Catfish Fever–Catch It
by Ron Presley
The prescribed medication is more catfishing.
The term “newbie” didn’t last long to describe Gaffney, SC resident Lindsey Patterson as a cat woman. She caught the catfish fever on her first catfishing trip in May of 2017.
The dictionary defines “newbie” as an inexperienced newcomer to a particular activity. Change one word in that definition and you describe Lindsey as it relates to her catfishing today. She may still be considered a newbie to some, but inexperienced she is not. In the year that’s past since her first catfish trip she claims Lake Wateree, SC as her home waters; she has hit the tournament trail several times; and she has put some really nice blues and flatties in the boat.
It wasn’t that she never fished before meeting Benji Brown, she just didn’t target catfish before. Now catfish are definitely her favorite target.
“I grew up in a home of all girls,” recalled Lindsey. “My dad decided he wanted to take the oldest daughter (me) fishing. It soon became a regular event. Every Saturday dad and I would go fishing. He had me baiting my own hooks and cleaning my own fish. We didn’t go for catfish though. We were fishing for bass and brim.”
Targeting catfish started after she met Benji Brown. Benji is an avid catfish angler and it was probably a pretty good bet that he would try to pass his addiction on to Lindsey. It was just a few months after Lindsey and Benji met that he invited her to a tournament weigh-in. It was a Cabela’s King Kat event at Lake Wateree.
“I was excited about attending,” stated Lindsey. “I loved this stuff and it meant a lot that Benji wanted me to come and check it out. I had been seeing the pictures of these big catfish and I could not believe the size of them. But nothing compared to getting to see them up close and personal. Attending that weigh-in was very, very impressive. In my mind I was thinking, ‘I want one.’”
A Date Night Fishing Trip
“It was the one and only Benji Brown that took me out catfishing for my first time,” offered Lindsey. “I knew he was into the catfishing world and tournament fishing. It did not take long until we began to work our dating life around catfishing.”
It was almost like Lindsey had a built-up passion for the sport that needed to be released. It wasn’t long after attending the King Kat weigh-in that Lindsey asked Benji if they could spend a day fishing on their upcoming date night. Of course, Benji obliged and the catfish couple took off for Lake Wylie and that now infamous day in May when Lindsey’s catfish journey began and she caught catfish fever.
Memories of a Catfish Christening
Even after making the date-night request Lindsey was not sure what she was in for. Her experience with Benji, his love for catfishing, and her tolerance for fishing for catfish were about to be tested.
“I was nervous, to be honest,” recalled Lindsey. “It had been years since I had been fishing and I knew it would be a trial and error type thing. Mainly, I didn’t want to mess up anything. Catfishing was far different from any fishing I had ever done.”
“Lindsey has become a heck of a fisherwoman,” stated Benji. “When we first began dating, she knew that I had a passion for these whiskered fish and was eager to get on the boat to see what it was all about. I remember that the fishing was tough that first night and the fish were not biting as I had hoped.”
Benji’s hope was to find her a trophy catfish. He was not as satisfied about the trip as she was, but she didn’t have anything to measure the trip against because she had never been catfishing before.
“I know we caught a couple fish,” continued Benji. “The biggest fish we caught was a 20-pounder and it was a monster in her eyes. She was completely fascinated and was definitely hooked from then on. I don’t think she realized how that one trip to Lake Wylie would change her life forever.”
“If I remember correctly, we caught a couple fish that night,” confirmed Lindsey. “I was excited and impressed about the whole trip. Benji, not so much. He knew the spawn had started and the bite would be tough, but he still took me out fishing that night.”
Since that first catfishing trip Lindsey has solidified her catfish passion with a personal best blue cat of 80 pounds and a personal best flathead of 28 pounds. That’s a pretty impressive start for a “newbie” in her first year.
“Everything about the catfishing world fascinates me,” declared Lindsey. “From the anglers who love to catch them to the creatures themselves. The group of men and women I have met in the past year are some of the best people you could ever meet anywhere. They have the biggest of hearts to go with their passion for catfishing.”
“I love the opportunity to travel and try out new waters. Each new location offers its own challenges. It’s like a big surprise just waiting for you. Catfishing is kind of like when you’re a kid getting a toy out of the bottom of a cereal box. First you experience the fight of reeling him in, and then the challenge of getting the fish in the boat. You’re not sure what you’re about to pull out of the water.”
“There is nothing like the feeling you get when you see a big old catfish come to the surface. The adrenaline kicks in big time and the joy surfaces. I am usually laughing the whole time until we put him back in the water.”
“I am definitely on board with catch-photo-release (CPR),” said Lindsey. “It hurts my heart to see a big, slimy, ugly/beautiful catfish not being released back into its waters. I beg everyone to practice CPR.”
“There’s nothing wrong with us gals getting our hands dirty,” suggested Lindsey. “I’ve never been one to mind it at all and that mindset carries over easily to catfishing. There’s a lot that has to be done while you’re out in the boat and in the time between fishing trips. I have found that being eager to learn new things is helpful. And most importantly, for us catfishing ladies, don’t forget a bucket for the boat for those long fishing days!”
“I believe everyone should try catfishing at least once in their life,” concluded Lindsey. “It’s definitely worth it. There is of course, the risk you run of getting hooked and catching catfish fever for life!”
Lindsey has made the journey from novice catfish angler to passionate and experienced catfish angler as a member of Team PoleKat while fishing from a SeaArk boat equipped with Warrior Cat Rods, Monster Rod Holders, Hurricane Anchor, and Drifting Stixs.