John's Journal...

Creekbank Catfish for Laid-Back Fun

Day 5: Have Fun Using Set-Poles and Limb-Lines to Fish for Summertime Catfish

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 ViewTrotlining and jug-fishing are not the only two methods to obtain catfish when out creekbanking at night. I’ve had some fine adventures using set-poles and limb-lines. A set-pole is a small, green limb or cane that is forced into a muddy bank with the line, hook and a weight tied to it and baited for catfish. There are several tricks to putting out set-poles:
* Make sure the limb is either green or that you use cane. I have seen novice set-pole fishermen utilize dry sticks on which to tie their lines. Click for Larger ViewThen, when the anglers go back to check their “sets,” they’ll find the sticks broken from the savage strikes of weighty catfish.
* Be certain that the set-pole is pushed-down deep enough in the mud or clay, so that a catfish can’t pull the stick from its mooring.
* Set the pole almost straight up and down, so that when Mr. Whiskers hits, the pole will bend and the limberness of the pole will fight the cat.

In my opinion, limb-lining is much easier than set-poling, if there are trees or bushes hanging-out over the water where you plan to fish. All an angler has to do is to tie a line with a hook, a lead and a bait to a limb, and he’s in business. When the ole catfish strikes, the limb will offer enough resistance to set the hook and enough play to keep the cat from breaking the line. There is one precaution, however, that the limb-liner needs to heed. Always take a paddle with you when you go to run your limb-lines as many outdoorsmen have had unpleasant experiences with snakes lying up in the branches of the limbs where the fishermen have had their lines tied. I always check closely before I tie my line onto a limb, and then again when I come to the limb to take hold of the line to land the cat.

Click for Larger ViewOne of the advantages to these techniques that I employ for catching cats when I am out creekbanking with a buddy is that all the tackle I need can be purchased for $10 and will last all spring and summer. Catfish bait is easy to find. Even if you do have to buy the bait, it’s not very expensive. And, by using these tactics, a fisherman doesn’t have to be present to catch a catfish. He can tend to more-pressing problems like world affairs, his family’s financial future and the all- important “lying” that accompanies most campfires during this time of year. Click for Larger ViewThe next time the pressures of the world seem to engulf you, you may derive more relief from a creekbank encounter and a mess of catfish than investing money and time in hiring professional counselors. I know I do!

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.

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 5