Chasing Channels

     We got started a little late tonight. My kids were having some friends over for a sleepover and I was moving kinda slow. I was feeling guilty about leaving my wife home all night with 5 high energy children just so I could go out and do a little catfishing.  As Richard pulled up to the house I suddenly realized that I wasn't packed up and ready to go.  We had planned this all week, but like usual I was running behind.  Rigging up the rods I said, "I don't think we can make it all the way to Lake Columbia and still catch bait before dark."  "OK" Richard said, he is one of those go with the flow guys.  I asked him if he would mind us chasing some urban catfish instead.  I knew of a nice little spot here in the middle of Madison that consistently produces channel cats in the 30+ inch range.  Richard agreed to try my plan and soon we were loading up my pickup and cruising down the road.
     We stopped at a local shop and bought a sucker to use as cut bait.  Stink bait makes me gag now (must be getting old) and the sun was dropping to fast to bobber fish for bluegills.  As we arrived at the spot I was relieved to see that nobody else was fishing the area.  It can be a pretty popular spot in Madison and if you arrive to late chances are you won't get to fish.  We setup our chairs, casted out some lines, and settled into the night.  It wasn't long before Richards rod tip started to look a little agitated.
     Now Richard hasn't caught a catfish since he was kid.  I think adrenaline may have taken over because he snatched up his rod and gave it a wide sweeping hookset...nothing.  We made eye contact and I could tell he thought he missed the fish.  I assured him that if they hit it once they'll usually come back.  He set the rod back down and sure enough that cat came back.  The line started to move ever so slightly and with it the reel started to sing that favorite tune of the cat fisherman, Click, Click, Click.  He picked up the rod and nothing.  "Maybe just hold the rod," I mentioned. I explained that catfish can be pretty damn quick when they grab a bait, so holding the rod would increase his response time.  Sitting in the dark telling stories and eating Doritos it didn't take to long and his line was screaming out of the reel.  He jumped up and heaved on the rod setting that hook like a pro.  It quickly doubled over and I knew that once again this spot was producing.  That cat gave Richard a "reel" workout (get it!), it charged towards the bank, dove into thick vegetation, and eventually snagged itself up on the rocks just feet from the shoreline.  Undeterred I instructed Richard to keep tension on the line while I clamored down the rocks in the darkness.  I reached out over the water feeling around for the catfish with my left hand.  I locked my Lucid Fishing Grips on to its jaw and swung it backwards free of the rocks.  I handed the fish off to Richard and quickly got the camera.  We had no interest in eating him so after a few photos he was released back into the depths.
     Richard was still shaking as he let the fish go.  He says fishing with me is always an adventure.  That really means a lot, I pride myself in the "pursuit of the trophy."  As luck would have it later that same night Richard hooked into a fish he had never seen before, but that's a story for another time.

     Tight Lines.

   
     

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