What a day! I set out to spend as much time as I could today fishing. Weather was clear and crisp in the morning but expected to be 80° for a high. Full moon with a lunar eclipse wrapping up right before I left, water temperature the same as the air temperature, should be a great day!
I started at Evelyn Hallman Pond at around 5:30, set everything up and got my first line in the water right before 6am. Both rods were set with a custom Carolina rig (see previous posts for how I do this), #4 hook and raw shrimp on one, corn on another. True to form, within two minutes the automatic rod holder with raw shrimp went off. On the line was a 2.62 lb., 23″ Channel Catfish, great color, a little lean for an adult cat, but a good fighter. I tried posing for the shot without blinding the camera with my head lamp.
I reloaded the rod with raw shrimp and got it back in the water. Over the next 20 minutes two more fish set off my rods, one is a Channel Cat that falls off right at the shoreline as I’m trying to get the net underneath, the other falls off while retrieving the line. Ugh.
Ten minutes later, while enjoying the water fowl chattering at each other, a woodpecker attacking a tree next to me and some small furry creature running past my chair at the shoreline, my other rod holder goes off with a 21″ 1.96 lb. Channel Catfish on it.
I cleared that line, reloaded it with Little Smokies this time and took a break for about 1.5 hours. In the meantime, a few more hits with nothing on the end and one turtle. I hate catching those things, I feel bad for them. Usually they tuck their heads completely in the shell making it impossible to get the hook out. This one was larger than the others and fortunately he left his head out. He hissed at me (expected, I did fool him with a hook after all) while I removed the hook easily from his mouth. I got him back in the water and reloaded my line.
Shortly after 8am the rod holder with the Little Smokie on it went off with a 1.38 lb., 16″ Young Channel Catfish on it.
By now the peak Solunar timeframe was ending, and the morning’s coffee was working its way through me, so I figured I’d stop back at home, recharge my GoPro batteries, get more bait, take a short break and head back out to Tempe Town Lake. I haven’t been there in a while, let’s see how it goes.
I arrived at Tempe Town Lake around 10am and set up my site on the North side of the lake in between the North and South bound bridges. I tried the same bait strategies, but after nearly 1.5 hours I didn’t get a single bite. Not even any line activity, and the water was plenty busy with fish. The only things I saw were a dead catfish floating by, and a homeless guy marching around on the sidewalk behind me shouting obscenities at nobody. I packed up and decided to try Papago Ponds.
I arrived at Papago Ponds around 12pm. I chose the pond closest to “Hole in the Rock” and set up on the West side of the pond in between two large palm trees. I loaded one rod with raw shrimp and the other with corn. I managed to get the raw shrimp line in the water and set in the automatic rod holder, and as I turned to set up the other rod the first rod went off already! I set the hook, but while bringing it in the fish fell off. Dammit!
I got both lines baited and set in their rod holders, then took nearly an hour break before the first fish set off a rod holder. Not much of a fighter, but another catfish nonetheless. This one was only 0.75 lb. and maybe 12″. I sent him back in the water letting him know he needs to grow up.
Five minutes later my other rod goes off – the one with a Little Smokie on it. A slightly better fighter, but still pretty weak compared to the fish at EHP. On this one was a 15″, 1.1 lb. catfish. He got all tangled in my net, it took a good 5-6 minutes holding the net in the water for him to work himself free, but he swam away safely.
A short time later I noticed a hawk circling and floating above the water. I turned my head GoPro on him to see this majestic creature. He proceeded to circle and float around for nearly a minute, then suddenly dove sharply into the pond. He came up empty-handed and flew towards a nearby tree to dry off, but what a show!
I was planning on leaving for home by 2pm. Right before I was thinking of leaving before then, my raw shrimp line goes off. This one puts up a much better fight and ended up being a 19″, 1.94 lb. Channel Catfish. Much better, what an ending!
So after 8.5 hours of nearly non-stop fishing I ended up 6 for 8 with a turtle on the side. Now that’s what I call a great day!