Do you believe in Monsters?

catfish myths

Catfishing Myths.

Every year as I make my way across the south eastern US filming or competing in catfishing tournaments, I always seem to hear the same stories from the locals about giant monster catfish that lurk in the their waters of that particular town I’m in at the time.

The stories seem to be similar but at the same time; each story has its own version of how these huge catfish have eluded catfish anglers for years.

As each story I hear starts to unfold, I always get tickled on the inside but keep it to myself and always listen to each one patiently with interest and amazement, never attempting to spill the beans on the real truth about the actual size catfish can grow to.

The Top #1 Myth.
Scuba divers that were cleaning the intakes at the bases of a dam said there are catfish down there the size volkswagons and could swallow a man whole and refuse to go back down there.

Other myths I have heard involve a river grapple, a rope and chain, the hind quarters of a goat and winch on a wrecker or jeep with the same end result, the fish always eluded the fisherman somehow and these giant fish still remain uncatchable.

Granted there is some truth to these stories to a certain extent. However there are no catfish in the US that can grow nowhere near the size described in this folklore that could swallow a man whole.

In the past there has been has been some documentation of catfish measuring 5 feet long and weighing in excess of 200 lbs. from the 1800’s.

However the current world record blue catfish was caught in 2011 from John H.Kerr- Buggs Island reservoir near Clarksville VA. And weighed in at 143 pounds and measured 57 inches long.
Although the folklore will always continue to be told for the new generations to hear and the stories will always have different variations but I don’t think we have to worry about our small children and babies getting eat up by these fictitious monster catfish.

Do I believe in monsters?
Yes, any catfish over fifty pounds I consider a monster catfish.

The biggest catfish I have ever caught weighed in at just over 85 pounds and was caught from the Mississippi River in 2010 but I do believe that there is a bluecat somewhere lurking about that will weigh 200 pounds, where it will be caught who knows, but if I had to guess, I would say it will come from one of the wild, naturally free flowing rivers such as Missouri or Mississippi rivers.

Catching Skip jack herring for catfish bait

When skipjack hit they leave little to the imagination, they are mean! And can be fun to catch. Your line will go tight in a sudden rush and the fish will just keep on moving despite your best efforts to control them, they love to jump.

The fight of a skipjack is characterized by strong, fast runs and sudden rushes to the surface displaying their flashy acrobatics, destroying crappie jigs and plastic grubs. they dont call them Tennessee tarpons for nothin!

How to catch skip jack?

The best bait for the trophy cats is skip jack herring and at times, you’ll spend more time catchin your bait as you do actually catfishing because you have to catch skip jack with a rod and reel. This is why this spring time run is an important time for catfisherman.

In the spring from April to June the skip jack will start migration to the tail waters to initially feed and stay to spawn and in this time frame there are thick by the thousands and the easiest time for a catfisherman to collect some bait. When they’re running good it’s not uncommon to catch 1 or 2 every cast. Skip jack can also be caught in the winter months around the hot water discharges from factories along the rivers.

Myself: ill take a couple days of nothing but bait collection, catching a few hundred a day and stocking my freezer with bait for the coming months when the skip jack get scarce in the hot months, 4 or 5 hundred skip jack packed in2 gal. zip lock bags will generally last me until the fall when the skip jack return to the tail waters in the fall to feed.
To catch skip jack you’ll need a med action rod with a spin casting reel spooled with some 14 lb mono.
Skip Jack Rig.

Tie a barrel swivel to the 14 lb main line and tie a 3 foot piece of 20 lb mono leader to the other end of the barrel swivel. Now you will need to tie a marabou jig on the leader about a foot below your swivel leaving a 2 foot piece of leader exposed, now come down anther foot and tie another marabou jig below the last jig leaving 1 foot of leader exposed and once again tie one more jig at the end of your leader completing the skip jack rig.

Look for skipjack along the faster current seams running close to the bank along rocky shores or rip rap. Cast your rig out and retrieve in quickly and hang on.