Some people seem to have a knack for finding and catching fish no matter the situation. That always seems to be the way catfishing goes when my wife (who I call the "Catfish Huntress") and I head out to the river to try our luck at it.
Over the last several years, she always seems to be the one that catches the big fish or catches the most when it comes to cats. The fish seem to find her bait a lot more often than not, while many times, I get some nibbles and that's it. Not that it disappoints me, as I'm always so thrilled when she gets a hold of one of the hard fighting fish in the fast current. Such was the case on our most recent night excursion looking for Mr. Whiskers.
We headed out to the Belle Fourche River just before sunset as usual so that we can find our spot, get all the gear set up and in position, and be ready for the coming darkness. We don't do anything really technical for the cats. I usually use shrimp, dough baits, or frozen shiners left over from ice fishing season as the bait.
Creek chubs work as well with the older and oilier the bait, the better. 2/0 and 3/0 circle hooks occupy the business ends of our poles, which as most know, are designed to have the fish set the hook on itself as it slides down and catches the fish on the side of the mouth.
I put on flat channel weights of two or three ounces depending on the current's speed. I typically tie the hooks on an 18"-24" leader below the weights and since we're fishing in the dark, I attach clip-on bells to the tips of the rods. That's one of the nice things about shore fishing for catfish. There's generally not much tech involved and it can be just very simple fishing.
The night brought its fair share of jingles here and there which broke up the stillness of the air. We'd swing our headlamps towards the rod where the noise came from and watch the tip for any sign of a nibble and it was usually her pole making the noise.
There were a few bites missed, but she was able to hook up with two nice size cats and give us some excitement. It's always so much fun watching her reel in catfish against the current and seeing her big smile when we are able to net the fish. Plus, since she always seems to catch them, catfish are one of the few fish she wants to hold up and get pictures with before we release them.
I love it that she enjoys going after them and spending long nights waiting for a bite despite the bugs buzzing around us on calm nights. After all, she is one who is usually catching them!