Eighty-three pounds of Georgia catfish
||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.