John's Journal... Entry 41, Day 3
How To Get Catfish Off The Yo-Yos
EDITOR'S NOTE: A couple of years ago I fished with Billy Blakely, a guide at Reelfoot Lake's Bluebank Resort in Tiptonville, Tenessee, and his roommate, Eric Ving, and learned about fishing with Yo-Yos for catfish.
As we approached the first Yo-Yo, I saw a 2 1/2-pound channel cat pulling against the line. Then I watched as the Yo-Yo yanked the fish right back under the tree. On the front end of the boat, Ving, with a dip net, prepared to scoop up the catfish.
"Some fishermen just grab hold of the line and swing the cat in the boat," Ving said. "However, if you're seriously catfishing, you'll lose far fewer cats if you'll slide a dip net under them and then use the dip net to bring them into the boat than if you swing the fish into the boat on the line. Once the cat's in the boat, you need to be really careful when you attempt to pick up the fish or you'll get finned.
"John, your job in the middle of the boat is to break a night crawler in half and have it ready for me to bait the hook. While I'm getting the cat off the hook, you open the lid on the ice chest, and I'll pitch the cat inside. Then, you shut the lid and hand me the bait. Using this system, we can catch cats, bait up and be fishing again in less than a minute."
I lifted the lid on the cooler and heard the cat make a solid thump in the ice chest. Blakely held the Q-Beam spotlight while Ving baited the hook. With the hook baited, Ving pulled out the proper amount of line and set the trigger again on the Yo-Yo. We left that tree and went to the second tree to get the second cat. All night long we moved in and out of the trees, catching cats, pitching them in the ice chest, re-baiting and going to check the rest of the Yo-Yos.
Because we had the Yo-Yos set in two different areas about a half-mile apart, by the time we had checked 25 Yo-Yos in one section of the lake we then needed to go to the other region and see how many Yo-Yos had caught cats there. From 6:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m., we constantly caught, re-baited and checked our Yo-Yos.
At one spot, we took five cats off the same tree. Once we only backed about 15 or 20 yards away from the tree after we had re-baited before the Yo-Yo went off and hooked another cat. We had fast action all night. We only quit at 11:00 p.m. because we'd run out of room for catfish in the cooler.
To learn more about Yo-Yos, contact Mechanical Fisher, P.O. Box 1170, Diamond City, AR 72630; (870) 422-7715. For more information on BlueBank Resort, write Rt. 1, Box 970, Tiptonville, TN 38079; (901) 253-6878.
Tomorrow: What Other Ways And Places Can You Fish Yo-Yos