Thursday, August 6, 2015

Another Day for Catfish

After my previous experience at the pond in Hillsborough, an opportunity presented itself, and I was headed there again on short notice. This time I brought two rods, both for bottom fishing. I only had an hour and a half, so I decided to just let the fish come to me instead of wasting time walking around.

Both rods had a standard bottom rig with a sliding sinker, than a short length of 15 lb mono tied to a 3/0 circle hook, baited with cut creek chub, sunfish, or baby bass.

Upon arriving at my spot, I found it was already occupied with some kids from my school. It turns out they had seen my blog post and decided to come here in search of large catfish. We had a chat, and it turns out they were not as successful as they wanted to be, with only some sunfish and bass.

They had taken my spot of choice, so I moved about 10 yds away and set up my spread. My Grandpa was with me again, and he also set up, but only with one rod. Soon enough, they left, and I was able to get the good spot.

Long story short, it was slow.

It was a lot cooler than the previous days, and that made the fish slow down a little bit. I had a lot of bumps and tears at my cut bait, probably bullheads and turtles. Still, this pond lacks the giant snappers that make catfishing on the golf course so hard. I had a few runs, but just couldn't hook up.

After a lull in action, I took one of my rods and caught some 10 inch bass, but nothing noteworthy. A pair of anglers showed up next to me, fishing for catfish with only one bullhead caught. It was getting close to the end of my session,so I tossed my bottom rig back out, so I again had a 2-rod spread. Not 10 minutes passed when I heard the rod bells.

The previous knocks I received were light taps, barely jingling the bells. This one was different. My rod, ant an almost vertical position, just slammed down with force. I wrenched the rod out of its holder (I learned from my previous encounter :)  ), and reared back.

Catfish are not weak. This one was not too large, but a very decent NJ kitty, and it did peel plenty of drag. The hookset was solid (circle hook, so the fish set itself), and I brought it to the bank where my grandpa expertly netted this fish.

 Funny thing, I was just having a conversation with the red-shirted angler in the background about the location of catfish. He said he learned that big cats like to stay near cover by shore. I agreed, as my previous catfish was also from water shallower than my waist.  But I did mention the 7-lber I hooked right in the middle, where my bait was now. Then my rod doubled over...

It turned out catfish like both habitats. The ponds structure is a deep channel in he middle surrounded by gravel/sand/mud shallow areas, some more flats-like than others. My theory is that they like deep water with shallow feeding areas nearby. Last weeks channel was hooked in shallow water, but upon feeling the hook, quickly retreated into deeper water dragging my rod along with it.

Its by no means correct, since fishing is fishing and there is ALWAYS exceptions. But it is some interesting knowledge for the future.

On the scale, it weighed 3.91 lbs, pretty close to my estimate of 4. One thing I noticed in particular though, was the size of the mouth compared to last weeks channel catfish. It was much, much smaller, but the other one was just under 2 lbs larger. I'm doing a catfish oil painting, so info like this is always helpful, as well as reference shots.

This weekend will be the last at home. I'm going to sleepaway camp, then the finger lakes, then we'll be in our new house in Newtown (fitting name). So I'll probably say goodbye to the golf course very soon. :(

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