Sinclair All Nighter Produces New Flathead Record

Mike Bolton | August 6, 2022

Tommy Spell with Sinclair’s latest flathead catfish record. The big fish weighed 39 pounds.

Lake Sinclair has always been a big part of Tommy Spell’s life. He grew up fishing there and that hasn’t changed through the years. It’s more than 55 miles from his Alamo home, but he still makes the trek there often because it the largest lake closest to his home.

Those late-night hours fishing for catfish and all those road miles paid off for him recently when he caught the largest flathead catfish ever recorded from the lake. The big cat weighed 39 pounds and has been certified as the lake record.

“I had been fishing all night,” he said. “I was fishing with flatworms and cutbait on a couple of rods and live bream on two other lines. I had already caught a couple of blues and one flathead. About 3 a.m., the big flathead hit the rod with my smallest catfish reel.

After a battle that Tommy said lasted 12 to 15 minutes, he finally got the big cat in his boat. He knew immediately it was big.

“It was too big to get into my livewell,” he said. “I knew a buddy who was fishing nearby. I called him and told him to come over to see if we could get it into his livewell. He did, and we got it in there.”

Once Tommy calmed down, he got to thinking. Was the big cat a Lake Sinclair record? He looked it up on his phone and saw that the record was 36 pounds. He figured his catfish was at least that big.

“I called my buddy back and told him whatever he did keep water on the fish and keep it alive,” he said. “I didn’t know what the rules were, so I didn’t want to take any chances. I couldn’t find out much at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Later that morning, he contacted DNR and found out exactly what he needed to do. He set off looking for certified scales that could weigh a fish that big.

“I finally found Smith Farm Supply, and they had the scales that could handle it,” he said.

The fish wasn’t his biggest catfish ever, but it was his largest flathead. He caught a 52-lb. blue cat on Santee-Cooper five years ago.


Lake Sinclair Record Fish

Largemouth Bass13-lbs., 2-ozs.Jimmy Edge02/10/90
Hybrid Bass10-lbs., 7-ozs.David Phillips11/27/98
Striped Bass42-lbs.Mike Wicks-
White Bass2-lbs., 7-ozs.James Borders Jr.07/12/92
Black Crappie2-lbs., 11.5-ozs.Brent Moye01/22/00
Channel Catfish21-lbs., 5-ozs.Kenny Durden05/02/07
Longnosed Gar15-lb., 3-ozs.Dustin Turk08/18/09
Flathead Catfish39-lbs.Tommy Spell07/19/22
Blue Catfish73-lbs., 12.16-ozs.Brandon Pitts01/26/24
Yellow Perch15.04-ozs.Eric Phillips02/09/22
Spotted Bass3-lbs., 9.76-ozs.Larry Cason05/10/21
Warmouth12-ozs.Christopher Leverette02/22/23

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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