Wednesday, June 22, 2011

143 Lb Catfish, New World Record Caught In Virginia!

I've been saying for some time we should expect to eventually see a world-record blue catfish exceeding 150 pounds. We just got a step closer with a 143-pounder reported from Kerr Lake in Virginia. Check it out.

143 Lb Catfish, New World Record Caught In Virginia!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Giant Redear is One for the Record Books

Holy smokes! Look at the size of this redear sunfish!

The measurements of this boss bream are astounding: 5.55 pounds, 16.75 inches long and a 19-inch girth. Those are pretty good stats for a largemouth bass, and this ain’t no bass. It ain’t no panfish either because there probably isn’t a pan big enough to hold it.

Robert Lawler of Lake Havasu City, Arizona caught the giant redear in Lake Havasu, Arizona, on May 2, 2011, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department has confirmed the fish as their new state record. If certified, sunfish also will outweigh the current International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record of 5 pounds, 7 ounces, set in 1998 by Amos Gray in South Carolina.

Redears are among my favorite fish to target. Looking at this huge specimen gives me a bad case of envy. Congratulations, Mr. Lawler.

(Photo courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pool-Noodle Catfishing

I love jug fishing for catfish. Something about this type of fishing makes it especially fun. You release a flotilla of milk jugs or plastic soda bottles, with baited hooks and lines tied to each, then follow in a boat waiting for a big whiskerfish to bite. When one does, your jug will take on a life of its own, and the chase begins. This is a superb way to spend some time with family or friends. And it’s a good way to catch a mess of cats for the dinner table.

In recent years, jug-fishing enthusiasts have developed a new way to enjoy this pleasant sport. Instead of milk jugs or soda bottles, they make their floats from the long, hollow, closed-foam “noodles” kids play with in the swimming pool. These signal a strike better than regular jugs because when a fish takes your bait, the noodle stands up and waves around.

A while back, I had a chance to enjoy some of this “noodle” fishing while visiting Jim Duckworth and Charlie Campbell on the Tennessee portion of Kentucky Lake. Jim and Charlie baited 30 noodle rigs with night crawlers, and I accompanied them later to check for fish. Turns out, they caught plenty of channel cats—one on just about every rig they’d had floating in the lake. Whenever a catfish took a bait, a noodle would stand and wave before racing off, and we’d pursue the fish in Jim’s boat. We had a great time doing this, and had lots of “eaters” to take home when our jug fishing was done.

Everyone who fishes with jugs has their own special way of doing it, and Jim and Charlie are no exception to the rule. They’ve actually put together a great DVD on their techniques that you can purchase by visiting Jim’s website,

Of course, being a catfish specialist myself, I have my own way of rigging pool noodles that works great for me. Here are the instructions.

First, cut one 5-foot noodle into three 20-inch floats. Drill a hole through each noodle (side to side) about four inches from one end. Make the hole large enough to accommodate a piece of plastic drinking straw or metal tubing as long as the noodle is wide. Run the straw or tubing through the hole. This serves as a protective sleeve that keeps your fishing line from cutting through the foam when a fish is on.

Next, cut a 4-foot piece of stout fishing line. Run it through the sleeve, and tie the line securely around the noodle. To the line’s lower end, tie a three-way swivel. To the swivel’s bottom eye, tie another piece of line six feet long. Add a hook and sinker to this. To the other eye of the swivel, tie a 2-foot leader line with a hook on the end. Rigged this way, you can fish two baits at different depths, which should increase your catch. If you’re “noodling” at night, add reflective tape around each noodle’s top so they shine when a flashlight beam hits them.

When the noodles aren’t in use, just wrap the line around each one and plant the barbs of the hooks in the foam to keep everything in place. You can place a dozen or more in a big plastic garbage bag for carrying. Then, when you get to the lake or river, all you have to do is unroll the lines, bait the hooks and drop the noodle rigs in the water. Good baits include night crawlers, minnows and chunk-style commercial baits.

One word of warning: noodle fishing is addictive. Try it when you’ll have time to go again and again as often as possible. You’re sure to have loads of fun.