Trophy Flathead fishing is just around the corner!
Many have said the cat fish is one of the most under utilized sport fish in MN. While the masses head on "up North", their's some that are getting their night fishing gear ready for the magical experiance of fishing the rivers at night for our River Monsters!
We are approaching that time of year when the daylight levels and water temperatures come together to activate the pre-spawn bite of the big guys, the fresh water fish that many times reach the 20, 30, 40 and even 50 pound sizes.
Although these bruiser can be caught in the daylight, angler success rates are much better fishing when the largest percentages of cats are on the prowl...after dark.
There are quite a few locations in the Twin City Metro area to bank fish on the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, but I prefer the isolation and mobility of using a boat and fishing the backwater areas of the Mississippi River from Hastings to Red Wing MN.
I launch out of Everts Fishing Resort looking for tributary's and backwaters with mud or clay banks and piles of wood that they use for cover during the day. We fish close to these partially submerged wood piles well into the night waiting for Mr. Whiskers to decide it's time to come out and have dinner.
What's for dinner? My bait of choice for this time of year is live bullheads. By hooking a 10/0 hook that looks like something from an ocean anglers tackle box through the back side of a bullhead. Rigging is a simple slip sinker at 3 or 4 ounces to keep the bait from swimming a way and a swivel...that's it. The bullheads provide plenty of swimming action and commotion to entice a flat to check it out. When they do, it's a POW coming from the heavy rod followed by the screaming sound of the line out alarm!
After setting the hook, it's man against fish. We use 80 pound Courtland Master Braid to try and keep the angry beast from getting back into the wooden snag which is where they want to go...NOW! I find it as much fun to watch a first timer fight one of these bulldogs as I do catching one myself. It's truely a joy to hear the angler grunt and grown as the fish bends the stout rod into the water!
Once the cat is beside the boat we take a few moments to take a breather and then lift her in. I'm old school. I like using pounds and ounces in talking about my cats. Many now a days use length and girth measurements along with a chart to give a close enough weight. It's a good idea as good scales that reach 60 pounds are hard to come by.
When the weighing is completed it's photo time. Because they are so large, it's best to use two hands to support them. Some of these fish are 30 years old and taking care of them while out of water allows them the chance to spawn again and someone else to have a shot at hooking into one.
The time is now to have a tug of war with a true trophy on our rivers. Whether you bring a lawn chair and sit on the bank or jump into a boat. Sit back, relax and catch a biggun!
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