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Morning Sun
  • DABLEMONT: Too Slow for Catfish

  • The problem is, I am not accustomed to grabbing a rod in a rod holder and setting the hook. That’s why I missed three really good-sized catfish just the other day. Big ones… great big ones. Well, I don’t know that for sure but when you lose one, you like to think that.

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  • The problem is, I am not accustomed to grabbing a rod in a rod holder and setting the hook. That’s why I missed three really good-sized catfish just the other day. Big ones… great big ones. Well, I don’t know that for sure but when you lose one, you like to think that.
    I was fishing on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, in the Neosho River arm with Don and Lois Scott. Don is a taxidermist from Joplin, Mo. who has advertised in my magazine for many years, and is always telling me about catching big catfish over on the Neosho River, about 40 minutes from Joplin. He catches most of them in January and February and March, and I finally got a chance to go with him last week.
    There isn’t much of a secret to it. Don catches shad from the river on his throw-net, cuts off the head and cuts out the center of the shad, with all the entrails entact, then baits a big circle hook with that chunk of shad and adds the head to the hook. The hook is about 18 inches or so from a swivel up the line, and above that is a sliding egg sinker of about three-quarters of an ounce. If you want to catch catfish, that line needs to slide through the sinker so the fish doesn’t feel the weight when he picks up the bait. I don’t know if it is necessary to have a favorite spot, I think there are so many catfish in that muddy tributary to Grand Lake that you could catch them in a lot of places, as long as you are fishing in 15 to 20 feet of water. It seems that Don Scott just ties up along the bank and heaves that heavy sinker and bait out into the current, which isn’t all that strong. That’s where the rod holders come in. In each of his rod holders he has an open-faced casting reel with 25-pound line and pretty strong rods, because he often catches blue catfish up to 20 pounds, and quite a lot I suppose between 10 and 15 pounds.
    But you have to learn the technique… when you see that line straighten, and the rod tip bend a little, you have to pick the rod up out of the holder, setting the hook as you go, and ignoring the reel. It is just one motion, done quickly, setting that hook hard and strong, and then reaching for the reel. I found myself to be a little slower than I should be, mostly because I have the tendency to reach for the reel a little too quickly. My inexperience cost me those three catfish, but I caught four others, and one was six pounds. Unfortunately, Don’s wife Lois beat me with a seven pounder. It is difficult for a grizzled old veteran outdoorsman like me to be beat by a woman, but it will never happen again. Some of those fish I didn’t get a hook into were twice that size, and the next time we try that, I won’t miss them. I learn in a hurry. If I had learned just a little quicker, I am confident I would have put a ten-pounder in the boat.
    Page 2 of 2 - . Anyhow, I am going back to fish with Don Scott again if he will leave Lois at home. Every time I missed a good one, I could hear her snicker about it, and you know how I am about men being beaten at something by women.
    My website is, www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com. E-mail me at lightninridge@windstream.net or write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, MO. 65613

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