Really big fish: A great flathead catfish with a great tale

Really big fish: A great flathead catfish with a great tale

Darryl Turner caught and released a 50-pound-plus flathead at Clinton Lake. | Provided

Darryl Turner shows his skills and versatility to earn Fish of the Week with a big flathead catfish.

With the closure of LaSalle Lake, noted blue-catfish angler Darryl Turner has turned his considerable skills elsewhere. Most notably, he caught an accidental flathead catfish, from Clinton Lake, that bottomed out a 50-pound scale.

“At the time, I was fishing for crappie with my 9-foot crappie rod with 8-pound test [line] and a 1/16th-ounce jig tipped with a minnow under a float,” he emailed. “Once I set the the hook, I realized it was not a crappie and it was something very big. After 30 minutes of fighting this fish, with over 20 runs back out, after getting him close to the bank, I had no net or any help of landing this monster. There were rocks, branches and tree stumps all over the shoreline, including snakes cruising by.

“After about 20 minutes, I had him within reach. Once he realized that, he decided to make another run back out. I could not stop him. Next thing I know, he ran into a snag. I thought for sure he gotten off. I pulled on the line and realized I was snagged. So I kept letting line out to see if he would move. Nothing. I figured he got off, so I tugged once. Again I felt him pull, so the fight was on again. After about 10 minutes or so, he finally tired and I was able to get a hold of him and dragged him onto the shore. My line was stretched out after the battle.”

He called Ol’ Joe’s Live Bait & Tackle in DeWitt and staff came to take photos before he “returned this monster back to the lake.’’

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the Sun-Times. Submit nominations by message on Facebook (Dale Bowman), on Twitter (@BowmanOutside) and Instagram (@BowmanOutside) or email (

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