Big Catfish Ice Fishing
This ice season for Bob May and I have been up and down. Where we caught numbers there was no size, conversely, the big ones were hard to come by. Nonetheless, we each caught an 11-inch bluegill. Last Monday, within minutes of packing it in, my season took a huge upturn.
We were fishing a large pond called Iron Mike’s. In these waters swim big bluegill, redear, crappie, and bass. The trouble is, they won’t bite. The fish seem to suspend at various depths well off the bottom and move around a lot.
Monday afternoon, Bob and I were getting eaten alive by a brisk north wind. We drilled our holes so our backs would be to the wind. His attire and mine probably haven’t changed in over 20-years. We dress layered and know how to stay warm.
I was encouraged early by catching 12-inch crappie and then nothing. After a while, Bob walked over and said, “I’ve had about enough of this.” I suggested we give it 10 more minutes.
As time was expiring, I pulled one line from the water and jigged the other pole one last time. I had a good bite but missed it. Both teardrop jigs had been robbed of bait. I added two wax worms to each hook and fed the line back down the hole. I yelled that I had a bite and needed another 10-minutes.
A Big Cat Is Hooked
I jigged my fresh offering and my spring bobber began to twitch. When it went down, I set the hook. I quickly learned this was a big fish. I yelled to Bob that I had something huge on the end of my line. He came in a hurry and began doing a play-by-play with his cell phone on video.
Fortunately, the night before, I took off an old two-pound test and spooled with a four-pound test line. I like to use the lighter line but the bait shop was sold out. Lucky me.
The big something was in control. On its first run, I pointed the rod tip towards the hole. Fortunately, the reel was not tightened down all the way and slipped. I loosened it even more. Every time the surging fish took the line, the little plastic reel knob rotated in a blur. I dared not grab it.
My color-man was directing that I get the fish to the hole, but it was a time to be patient. Force this fish and it is gone.
Finally, the fish gave up its valiant effort to escape and rolled to where we could see its white belly. Bob May used both hands to force the big channel catfish through the five-inch ice hole.
The small #8 ice jig was hooked in the edge of the mouth of this beautiful fish. As soon as Bob took photos, I slid this formidable foe back through the ice hole and we watched it swim away.
As far as my ice fishing season goes, I hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.