||Screven general contractor Jim Dieveney had extra motivation as he fought the catfish the size of a runway model.
“I was by myself,” Dieveney, 55, told the AJC. Would anyone believe him if he didn’t produce the 83-pound flathead catfish?
He said it took 15 to 20 minutes to land the monster he caught on the Altamaha River in Wayne County Sunday morning. The catch ties the state flathead catfish record set four years ago by Carl Sawyer on the same river. It’s a record that could easily be broken, as flathead catfish can weight up to 125 pounds.
“I was pretty shocked when I saw it,” said Dieveney, fishing with a saltwater shark rod. “I got him up about three to four times before finally getting him on my dock.”
The next step was to find a certified scale — not easy on a Sunday morning. “Everyone I knew who had one was at church,” Dieveney said.
He kept the fish alive in a children’s wading pool before finally getting up with the state Wildlife Resources Division. Dieveney donated his catch to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources but hopes to have a mold made of the beastly fish, which has a tasty reputation.
“Cleaning it would take awhile,” Dieveney said. “Gotta get all the fat out.”
Also known as Appaloosa cats, the flatheads are one of five varieties of catfish found in Georgia. They typically nest in deep, murky pools with light currents, said Bert Deener, the DNR’s fisheries regional supervisor. Live bait, like the bream used by Dieveney, is advised if you want to catch a flathead, which are prevalent in the southeast Georgia river.
Dieveney told the AJC he hopes to break his own record. No doubt an 84-pounder would suffice.
When people talk about going fishing it is generally where they are going, what kind of fish they are going to catch, and how many. All good things. that I will grant you. But I will give you a reason that at times may be more important than any other. Fishing with a loved one or friend gives you a great opportunity to bond together and in many cases talk about things in your or their personal life that would never come up in normal situations.
I was reminded of this recently when my son visited. He was here on leave from the Army with his wife and family and I invited him to spend a day fishing with me. In truth, the fishing was terrible but I think we both had a very good time getting re-acquainted. We had not had an opportunity to be alone together for over two years and sitting by the lake with nothing but nature around us was a very good place to spend time together.
My father took me fishing when I was a kid and in many ways is how I got to know him as a man. I hope that makes sense to you because we would talk about things he or I did that we would never discuss at home. That is true now with my son.
If you have kids, take them fishing. When fishing teach them to be responsible for the environment. And perhaps most important, when possible treat them as equals so they will know that they can talk to you and discuss their problems with you without consequences. In this day and age I believe this is more important than ever.
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If you really want to catch a big catfish, and I mean really big, you will want to know what the best bait for catfish is. Something that works better than anything else for Flathead catfish. Yes, Flathead, those monsters can weigh as much as 123 lbs, the record and are regularly hauled in weighing 40-80 lbs.
No matter what you have used before there is one bait that consistently works better than any other bait for Flathead catfish in most situations. But you will have to check because in some states it is illegal to use. But if it is legal in your area you had better have the heavy tackle ready. You will need it.
The best bait for catfish, flatheads that is, is bullhead catfish. Catfish are the “sharks of fresh water” and are extremely territorial. Bullheads cause a territorial reaction in all species of catfish. Catfish do not have a problem eating their own. Putting a bullhead in their territory will make a big catfish very aggressive.
You will want a 4-6 inch bullhead. Hook him through the mouth with a number 4 octopus hook. Toss him out there and hang on tight because he is going to get nailed. I hope you brought the heavy tackle because if you didn’t you will never get that monster in.
I have to warn you, check your local rules and regulations. Bullhead are considered game fish in some states so you have to check and make sure they are legal to use as bait.
Good luck on your next outing. Visit Catfish Bait Recipes to get great homemade catfish baits.