80-pound flathead may be reservoir record
Expect a bigger than usual fish fry this September if you’re among the friends of 47-year-old Charlie Henning of Sedgwick, who pulled an 80¼-pound flathead out of Marion Reservoir earlier this month.
Charlie and his wife, Nancy, talked to a taxidermist about mounting the 50-inch-long fish, unofficially the largest ever taken at the reservoir.
“But it’s hard to mount catfish,” Nancy said Saturday, “so we’ve cut it up and we’ll add it to what we have for our annual fish fry in September.”
Charlie actually caught two fish at once, Nancy said.
“It had a one-pound fish in its tummy,” she noted.
Charlie is a regular at the reservoir who was taking advantage of being on shutdown for two weeks from his job at Cessna to get in some extra fishing July 11.
Despite years of angling, it was only the third flathead he had ever caught. The biggest before the whopper weighed in at about a pound. His biggest catch ever had been a 12-pound channel cat.
Although his catch wasn’t a state record — that honor goes to a world-record 123-pound flathead caught in 1998 at Elk City Reservoir — Charlie has received plenty of attention for his catch.
“Oh lord, he’s got such a big head I can’t live with him,” Nancy joked. “He’s a mess. The only regret he had was that his son wasn’t with him.”
Tyler, 23, is a frequent fishing companion at Marion. But, as Nancy put it, “not everybody goes on shutdown when Cessna does.”
Nancy occasionally accompanies her husband as well.
“But I’m done in four hours,” she said. “He can spend all day.”
Marion is Charlie’s favorite fishing spot, Nancy said, because of its proximity to their home, just 45 minutes away. He occasionally goes to Milford, as well.
Blue-green algae warnings and watches all summer haven’t deterred him, but he did avoid the lake at the start of June when it officially was closed by a more serious algae bloom.
His 80¼-pounder was caught on “el cheapo equipment,” Nancy said, using cut-up pieces of shad he had caught earlier in the day as bait.
The fish, stretching almost to Henning’s shoulders, had a mouth that fishing buddy Gary Cohn was quoted as saying “we could have fit our whole heads in with ease.”
It took about 15 minutes and a line cut to Henning’s hand to land the whopper.
Exactly where Henning and Cohn were fishing is, as one might suspect, not something the anglers are particularly willing to share. They say only that they let their small boat drift through “several promising areas.”