Back on the horse
|10/09/2022 6:00am||65.7°||71°||30.00||Excellent all day||Clear|
Today was the first excellent Solunar day since Princey’s passing, so in honor of him I decided to try going for the catfish I like to call “General Sherman”. This is the one I watched the old guy across the pond catch a couple of years ago that was nearly as long as he is tall! I watched him throw it back (well, throw is a relative term, he dragged it to the shoreline and pushed it back in the water), so unless someone else caught him and took him home he’s still in there…hopefully getting bigger!
I arrived at my usual spot right before 6am and decided to drop a line in the water while getting everything set up. I started with a Carolina rig, #4 hook and raw shrimp. Within a minute the pole went down – I didn’t even have my net ready yet! He put up a decent fight and came in at 24″ and 3.46 lb! This was my longest catfish on record, but not my heaviest.
The peak Solunar timeframe was set to end at 8am, so I watched my lines get tugged on for the next couple of hours before it got pretty quiet. They would deftly pull the bait off the hook with minimal tugging. I switched between raw shrimp, chicken livers, corn and little smokies. It’s a little late in the year/season for catfish to bite on blood, but was worth a shot. Nothing was quite as interesting to them as raw shrimp today, though.
Around 8:30am one of my automatic rod holders suddenly went off with a heavy fish. It was starting to pull the rod holder out of the ground! I set the hook and maybe gave the reel 3 turns before the leader snapped and I lost him.
Back to the great carousel of baits, swapping them out every 15 minutes like I usually do. The next Solunar peak was scheduled to be between 11am-2pm, so I figured if things didn’t start picking up around 10am I’d pack it up and go home. Shortly after 10am both lines suddenly started getting heavy tugs, but not strong enough to set off the auto-rod holders. Around 10:15am my right-side line triggered and the auto-rod holder set the hook but couldn’t lift the rod! I grabbed the rod to re-set the hook and the rod was bending farther than I’ve seen before! Now keep in mind, my catfish tackle on both rods is 30 lb all around (30 lb medium-heavy action rod, 30 lb reel, 30 lb braid line). The fighting ensued as he proceeded to try and swim to the side away from me. I have the drag on this particular reel set to ~70% and he was engaging the drag trying to get away! Finding that unsuccessful he breached the surface as he swam into more shallow water and started logrolling like an alligator! This guy’s smart – he must have been through this before, because he proceeded to logroll himself into a set of submerged rocks near the shoreline and then whipped his head a couple of times while the line was woven in-between several large rocks, which shook the hook free of his mouth. He then kicked up a cloud of dirt from the bottom as a smoke screen and disappeared! I have video to prove he was really there, it’s just a shame I couldn’t weigh/measure him. I’m sure he would have been a personal best record! I stayed for another 30 minutes then packed it in, having spent 5 hours on the shoreline this morning. Today’s lesson: if the fish is approaching the shoreline and in running distance, grab the net and meet him there! Don’t insist on dragging him to your location if he’s running sideways.
So, in memory of my fuzzy little fishing buddy I caught three “feesh” for him, although only landing one. While he most likely would have just dangled from my chest harness and slept, I still believe he loved “catching the feesh” and would have been very happy with today’s trip.