Thus, on a fine afternoon my friend Alex and I headed to the locale armed with cutbait and bottom and float rigs.
A northern watersnake holding his prize catch of the day greeted us.
A yellow bullhead meets an unfortunate fate
While the action was hot, we initially had trouble connecting with takes. While tossing out bigger cutbait on sliding sinker rigs, I also placed a smaller suspended bait under a float right next to shore by some overhanging brush.
Lo and behold, that rig was the first to go off. There's no adrenaline rush like seeing a float trotting off and shooting underwater, whether that be fishing for bluegills in a creek or casting livebaits for pike.
I tightened up, and realized quickly that I was connected to a very solid brown bullhead—my biggest ever, actually. It didn't take long for me to get it in, but I did baby it a little since the fish was hooked by a tiny flap of skin. Absurdly enough, this bullhead completely cleared the water twice, almost tailwalking—a behavior I had never observed nor heard of any catfish species doing.
I do believe that this brown bullhead is my personal best for this species, which is always a good achievement. Furthermore, it added to my tally for the June contest.
Later on, while we were still lacking any sign of channel catfish, I was messing around with freelining chunks of bait by a ledge when I inadvertently tangled my line with an angry watersnake (there was no shortage of snakes in the area that day). After a struggle in getting the creature free, I realized that a fish of decent caliber was on the other end of the line. I passed the rod to Alex, so he could have a go at it.
In the meantime, another bottom rig went off with a hard hit, but upon reeling it in I knew it was a small bass. Landing the bass quickly, I then netted the channel catfish which Alex had at this point brought to shore.
A double header! Quite ironic, after going so long without any sign of life.
While Alex had caught a channel catfish, I had yet to do so and I still needed one for the contest. As a last resort, I send out some smaller rigs with half a nightcrawler on each instead of half a bluegill, and quickly picked up my smallest channel ever, a cute and oddly blue-colored specimen. A species is a species!
With that we decided to call it an outing—a personal best and two more contest entries were more than enough, although we never did encounter a behemoth catfish.