I’ve had a lifelong love of catching catfish and… consuming them! I suppose my ardour for catfish comes naturally, as a boy rising up on a poultry farm in Pink River County; catching catfish was a lifestyle. Each 9 weeks or so when the chickens bought, we might pack up the previous 1950 Worldwide pickup with tarps, Coleman stoves, forged iron skillets, bedding, and so on., and head as much as a bit lake in southeast Oklahoma that was chock stuffed with channel catfish. I’d start catching bait, small perch from our farm pond, the day earlier than. Upon arriving at our fishing hotspot, the drill was to arrange camp rapidly, which was simple to do. We had no tent, simply tarps or, as they had been known as again then “wagon sheets.” Tarps on the bottom with a blanket served as bedding.
As quickly as camp was organized, my dad and one different paddled throughout the little lake in a do-it-yourself 12 foot picket boat and set a few trot traces which had been rapidly baited with reduce perch. I don’t keep in mind any rod and reel fishing there, or little or no. We depended upon the trot traces to supply fish, an, they all the time did. After the road was set, we might paddle over and tie the little boat as much as a stump and watch the traces. After thirty minutes or so, we might paddle over and run them, all the time boating loads of fish for that first night’s barbeque, which was a really massive deal. Fried potatoes with a handful of chopped onion thrown in and a pair cans of pork ‘n’ beans, mild bread and crispy fried, very recent channel catfish was the night meal. For the subsequent couple days we fished and cooked fish and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and stocked the cooler with loads of catfish to hold us over till the subsequent time the chickens bought and Dad declared one other fishing vacation.
Our farm was a brief stroll from Pecan Bayou, which is a spring fed creek with headwaters within the northwest nook of Pink River county. Within the spring, when the creek was operating, we reduce poles from a change cane patch behind the home and ran what we known as “set poles.” The rigging was fairly fundamental. A pole about 8 ft lengthy with the previous woven fishing line frequent again then, a weight and hook baited with reduce perch. We might set about twenty of those poles out alongside the creek an hour earlier than darkish and run them each hour or so for a pair hours after which once more at first mild the subsequent morning. I can vividly keep in mind strolling as much as that creek financial institution and seeing these poles with the butt finish caught within the mud and the tip being pulled down by a feisty channel catfish.
Later in life as an outside author, I’ve had the chance to observe the game of catfishing develop method past what I knew as a child. I used to be as soon as invited by the good Invoice Dance to take his place in a ship with James “Huge Cat” Patterson and fish the World Championship of Catfishing on the Tennessee River. James and I didn’t win this prestigious event however I did be taught quite a bit about catching massive blue catfish in a river with present. We used Santee Cooper rigs baited with skipjack herring and landed a number of what I thought of “massive” blue cats. By way of the years, I’ve fished with among the greatest professional catfish guys within the nation. David Hanson guided on Tawakoni for years and focused trophy class blue catfish within the chilly climate months and consuming measurement channels in the summertime. I enterprise to guess David has guided of us to extra catfish by way of the years than anybody.
The previous few years, I’ve fished with considered one of David’s pals, Tony Pennebaker, who makes a speciality of catfish, blues within the winter and channel cats starting in late Might. Tony and I’ve had plenty of nice instances collectively on the water and I actually don’t keep in mind ever not heading residence with plenty of fillets for the fish fryer. Fishing strategies differ when concentrating on blue catfish against channels. Channel catfish will hit quite a lot of baits and so will blues to some extent however when concentrating on channel cats, it’s onerous to beat cheese bait. There may be all kinds of baits in the marketplace right this moment and they’re going to all catch fish. I’ve witnessed many arguments about simply which bait is greatest.
I labored with an organization years in the past that got down to make the “greatest catfish bait on the marke.” I assembled a bunch of guides that fished day by day and every examined batches of the newly growing bait. Lastly the guides and the corporate agreed on the “greatest” method and it turned a well-liked bait for channel catfish. Was it the perfect bait in the marketplace? The reply relies upon upon who you ask, however it’s a superb bait that for years has accounted for a lot of limits of catfish on many lakes.
Blue catfish will chunk punch bait however critical “blue catters”’ know that recent reduce bait is greatest. In Texas waters. Recent shad is king for catching blues however in states to the north skipjack herring is the go to bait, particularly in river programs the place the baitfish are frequent.
Sure, an important deal has modified since I reduce my catfishing enamel utilizing set poles within the creek by my boyhood residence and trotlines on small lakes in Oklahoma. With right this moment’s sonar, discovering concentrations of fish is simple, particularly when concentrating on massive blues within the winter. And anybody can toss out just a few vary cubes and convey channel catfish beneath the boat. However one factor that has not modified is the tug of a tough preventing catfish or the flavour of a crispy catfish fillet or an entire smaller fish that has been uncovered to cornmeal and about 6 minutes in scorching cooking oil!