Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Catfish are Biting

Finally arriving home on Thursday, my first encounter was with a snot nosed Custom’s agent standing in the exit area just outside the airplanes door. About 150 steps out of the jet way I suddenly remembered where my Japanese tea I had bought in Narita was, still in the overhead compartment. Passing a “too young to have a uniform on” Custom’s guy who was giving a family grief because he could, I approached from behind tapping him on his shoulder and asked if it was OK to re-enter the plane to retrieve my stuff. His first words were Okay, which was all I needed to hear as my next steps were against the flow of people. Just as fast came a “Hey get back here, where do you think I am going?” Looking him straight in the eye my response was, “Look, I asked you a question and YOU said OK, what do you think that meant?” He decided to lecture me on coming up from behind and tapping him on the shoulder then, which I replied, stay on topic, why did you say it was OK then? Obviously frustrated by his immature authority, he finally gave me the right procedure, which I kindly thanked him and as I walk away told him to take a deep breath! Immigration is always fun as they are pretty good at asking a few well placed questions. Traveling with my beloved Packer Hat, he asked if I was from Wisconsin which prompted a quick Yes Sir! Where was the next question; Eleva! And where was that? South of Eau Claire. I am sure he was a fellow Cheesehead as we are always curious.

The weekend was pretty much spent readjusting to the time. Jetlag is a real problem as one’s schedule has shifted 13 hours. Once in China it takes a few days to stop getting up at 3:00 in the morning as well the same issue when you get home. There are many theories as to how an minimize the effects, vitamin C, lots of water, stay up as long as you can, however I think the best way is to have a few stiff drinks before you go to bed. I slept well on Thursday night, Friday I was up from 2:00 – 4:00 AM, and Saturday night was a good 13 hours. Slept like a baby last night as I am heading for a customer supplier event in Ft. Collins Colorado on Wednesday. One nice thing about flying into Denver is both the mountains and they have a Bass Pro Shop near the airport. The store is much larger than the Cabela’s near me and is a must stop. The word is that Bass Pro was going to build a large store at the Mall of America, in Bloomington MN but I am sure the recession had put a damper on that plan. Word is with the improving economy, it finally might get built. Although there is plenty of competition in the Twin Cities area, a Bass Pro would be a welcome destination and would provide a better variety of brands to choose from. We’ll see.

Not having the energy or the will to load the boat up and drive an hour north, my plan was to get away for a couple of hours and fish the river. My neighbor Brian Holcomb has a nice dock with a bench seat in the shade, just perfect for a relaxing evening. One thing about fishing the river is one never knows what you will catch. Targeting catfish on my last trip, all we caught were carp and suckers. On Sunday night it was a catfish slaughter! Fishing with crawlers, I decided to try a small freshwater circle hook. Originally bought for bobbering walleyes, I had not had the chance to try them. Circle hooks are unique in the way their point is facing the hook shaft. They work as the hook is dragged out of the fish’s throat and rotates when it comes to the edge of the mouth, resulting in the classic “corner of the mouth” hook set. This is the preferred hook for fishing halibut as the fish will swallow the bait. As the line tightens up the hook is dragged out and I have yet to see one that is not hooked as stated. This results in a 100% safe hook out and release, assuring the survival of the fish. The key for success with circle hooks is to NOT set the hook rather simply tighten the line. Simply reeling in the line is adequate to get a great hook set. Catfish are notorious for swallowing the bait so I was anxious to try them. A glob of crawlers and 5 minutes saw my first tap. Instinct took over and I set the hook on a nice 15 inch channel cat. Unfortunately it was hooked deep……1 for the frying pan. Deciding that didn’t work and determined to prove the hook’s effectiveness, all future strikes would be met with a simple reeling in the line technique. Rebaiting and 5 minutes later another opportunity presented itself. This time a simple few turns on the reel handle and the fight was one. This time it worked, hooked in the side of the mouth guaranteed a successful release of another 15 inch channel. For the next hour and a half the method proved effective as at least 10 catfish, all hooked in the corner, were either released or became part of my dinner later that night. The top picture is my largest catfish, about a 20 inch channel. I have included a picture of circle hook as you can see its unusual shape, and of course leave you with the moon rising over the river, something I never get tired of. Next weekend I will be busy with helping my sister-in-law move however Charlie is coming for his annual visit. We will be at Mille Lacs doing a little lead lining. My report will be a few days late however hopefully it should be worth it.


Jeff King said...

We went through customs in Seattle. The first guy asked "you must have some alcohol, tequila?" I was saying yes when MP piped up " and we have some really good Cuban Rum" ....the guy says..."mam, you mean caribean Rum?" ....she says "oh no,,this stuff is right from Cuba"

mmmmm....so into a different line. What do you do with that Dave?

Dewey said...

Hey Dave, Do those catfish taste better than eel??

Dave Anderson said...

Jeff, That's a tough one. It's like the old joke about the guy getting stopped and his wife says "officer, he always acts like this when he's drunk!" Oh well.

Dewey, Catfish out of the Mississippi is a little better, not much but better.