John's Journal... Entry 52, Day 2
EDITOR'S NOTE: To consistently catch very big catfish, you must have heavy tackle and the knowledge of where to find and how to catch these monster-sized fish. In many lakes and rivers throughout the United States, catfish weighing more than 50 pounds cruise the bottoms.
To learn more about where and how to catch huge catfish, I talked to Edward Elliot of Vermillion, South Dakota, who in 1959 caught a blue catfish from the Missouri River in South Dakota that weighed 97 pounds. Elliot's blue catfish stood as the world's record for blue cats until March, 1991, when George Lijewski of South Carolina caught one weighing 109 pounds.
"I was fishing on the edge of a hole where the bottom dropped off to about 40-feet deep," Elliot recalled. "I had cast my big catfish rod with 80-pound test line and a No. 9 Eagle Claw hook baited with a piece of cut carp out into that deep hole. I was fishing the edge of the hole with lighter tackle.
"My fishing partner and I had anchored our 25-foot long barrel barge that was 10-feet wide and had a cabin on it at the edge of the hole, because this spot in the lake was where big cats historically had been caught. For instance in 1990, my partner caught a 90 pounder and a 72 pounder there, and I took a 55 pounder. While I was fishing, my partner hollered I had a strike on the big rod. I set the hook and fought the cat for about an hour."
When the battle was over, the large catfish rolled up on its side and was netted with a huge dip net that Elliot and his fishing partner, Charles Gray, took with them when they went in pursuit of big catfish.
When asked if many people still fish for the big cats, Elliot answered, "Not anymore. The big cats are just too hard to catch. I believe most of the big fish have been caught out of that particular hole. Also the water level is raised and lowered so much on the river, I think the big cats don't bite as often as they once did."
According to Elliot, the first requirement for catching big cats is to pinpoint a place where monster cats live. The Missouri River has been and still may be one of the best bodies of water in the nation where you can hunt for trophy cats.
To learn more about catching catfish, go to Night Hawk Publications' Home Page, click on books, and then go to fishing books to see John Phillips' "The Masters' Secrets of Catfishing." You can buy the book by sending a check or a money for $13.95 to Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243, or use a credit card by calling (800) 627-4295.
Tomorrow: Ken Stage