A Georgia angler using light tackle for white bass hauled in a much bigger prize at Lake Oconee in March. Using a custom Skunkless Rod built by his brother, Koob Moua boated a 70-pound blue catfish that set a new lake record—all while using 8-pound test fishing line.

Moua, of Monroe, Georgia, was fishing with his brother, Jacob, and their neighbor Justin Pledger on March 22 when he hooked into what he initially believed to be a snag. “I thought I got stuck, and after I got stuck I just freakin’ whipped it, and he took off,” Moua says in a video of the 35-minute battle posted to YouTube

“When I started fighting the fish, I thought he was going to spool my reel,” he told Georgia Outdoor News. “I thought it might be a catfish or a big striper, but I had no idea it was a catfish that size. I just wanted to see what it was. After about 30 minutes, the fish started popping up to the surface, but he wasn’t ready to quit yet. I saw the big tail flop out of the water and wondered: What is this thing? We just kept fighting it until the fish got tired.”

Moua was using a 7-foot medium-action model rod spooled with 8-pound P-Line Floroclear line and pulling a white-and-chartreuse rooster tail spinnerbait. “We weren’t ready for that fish,” Moua told Georgia Outdoor News. “I was afraid the line was going to snap and the rod, too. It was bending to the extreme.”

As it turned out, the rod and line weren’t the only gear pushed to the limit. The net the men used to get the fish into the boat only held about half of the blue’s 51-inch length, and the video shows the handle bent by the heft of the catfish. 

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The official weight of the fish, recorded at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources station in Social Circle, was 70 pounds, 2 ounces. That beat the Oconee record of 69 pounds, 7 ounces set in 2016 by Wayne Tatum. The state record blue catfish in Georgia is a 111-pound fish that came out of the Chattahoochee River in October 2020. Not far behind that monster is the International Game Fish Association 8-pound line class record for blue catfish set in 2005 in Tennessee: 109 pounds, 12 ounces.   

Moua’s big blue is the second lake-record catfish caught this spring at Oconee, a 19,000-acre reservoir in central Georgia built in 1980. Rob Allgood reset the flathead record with a 62-pound, 10-ounce fish he caught on March 11 while fishing with his father.