Luke Langley is only in the third grade, with just two years of hard-core catfishing under his belt. But the 8-year-old is a veteran angler, who enters catfish tournaments with his dad Timothy around Lancaster S.C., often on Lake Wylie.
He is so taken with targeting whiskered fish, especially flathead catfish, that his nickname is “Flathead Luke.” He even has his own Facebook page of the same name detailing his remarkable catfishing adventures.
For Thanksgiving weekend the father-son team trailered their Tracker Targa V19 fully-rigged catfishing boat to Virginia’s James River, where Timothy says some of the best catfishing he knows about is found.
“I’ve fished there several times, and it’s really good catfishing for big blues, especially in winter and spring,” says Timothy, a business manager. “A few of us decided to trailer our boats to the James over Thanksgiving for some fun fishing, and man, was it good.”
On Thursday morning the Langleys headed out and got into some big blue catfish right away, using cut river gizzard shad baits. They boated several 10-to-30-pound catfish, and Luke latched into a monster blue weighing 55 pounds. It was his largest catfish ever, until the duo set out on Fri., Nov. 25.
“It was drizzling rain, temperature about 55 degrees, when we got onto the James,” says Timothy. “We worked a drop-off in the river near Jordon Point, soaking baits on bottom with 10-ounce sinkers. It was an outside river bend, dropping from 15-feet deep to 75 or 80 feet.
“The spot produced the best day of catfishing I’ve ever had.”
Action started soon, with the anglers boating plenty of big cats, some 20s and 30s, and two blue cats of 50 pounds. Then about 9 a.m. one of the baited 7.6-foot “Hellcat” catfish rods slowly bent taught, and Flathead Luke jumped into action.
He snatched the rod from its boat holder, and while standing with the rod butt between his legs, began pumping and reeling to beat the big, deep catfish.
Ten minutes later Luke had the fish beside the boat, but it swirled and made a desperate run. Timothy thought they’d lost the fish.
But the 40-pound test line, 10/0 circle hook on 80-pound mono leader held. Luke turned the fish and got it back beside the boat, and the cat was netted.
The pair of fishermen hooped and hollered, made some photos and weighed the fish on a digital scale – just over 74-pounds, a personal best blue catfish record for Flathead Luke.
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Luke said the fish was so big, he could straddle it like a small horse and ride the cat as they released the fish.
In two days fishing the Langleys caught about 30 blue cats, from 10 to over 70 pounds.
“Luke is fired up, and ready to go back to the James River any time,” says Timothy.