The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More
These days I enjoy many different types of hunting. I’m an avid, some might say rabid, waterfowler. I love to bowhunt and have traveled the country doing so for various big game species, although I’m fairly content with Kansas whitetails and turkeys now. And when it’s not hunting season I’m usually fishing. I love to fish for walleye, crappie and channel catfish. I’m at home on the front of my boat on a big reservoir or wading a small Flint Hills stream. It’s all good.
Throw in a recent bout with the trapping bug and decades of camping with family and friends and it’s obvious I have an addiction for the outdoors.
Many of my most memorable outdoor experiences in recent years have centered on those with my children. My 18-year-old daughter and twin 12-year-old boys have been a major part of my outings. Watching their eyes light up as they realize the wonders of Mother Nature and her bounty likely has even more meaning than my own personal satisfaction. Spending quality time with them outdoors carries significant and substantial meaning, no matter what we’re doing.
In this Blog I’ll attempt to relay some of the enjoyment and satisfaction I get from being outdoors. Topics covered will be broad in scope and run the gamut. It’s all fair game. If you can sit at your computer and read a particular entry and it stirs you to try it, or helps make your experience more enjoyable, I will be pleased. And if it does nothing more than make you smile or laugh that too, will please me. The outdoors is truly a great place to be!
Thursday, August 25, 2016
DEJA TWO FLATHEAD CATFISH!
You might remember my last Blog entry highlighted a huge flathead catfish that was in the neighborhood of a few large kindergartners weight-wise. He was big and beautiful and ultimately released as a result of being foul hooked. I'd have likely released him anyway, but I had no choice.
So, fast forward a week to a similar fishing trip. I was joined this time by a buddy, Jim, and my nephew, Dylan, for a morning of fishing on the same chum hole where I'd pulled Moby Flathead from the weekend prior. It was another beautiful morning and we'd fished for a couple hours and had plenty of channel cats in the 2-6 pound range in the box and weren't going to keep any more.
I'd pitched a line out and let it set on the bottom a short distance from the boat while I worked on rigging my other rod. I noticed that line went slack and picked it up and slowly cranked the reel handle a couple times. I felt resistance and set the hook and the fight was on.
I turned to Jim and Dylan and said, "Surely, this isn't another big flathead, is it?"
I've caught literally thousands of channel catfish off of chum holes on several Kansas reservoirs in the last decade-plus. I can honestly say I can't remember EVER catching a single flathead catfish during that time so the last weekend was a first. I would be utterly shocked if this was another one.
But the fight was somewhat similar to the one the weekend prior. My rod was doubled but this time the battle wasn't nearly as long. I still had to switch hands with the rod a time or two after one would get tired.
The huge fish surfaced and I could immediately tell one thing was different. It was hooked in the bottom lip! And the next thing I could tell was it wasn't nearly as big, but still a monstrous fish on rod and reel.
I got the fish into the net and wondered aloud if my 30 pound digital scale would cover it. I thought it might be close and it was as the display read 28 pounds, 12 ounces. I was happy and we shot a few photos as my nephew kept saying, "Dang that thing is big!"
"We've got plenty of fish fillets for today," I said as I eased the big fish over the side of the boat.
He made a fast recovery and left with a big splash. I slapped some slimy high fives with my fishing buddies and enjoyed the moment.
I'll fish again this weekend. And if I happen to catch another big flathead I'll likely release him, too. But the next thing I'll do is head to the nearest store and purchase several lottery tickets. Because there's no way lightning strikes the same place THREE times, is there?