John's Journal...

Creekbank Catfish for Laid-Back Fun

Day 4: Nighttime Fishing for Catfish with Outdoorsman J. Wayne Fears

Editor’s Note: A lot of fun times, delicious eating and good friends can be enjoyed when fishing for catfish with trotlines, set hooks, a campfire and a night spent on a river.

Click for Larger ViewWith Chris and Steve Fears, nationally-known outdoor writer J. Wayne Fears’ sons, my son, JJ and what looked to be 2,000 jugs – but was probably only 50 – we attacked the pond. We baited-up with catalpa worms, fiddle worms and some red worms. We strung jugs from one end of that slough to the other. By the time we put-out the last jug, one of the first bottles was jumping. The boys took turns attempting to land a catfish. Each time a fish was landed, one of the other boys would take his flashlight and soon spot another moving jug. Paddling frantically, I would move the boat into position, and the young anglers would check the jug for a catfish.

Click for Larger View“When we’ve got five cats, we’d better take them on back and let Mr. Fears start cooking,” I told the boys, as the aching muscles in my arms and shoulders prompted me to pray for the jug race to be over soon. A flat-bottomed boat with three young boys and one out-of-shape Dad never seemed to happen quite fast enough for enthusiastic fishermen. However, finally, arm-weary, huffing and puffing, I saw the boys reach their five-cat limits.

Originally, I had thought that J. Wayne was being the perfect host, volunteering to stay at the camp, preparing the fire, getting the food ready to cook and taking care of our general welfare, while I was enjoying the sport of jug-fishing for cats. But, while I was fighting that flat-bottomed aluminum boat with one wooden paddle and trying to keep hooks and fins out of the hands and fingers of fledgling fishermen, J. Wayne was sitting on the bank, smoking his pipe and grinning much like B’rer Rabbit – snug and secure in his briarpatch. Click for Larger ViewWhen the fish-cleaning was over, the grease sizzled with tasty cats fresh from the pond. After their stomachs were full, the boys listened to some of the yarns being spun by the campfire. After a few tales were told, giant catfish dragging jugs through coffee-stained water filled their imaginations. They were ready to get back to fishing.

“I’ll stay here, watch the fire, and clean up the dishes,” J. Wayne volunteered. “Oh, no,” I said. “You haven’t gotten to have any fun at all – fishing or paddling – since we’ve been here. You’ve had to slave over this fire and prepare all this food. Click for Larger ViewNo way! It’s only right that I clean-up the dishes, while you take the boys out for some more jug-fishing. Shoot, if you’ll stay with it long enough, you probably can catch enough fish for breakfast in the morning, and some for us to take home and put in the freezer.”

J. Wayne didn’t look up from his hunkered-down position close to the fire. But, after I had so benevolently offered him the opportunity to go paddle the boat while I stayed on shore, he looked up at me and grinned like the cat that had eaten the canary and gotten caught with a feather in his mouth.

Editor’s Note: Due to very-specific regulations of trotlines, set-poles, jugs, etc., anyone who wishes to participate in recreational fishing by these methods is strongly advised to first familiarize themselves with the state fishing regulations dealing with these specific techniques.

Tomorrow: Have Fun Using Set-Poles and Limb-Lines to Fish for Summertime Catfish

Check back each day this week for more about "Creekbank Catfish for Laid-Back Fun "

Day 1: Dreaming About Catfishing Full-Time
Day 2: Fishermen Lose Their Dream to Reality of Fishing for Catfish Fulltime
Day 3: How to Prepare for a Catfishing and Learning Adventure with Young Anglers with Outdoor Writer J. Wayne Fears
Day 4: Nighttime Fishing for Catfish with Outdoorsman J. Wayne Fears
Day 5: Have Fun Using Set-Poles and Limb-Lines to Fish for Summertime Catfish

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Entry 617, Day 4