SAM’S TACKLE BOX – By Sam Dillon


Monster of the deep in Richwood Lake
Fishing stories, every angler can recall a time or fish that was something to tell their friends about. Myself, I have numerous fishing stories, but the one that I like the most was about the one that got away.
I was fishing in Washington Courthouse when I was around 13-years-old at a pay pond with my dad.
When we headed into the main office where we paid our fee to fish at the pond for the night there was this very large Blue Catfish hanging on the wall that was the size of a golf cart.
The lady behind the register said, “it was caught right out of that pond,” as she pointed out the door at the dark body of water in front of the building.
We were trying to catch big catfish and it looked like we came to the right place.
We set up just as the sun was setting behind the horizon, using night crawlers suspended under large bobbers with small glow sticks taped to the top of them. Once our lines were in the water the waiting began.
Cat fishing is a slow type of angling, but the exhilaration of seeing a bobber dip below the water’s surface is what keeps my attention.
As time wore on, I noticed the bobber, which had been sitting perfectly still until this point, started to move up and down slightly and then all of the sudden the little glow stick indicator disappeared.
I jumped up from my seat and heaved my seven-foot Ugly Stick over my head in hopes of setting the hook.
Once the hook was set, the battle was on. I started to crank in this beast of a fish, but for every crank I made, it pulled out 20 yards worth of line. This continued for 10 minutes until there was no more Spider Wire left on my reel.
This monster pulled all of my line out and now the only thing keeping this fish attached to me was a small knot, but it wasn’t the knot that failed me on that night.
As I tried to reel in line the catfish was pulling so hard that the internal gears, along with the spool, flew out of the face of my spinning reel and into the water.
Not only did the fish win the battle, but I was done fishing for the night as that was my only rod and reel.
This brings me to another fishing story in the area. Richwood Lake has some fishing lore of it’s own.
The lake was originally stocked with bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Common Carp and Channel Catfish, according to George Showalter former Richwood park board member.
Then in the early 2000’s the lake received an abundance of Shovelhead Catfish, due to a drought in the area that caused smaller ponds to dry up. People were bringing their fish to put into the lake.
A Shovelhead Catfish, also referred to as a Flathead Catfish, can get fairly big compared to the Channel Catfish, that is already in the lake. They are a predatory fish that mostly feeds on small panfish like bluegill, which is abundant in the lake.
In fact the state record Shovelhead weighed 76.5 pounds and was nearly 60 inches long.
One fish that was brought to be put in the lake during the dry spell stuck out to Showalter as being “the biggest fish I have ever seen.” It was a Shovelhead Catfish that weighed nearly 50 pounds, according to Showalter.
Throughout the years since the fish was placed into the lake, Showalter says he has seen people hook into something that is large and has broken off their tackle every time.
“I have seen people hook it before, but the fish broke their line. I also have never seen it floating in the lake, so it has to still be in here,” added Showalter.
So maybe you can go make a fishing story of your own. Just make sure to bring some good equipment that you can win your battle with a monster catfish and when you do catch it, take and a picture and send it to me at
I want to see this elusive monster catfish.

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