John's Journal... Entry 52, Day 3
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.
Another site emerging as a big cat/trophy catfish river that many northern anglers are flocking to like triple-coupon day at the grocery store is the Red River near Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada.
Ken Stage, from Elgin, Illinois, reported that, "A buddy and I began to fish at the Red River on a Friday. In two hours of fishing, we caught three catfish that weighed in at 10 pounds, 23 pounds and 24-1/2-pounds before we had to leave the water. We were able to fish two hours the next day and caught nine fish, the biggest weighing 27-1/2-pounds. For a total of five hours of fishing, we took 12 catfish weighing 257 pounds."
The Red River, according to Stage, is only 70- to 80- yards wide but may be as much as 100-feet deep. But Stage's fish were caught in about 20 feet of water using 1-inch thick strips of moon eyes, a baitfish. All the fish were caught on 10-pound test Berkley Tri-Max line.
Stage and his guide from Stu McKay Outfitters in Lockport, Manitoba, used a technique called sight fishing to find and catch the big cats. Motoring down the river at a slow speed, the anglers watched their depthfinders and looked for the large catfish along the bottom. When they spotted the fish, they turned their craft back upstream and tried to position the boat 20 to 30 yards above the cats. After tying on a 1-1/2-ounce sinker to the end of the line, Stage moved up the line about 30 inches and attached a 2-foot leader with a No. 7 hook baited with a moon eye chunk. A foot above the leader, he tied on a barrel swivel to the line. Then Stage cast the bait back to the waiting cats, and the fish attacked.
"The cats were easy to see on the bottom because they were the biggest objects on the bottom," Stage explained.
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: Ted Jowett