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WE’VE STARTED OUR QUEST FOR CATFISH….
AFTER our quest for a 20 lb carp in 2012 (click here for video) and succeeding with a few 20s and a 30 lb carp, we sought a harder challenge and so we have decided to do “Quest for a Catfish”.
The lake that we chose to start this on was specimen lake 3 at Tanyard, which has catfish ranging from 20lb to an astonishing 67lb!
We decided to start our quest as soon as the catfish start feeding, which is normally when the water is warming up from the winter. By checking the catch report page on the Tanyard website we saw that the first catfish of the year had been caught, and more to 52lb!
We instantly got our act together and bought big size 8/0 hooks and 85lb Ton Up braid for hook lengths. We tied up some live bait rigs and some hair rigs for mackerel and planned our first two-night session early May.
The whole week before had been extremely warm and sunny, reaching temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius. However, when we arrived at the lake on Saturday it was raining! But not for long, by the evening it was warm and humid, perfect catfish weather.
We cast out all the rods, one on live bait into open water and the other on two chunks of mackerel which I popped up off bottom with half a polyball on the hair rig (pictured below).
I cast this to the lily pads, which weren’t too big and chunky yet so if I hooked one it wouldn’t snag me up.
We had sausages for dinner and by 9 o’clock we were tucked up in our sleeping bags. After an hour of lying on the bed chair, I was too hot so I took off my jumper and opened up my sleeping bag.
I slept reasonably well with the odd bleep on the rod out with a live bait, which was probably the lively bait or a small pike having a go. But at 3 o’clock in the morning I had a proper run on the rod out with a popped up mackerel as the hook bait.
I picked up the rod to feel a massive weight which suddenly yanked the rod over and easily pulled 50lb braid off the spool, I thought I had tightened up the clutch! But these catfish are strong. I must have gone straight in the pads as by now it had stopped pulling line and was snagged. It hadn’t come off though, I could feel the fish going moving its way through the pads.
I tried to pump it in with all my strength however as I was slowly moving it, the hook pulled! I was so annoyed and absolutely gutted but at least I had experienced the fight. Certainly way more thrilling than shooting people on a computer game! I put all the rods back out as the catfish had taken out my other rod. But no more fish were hooked.
As the sun came up I knew that the next best opportunity would be the next night. I would have to be patient, for the whole day I hoped that I would be able to hook another fish that night.
It was another really sunny, hot day and I just felt so confident with where my rods were cast out. That night we had a lovely prawn curry which filled me up nicely. I was ready for the night ahead. I just had to sleep and hope that one of the cats would take my bait.
This time at 2 o’clock, my rod with the live bait screamed off with another big cat. I felt the big fish on the end moving slowly. I thought this fish might be a bit easier to land but no, it suddenly bolted off to the right of the swim, my clutch was spinning faster than ever before!
It went to the right of my swim and took out all of mine and Carl’s rods. But then, like the night before, the hook pulled. It was definitely a big fish and I was devastated having now lost two cats in two nights.
Sadly there was to be no more fish hooked that session but I had learnt that catfish are one powerful creature and they fight like no other fish.
And I can’t get losing the catfish out of my mind… until I catch one.
But that’s the point in a quest, I WON’T give up.
The quest continues!
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