Shane Campbell, 14, caught this 49-pound, 48-inch flathead catfish Sunday evening at Old City Lake in Highland. According to Jerry Simpson of Jerry’s Tackle Shop in Highland, it is the biggest fish ever caught at the roughly 25-acre lake.
Campbell was fishing with a red eye shad lure in about 7 to 8 feet of water hoping for a nice final catch of a bass or crappie when he got the surprise of a lifetime.
The 14-year-old felt a huge tug on the end of his 12-pound test line for which he described as, “It felt like a freight train. Then he took off right away and headed toward the other side of the lake.”
Shane Campbell and his 49-pound catfish
Campbell wrestled with the monster on his lure for about 30 minutes before he and his dad, Jim Campbell, completed the landing of the giant fish on the bank at about 7:30 p.m.
It was a 49-pound, 48-inch flathead catfish. It is the largest fish ever known to be caught out of the roughly 25-acre Old City Lake, according to Jerry Simpson of Jerry’s Tackle Shop in Highland.
“I thought it was a big carp until I seen it, that huge head come to the top of the water,” Shane Campbell said.
“He was quite surprised. It was the fish of a lifetime,” Jim Campbell said.
Using the 12-pound test line on his 6-foot medium Quantum rod equipped with a Bass Pro Qualifier reel, there was plenty of give and take, with the four-foot, nearly 50-pound fish stripping a load of line before Campbell reeled it back in.
The first time Shane got it close to the bank, Jim was forced to try and grab the flathead by his huge tail. The catfish powered away toward the far banks again. But the second time was a charm as Jim was able to get a hold of the huge breathing gills alongside the fish’s enormous head and muscle it out of the water.
Jim and Shane used paint and cloth to make a keepsake impression of the landmark fish.
“Forty nine pounds is a great fish,” said Ryan T. Hummert, natural resource manager for the City of Highland. “We have some great fishing opportunities for anglers in both the Old City Lake as well as Silver Lake; a 49-pound flathead is a testament to that. Congratulations to Shane on a great catch.”