Ten-year-old Tucker Waits, of Social Circle, put a 50.3-lb. Lake Oconee flathead catfish in the boat after a five-minute battle on rod-and-reel. Tucker was fishing with his dad, TJ, and Charlie Alexander, also from Social Circle, on Saturday, March 4 in the first Middle Georgia Catfish Anglers tournament of the year.
“It was 8:30 a.m., and we were anchored on our first spot,” said T.J. “The tip of the rod slowly started going down, and the fight was on. Tucker fought the fish for five minutes. The fish was stripping drag, and all Tucker could do was hold on. The fish would come up a few feet and head back for the deep. When we finally got the fish in the net, we were amazed at his size.”
The catch was posted on TJ’s Facebook page and is embedded below.
The team ended up placing first with three fish that weighed 72 pounds. Tucker won big fish for the day. According to GON‘s Lake and River Records, the current Oconee flathead record is 49-lbs., 1.28-ozs.
“We searched for certified scales to confirm that Tucker had the lake record, but our efforts turned up no place to have the weight certified,” said TJ. “Tucker, who is an advocate of CPR (catch, photo, release) for all trophy-sized fish, made the decision to let the fish go and not jeopardize the health of the fish. A special thanks to David Ashby, owner Bottom Dwellers Tackle, who sent Tucker a personal letter explaining the importance of catch and release to preserve the future of the sport we love.”
Tucker is on the Bottom Dwellers Tackle Pro Staff.
GON keeps and compiles Georgia’s official Lake and River Records, which are published each February in GON magazine. If you catch a fish you think might be a lake or river record, call GON at (800) 438-4663 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
All potential record fish must be weighed on certified scales (tested by Ga. Dept. of Agriculture) for consideration. GON encourages all tournament-trail directors to get their scales certified so that we can recognize more lake and river records.
For some species, a verification by a fisheries biologist will be required.