By: Guy P.
It started last August when for my birthday my son, whom I mentored for years outdoors, reversed the table and bought me a 7 foot Ugly Stick fishing rod and said, “were going Catfishing for your birthday”. I looked at the rod with a bit of a mind musing of “over kill”. 7 foot 4 weight fly rods are almost over kill for me.
His obsession with the fish started about age 14 when the challenge of catching trout started to dissipate. I’d been the “nay sayer” because where we live isn’t necessarily on the map as the Catfish capital of the world. While the new state record catch and release catfish came from this valley this year. That fish, while a dandy, and monster for here, may have been considered just past bait, by Catfish experts in the other parts of the U.S.
Last August when the 8 pound Cat all but jerked the rod out of the boat that hot muggy night commencing a struggle unlike anything I’d experienced on a fish carrying that size, it wasn’t just the fish that got hooked.
It didn’t take long this year to get after the Kitty’s. You are not going to take ‘em like put and take trout. It demands patience and persistence. And when they spawn… your done till they are done. And I guess, the challenge of catching one in our tough fishing area is what makes them so rewarding. We set a 5 lb weight limit rule for the boat. Anything hitting 5 lbs goes back for seed. There are the exceptions to the rule: Newbies and kids don’t have to follow the boat rule. The 2 and 3 pounders eat best anyway. I had that knowledge from an all night drift fish on a house boat several years ago on a lake in NE Oklahoma where they truly have Catfish. And we fried and ate fish cooked on an Explorer stove with a deep fry pot atop, on the boats deck till we couldn’t find a crease in our stomachs to stuff more into.
I’m far from a catching expert but the journey is fun. And really that is what being outdoors should be. I owe my catching knowledge to my kid. And I’ll admit- he can finally out cook me when it comes to Catfish. They are a boneless pleasure to fillet and eat. You remove the fillet much like you would a backstrap of a big game animal. Cut it into chunks and coat it in crumbs for deep frying. Or just a little butter and olive oil with your favorite seasoning for a pan fry fillet. The following are a couple photo’s to help you with the filleting and motivation thereof.