John's Journal...


Come Catch Some Catfish

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Billy Blakely of Tiptonville, Tennessee, manages Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake and also chief fishing guide there. Each day Blakely and the other guides who work with him on Reelfoot Lake take clients out fishing for bluegills, crappie, catfish and bass. “We have to depend on the fishing line we use to help us be successful and to help our clients to catch fish,” Blakely explains. “That’s the reason we’ve all changed over to Mossy Oak Fishing Line. We know that when a fish takes the bait we can depend on the Mossy Oak Line to put that fish in the boat.” This week Blakely will tell us how he and the other guides at Blue Bank produce large numbers of fish each day throughout the spring and summer. You may not believe the catch numbers that Blakely reports, but if you doubt that he and his other guides can produce as many fish in a day as they say.

Click to enlargeReelfoot Lake has large numbers of channel catfish in it. During the daylight hours you often can catch from 50-100 pounds of catfish in a day, and then fish at night with Yo-Yos and take 100-300 pounds of catfish. When we’re fishing for catfish during daylight hours, I use the Strike King Dynamite Bites Catfish Bait, an artificial catfish bait. My two favorite flavors are catalpa and shad for catfish. I fish with a No. 4/0 Daiichi red bleeding circle hook. When I rig up, I tie on 18-inches of 12-pound-test fishing line as a leader from the hook to a barrel swivel. Above the barrel swivel, I’ll put a ¼-ounce slip sinker on 20-pound-test main line. Then I tie the main line onto the other end of the barrel swivel. The reason I’m fishing with 12-pound-test leader is because I’ll be fishing straight down in logs, stumps and other debris. If my hook gets stuck in the trash, or a catfish takes my line in-between a crack in a log for instance, then I want to be able to break off the leader without losing my barrel swivel and my slip Click to enlargesinker. The catfish in Reelfoot Lake live in logpiles and sunken and visible downed treetops in the lake, the worst kind of environment in which to put fishing line. That’s why we must have a line like Mossy Oak Fishing Line that’s highly abrasion-resistant and strong and tough to get those cats out of the wood.

We’ll be fishing in 4-7 feet of water for those catfish. Our channel cats will average from 2-to 7-pounds each, but I have caught channel cats here in Reelfoot that weigh 23- to 24-pounds each. In an average day of fishing during the daytime, one boat with two fishemen usually will catch 25-30 catfish, but I have caught as many as 110 catfish in one day. But you have to remember, we’re only fishing for 5 to 6 hours to catch that number of catfish.

Click to enlargeTo learn more about Blue Bank Resort, go to or call
1-877-258-3226. Blue Bank has a motel, restaurant, guide service, rental boats, motors, fishing tackle and a bait shop. You also can visit to learn about the company’s baits for catfish. For more information about Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to To learn more about Yo-Yos, go to or contact Mechanical Fisher Division, P.O. Box 1170, Diamond City, Arkansas 72630, (870) 422-7715.


Check back each day this week for more about WHEN LINE COUNTS

Day 1: How Blakely Catches Bream
Day 2: Come Catch Some Catfish
Day 3: Nighttime Fishing for Cats
Day 4: Year-Round Crappie
Day 5: Busting Bass on Reelfoot



Entry 300, Day 2