Wife Breaks Husband’s Catfish River Record

Rachel Harrison earned bragging rights around the house with her Oostanaula River flathead.

Mike Bolton | May 10, 2023

Rachel Harrison with the new Oostanaula River flathead catfish record.

Rachel Harrison is a serious angler who has years of fishing under his belt. She laughs when she says she may have trouble getting family and friends to accompany her on future fishing trips. She recently broke the Oostanaula River record for flathead catfish with a fish that was officially weighed by WRD at 40-lbs., 13-ozs.

The record she broke? The previous record had been on the books for 16 years. That record was held by her husband, Jason, with a 37-lb., 3-oz. catfish caught in 2007. Rachel says now having bragging rights at home is especially sweet.

The school nurse from Gordon is no stranger to record fish. Last March, she set the state record for longnose gar with a 31-lb., 2-oz. fish from the Coosa River.

Coosa River Longnose Gar Breaks Georgia State Record

When she broke the Oostanaula flathead record, Rachel and her husband were camping on some private land and decided to sit around a fire and do some fishing from the bank when it got dark. About 9:30, they put baits on some lines and cast them into the river. 

“We put out some bream, some cutbaits and we had this big, old 9-inch drum we put on one line,” she said. “We were sitting around the fire when we heard a big splash. I figured it was a striper. I looked at the rods and the one with drum was moving.”

Rachel picked up the rod and it started ripping drag. The fight was on.

“The fish actually cooperated pretty well,” she said. “It ripped out drag at first, but she was full of eggs. The river wasn’t swift, and that helped.”

She estimated the fight lasted about 15 minutes. The big flathead had swallowed the 9-inch drum whole. The fish was released alive once it was officially weighed by WRD.

Rachel says she is now going to set her sights on breaking the striper record, which is just over 36 pounds.

“Every time I go fishing, I tell everybody all I want to do is catch a little old 40-pounder,” she said with a laugh.


Oostanaula River Records

Striped Bass36-lbs., 3-ozs.Phillip Lanier04/03/2016
Flathead40-lbs., 13-ozs.Rachel Harrison05/06/23
Blue Catfish40-lbs., 8-ozs.David Harrison8/14/2003
Longnose Gar22-lbs., 6.88-ozs.Dalton Perry04/23/22
Largemouth7-lbs., 5-ozs.Kyle Flanagan04/27/2019
Spotted Bass4-lbs.Justin Worthing06/03/23
Freshwater Drum5-lbs., 5-ozs.Rachel Harrison06/10/23

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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  1. robrowe on May 11, 2023 at 11:41 am

    I cannot access any articles. It takes me to a page to subscribe. Help

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