Wister, El Reno lakes dueling for flathead records
The state record flathead caught last week from El Reno Lake is not the first time the lake has produced a state record cat.
In 2004, Ron Cantrell landed the state record flathead on a rod and reel at El Reno with a 72-pound, 8-ounce catfish.
That record stood for five years until it was beaten last year by Howe’s Tommy Couch, who landed a 76-pound flathead from the Poteau River below the Lake Wister Dam.
On Tuesday (May 11), Richard Williams of El Reno topped Couch’s record with another monster cat from El Reno Lake. The new rod and reel record for flathead catfish is now 78 pounds, 8 ounces.
The biggest flathead ever caught in Oklahoma weighed 106 pounds. That fish was hooked on a trotline in 1977 at Lake Wister.
A new catfish bait?
Cantrell and Couch were fishing for catfish when they broke the state record. Williams was bass fishing with a crankbait when he landed his flathead.
Catfishermen don’t fish with artificial lures. Their choice of bait is cut or live shad, stinkbait, worms, chicken livers, etc.
Flatheads, like other catfish, are not sight feeders. Their eyes are small and their vision is limited.
A catfish’s whiskers, or barbels, are their primary sensory organ, said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The barbels can sense chemical changes in the water that tells them food is nearby, he said.
However, Williams is not the first bass angler to catch a flathead on an artificial lure.
Flatheads are more aggressive than their cousins, channel cats and blue cats, and will strike at an artificial lure if it’s nearby, although they won’t chase it as a general rule.
Boxrucker said Williams’ flathead probably was alerted to the crankbait by its vibrations.
“If a flathead is going to take a crankbait, it’s got to sense those vibrations or something and strike at it,” he said. “And I’m sure it’s (crankbait) got to be close by. But they do strike at lures. They are aggressive and defend their territory.”
Walleye Rodeo winners
The annual Walleye Rodeo at Canton Lake was held over the weekend.
Danny Nealis of Crescent landed the largest walleye of the tournament with a 7.97-pound fish, earning him the top prize of $1,000.
Larry Hromas of Waukomis checked in the most pounds of walleye, 53.71 pounds.
A total of 646 anglers competed in the event. A total of 276 walleye were checked in for a combined weight of 779 pounds.
“Big Catch” tournament now June 12
The “Big Catch” fishing tournament on Lake Thunderbird to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association has been rescheduled for June 12.
The event was to be held on Saturday (May 15), but had to be postponed because of the storm damage on the lake.
The Little River Marina was destroyed by a tornado last week.
Lake Overholser record
A new lake record for striped bass hybrids has been established at Lake Overholser in Oklahoma City.
Michael Babin landed a 10.3-pound hybrid on the southwest side of the lake last month.
“The wind must have been blowing harder this day than any day this year,” Babin said. “I was fishing with a surf rod and 1-ounce weight to get the bait (medium-sized minnow) out as far as I could.
“When the hybrid took the bait it just ran with it, standing the big surf rod’s butt up in the air. The fight was unbelievable.”