Clarks Hill Giant Flathead Catfish

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Kelly Chavous said he was looking for a bigger boat when this massive 50-lb. fish emerged.

Kelly Chavous, of Columbia County, finally got to hold a once-in-a-lifetime flathead catfish out at Clarks Hill Lake in Lincoln County on May 25.

Kelly, his nephew Tyler and Kelly’s buddy Mike “The Catfish King” Arrington dropped the boat in the lake around 7 p.m. and set out a few jugs with live bluegill in one of the back coves. They then went out striper fishing to give the catfish jugs some time to soak as the sun began to set.

It was wet and rainy throughout the entire night of fishing, and Kelly was soaked to the core by the time they got back to the jugs. He had seen this particular jug take off, but they gave it about 45 minutes to let things settle down to make sure the fish stayed on. It was about 6 a.m. when Kelly reached down to pull the jug up.

“I was nasty and cold and wet by the time we went to pull the fish up,” said Kelly. “When I saw the fish, that all went away. It was amazing. I remember thinking, ‘I think we’re going to need a bigger boat.’”

Kelly smiles with his 50-lb. catfish despite being soaked and cold after a rainy night on Clarks Hill Lake.

Unfortunately, Kelly was not able to weigh the massive fish on certified scales, but when you have a fish like this one, you’re going to find one way or another to get the fish on some sort of scale.

“I wasn’t able to put it on certified scales, so I had to get the scale out of the bathroom, get on and weigh myself, and then get back on with the fish,” said Kelly. “My wife wasn’t too happy about that.”

According to Kelly, the fish weighed about 56 pounds.

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