lynn and Will were running lines up the river after putting in at Dyar Pasture, but he caught the big one on a rod and reel with a bass shiner. 

Lynn Lucas and a buddy caught a serious mess of catfish.

“We like to get out there and have all our lines baited by just before dark,” Lynn said. “We went up the river, and we only had 20 baits.”

They were using live bream.

“We got them baited and were coming back down, and we were already catching fish. When we got back to the ramp, I got in the truck and laid down for a couple of hours while Will went to get some more bait. He has a private pond where he could catch some bream.”

After running the lines again later in the morning, Lynn and Will were in the boat near Dyar Pasture. Lynn tossed a bass shiner into the water along a drop-off ledge, and soon he was hooked up with the big flathead on a small spinning outfit. 

“That rascal, he would get close to the boat, and then he would take off again,” Lynn said. “I could tell he was a hoss. That little spinning reel was just a screaming, and he was taking a bunch of line. He’d let me gain some on him by pumping the rod and taking up line. Finally I got him up, and Will got him in that 29-inch wide net.”

When asked how long it took to boat the giant catfish, Lynn said, “I was too busy battling him to notice, but my friend said later it was about 20 minutes.”

Lynn Lucas caught this flathead on a spinning outfit with a live bass shiner. The cat weighed 45-lbs., 13-ozs. on digital scales.

The big one had a “tag” in its dorsal fin that looked like a zip tie. No agency has tagged catfish on Oconee, so it was likely an angler marking a big cat.

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