After having no luck catching bait the morning of Feb. 2 and having to use bait that had been on ice for two days, Jake Herman, of Acworth, finally got that one special bite and reeled in a 43-lb., 9.6-oz. Lake Allatoona blue catfish. Jake’s blue catfish broke the existing Allatoona record by more than 7 1/2 pounds.
Jake released the fish after getting it weighed on certified scales and verified by a state Fisheries biologist.
“I was in a suspended drift, and I was dragging bait from about 10 a.m. in the morning until about 2:30 or 3 p.m., and I couldn’t catch any fish,” Jake said. “The wind started to pick up, so I went and anchored up on one of my favorite spots, and after about an hour, I got a bite. And that is the only fish I caught all day.”
Using his special livewell system for catfish tournament fishing, Jake then took the huge fish to the WRD Fisheries office in Armuchee to be weighed on certified scales because he knew it was a good catch.
“While weighing the fish, an older bass fisherman came up and thanked me for getting that thing out of the lake and followed with, ‘You don’t know how many $8 lures big cats cost me.’ When I told him the fish was being released, he just walked away. I don’t understand how people have so little respect for a species that is not even what they target,” said Jake.
Jake added that his friend, Aaron Churchwell, holds the Coosa River flathead record. Aaron’s flathead weighed 46-lbs., 6.4-ozs. and was caught Sept. 16, 2015.
“He is my tournament partner. We started out fishing against each other. We were always placing close to each other. I was normally trailing one or two spots behind him,” said Jake. “We fish all over the southeast in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.”
Jake said they fish the Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail, Mississippi River Monsters and a smaller trail in Alabama called the HOLD’em HOOK Catfish Trail.
“A big reason we primarily tournament fish Alabama and Tennessee is because it is hard to produce trophy fish without help,” said Jake. “Georgia does not have any regulations, which makes it hard for us tournament guys to get people to travel and come fish to our state. We plan to follow the Middle Georgia Catfish Anglers tournament trail this year and try to support Georgia catfish tournaments.”
Jake was using a Tomcat heavy-action rod, which are custom made in Minnesota. He also said he was using Elite rod holders (www.eliterodholders.com).
With the 43-lb., 9.6-oz. blue cat being the only fish Jake caught, he still said it still made for a memorable fishing trip.