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Noodling teens land monster catfish

Mikey Catlett, Noah and Mason Hilgendorf show the monster flathead they caught while noodling on Lake Sinclair. Photo contributed.

By Lynn Hobbs

One lake resident and four young people now have a unique and surprising memory of Memorial Day 2023 on Lake Sinclair.  Lifelong resident and president of Lake Country Fishing Jim Lumpkin shared the story on social media.

While working in his lakeside yard, Jim said he noticed four young people hop out of their boat near the shore up Little River. Naturally, he became intrigued. After about 10 minutes of hearing their excited screams and discussion, Jim called out to the group. The teens yelled back that they caught a big fish and were bringing it to show him.

“There were no rods, jigs, or trot lines, so I was completely confused,” Jim said. But as soon as they got across the cove, Jim said he “saw the monster they were screaming about.”

“This young group had caught a 43.4-pound flathead by noodling under a residential boat ramp,” he explained when talking to the Boating writer.

The scene that caught Jim Lumpkin's attention.

The teens, Mikey Catlett, Noah and Mason Hilgendorf, and Trinity Odom, searched around a boat ramp that had cracked and left holes that seemed to beg their exploration. It was there they grabbled the monster shovelhead.

Because it was after 5 p.m. on a holiday, Jim said the options were very limited to get a certified weight or to determine if noodled catfish qualify for the lake record. He was the one who weighed the hog for the kids, so the weight is unofficial.

Although it is unlawful to fish for most gamefish in Georgia’s freshwaters by grabbling, noodling, or hand grabbing, the exceptions are flathead, channel, and blue catfish. Those may be taken by hand without the aid of any device, hook, snare, net, or other instrument… between March 1 and July 15 of each year, according to Georgia Code 27-4-37.

So, the four 18-year-olds now have one amazing fishing story to tell, and a witness to confirm it. Jim said he was impressed that Trinity (the young lady) jumped in to help pull the monster catfish out of the water.

“You can’t make this story up. Congratulations to Mikey, Noah, Mason, and Trinity for adding some unexpected excitement to this Memorial Day!” he said.

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This story was published in Lake Country Boating 2023 magazine and belongs to Smith Communications, Inc.


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