John's Journal...


Double Down for Cats and Bass

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Jackie Thompson of Eufaula, Alabama, has guided on Lake Eufaula for 34 years. As a full-time guide, Jackie deals with fishing all day, every day.

QUESTION: What do you do when people want to double down and catch bass and cats?

THOMPSON: Many of the people who fish with me like to eat their catches. Because I like to catch-and-release bass, I’ll take about 25 jugs with me when I go fishing for bass and also fish for catfish. If we’re going to be fishing up one creek, I’ll put the jugs out in front of the creek. Then after we get through fishing that creek, I’ll pick up the jugs, take the cats off and put them in the live well. In each area where Click to enlargewe’re bass fishing, I put out the jugs so when we finish bass fishing, we can pick up the jugs and cats and keep moving. By the end of the day, my clients usually have caught all the bass they want to catch, and they’ve gotten to carry home catfish to eat.

QUESTION: What pound test line are you using for the cats?

THOMPSON: I use 20-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. Too, another tactic I’ve discovered in recent years for catching cats is to use noodles, long pieces of Styrofoam that children use to play in swimming pools and to keep themselves afloat, by Click to enlargeholding the noodles under their arms. I cut the noodles into 10-inch long pieces and tie 20-pound-test line to the center of the noodle. I like the bright-colored noodles because you can see them easily. With a 10-inch piece of noodle, a 2-pound cat can pull the noodle under, but he won’t keep it under for very long. I have caught cats that weigh as much as 14 pounds on these noodles. Although we mostly catch channel catfish, on occasion we’ll catch a blue cat here at Lake Eufaula. If we’re fishing the first part of May when the catfish are running the flats, you can easily catch 35- to 40-channel cats, weighing from ½- pound to 6 pounds. In June and July, the fishing slows down, and I start putting my noodles closer to the river channel to continue catching cats. The key to catching the cats on the noodles is havingClick to enlarge the right bait like a three-finger-sized bream. After I cut the heads of the bream off, I cut them in half and bait a half of the bream on each hook. In the summer months, I’ll run my lines 6-feet down, and I’ll put my noodles on the edge of the channel. In June and July, we don’t catch as many catfish, but we’ll often catch 10 to 30 cats and 10 to 12 bass in a morning of fishing. I’ve found that people like to take the catfish home to eat, and they really enjoy releasing the bass. So using this tactic of fishing, I try to give my customers the best of both worlds.

If you want to learn more about Jackie Thompson or fishing Lake Eufaula, you can contact Thompson at (334) 687-9595. For more information about top-quality Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to

Check back each day this week for more about FISHING LAKE EUFAULA WITH JACKIE THOMPSON

Day 1: Fishing a Large Spinner Bait
Day 2: Rigs and Leaders for Spotted Bass
Day 3: Crappie Fishing Eufaula
Day 4: Thompson Fishes for Bream
Day 5: Double Down for Cats and Bass



Entry 305, Day 5