Friday, 21 July 2017

1000 Plus Inches of Channel Catfish

Schedules and stars aligned the other day when we made it up to the Red River at Lockport. Parts of the previous day had been spent catching fresh bait to maximize our time on the river the next day and boy were our efforts rewarded. We were on the water and fishing by 8 a.m. and it didn't take long to get a bite. The first channel catfish I landed measured out at 34 inches and was followed by another that measured the same. Jay followed that with a freshwater drum and Frodo with a nice greenback walleye. It was a good start as within the first hour we landed five fish and missed many more bites. As the bite tapered off we decided to stick to the plan of making small moves as needed and having faith in our bait.

At this point there were about a dozen boats within site and not many of them were hooking up with catfish. We dropped anchor upstream of a 15 foot hole that had treated us well in the past and got our bait back in the water. Less than two minutes had passed before I hooked up to another catfish and this one felt heavier than the first two. It hit like a freight train and went peeling downstream, all I could do was hold on and have faith in my gear. After a few seconds of running with the current, it turned on a dime and barreled upstream towards the boat. I burned the line in as quick as I could keeping the rod bent and after a few minutes of tug of war near the surface and under the boat, the beast was in the net. It measured out right at three feet in length and weighed 25 pounds on the dot. Not my personal best but one hell of a nice fish and another great start on a fresh spot.

We landed a few more catfish within the next hour however the bite had slowed down again so another move was in order. This scenario repeated itself throughout the day right up to our agreed upon departure around 3:45 p.m. We spent just over 7.5 hours on the water and during that time caught 31 channel catfish totaling just over 1000 inches in length. 17 of which were over 34 inches with the longest at 36.75. A few double headers made for added excitement and the last fish of the day landed by Frodo was tagged. It turns out the tagging of this fish took place 5 days earlier and it had already been caught, released and reported twice.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Hook in my Hand...OUCH

After a very successful morning of fishing I was unhooking my Berkley Flicker Shad from the mouth of another fish. Before I could finish the process the fish gave a quick head shake and the free treble of the lure quickly made its way into my thumb. It was a sharp de-barbed treble hook and it didn't really hurt when it punctured me however trying to extract it caused a fair amount of pain.

It became clear that a trip to the local ER for some lydocaine would be needed in order to get the damn hook out so we headed to the launch, loaded up the boat and headed home. It being a holiday Monday the local walk in clinics were closed, leading to a bit of added strain on the ER. Ironically there was another man in the waiting room with a hook in his hand , although his was not debarbed.

After a four and a half hour wait I finally had the pleasure of getting the hook out of my hand and the needle administering the freezing was the most painful part. The whole process took less than 5 minutes but I did note the fellow with the barbed hook was in there for over 90 minutes and came out with quite the bandaged hand. Two days have since passed and the wound has healed, swelling is gone and my thumb has regained its movement.