Catfish Profiles in Passion – Chad Ferguson
by Ron Presley
Specializing in whisker fish
The catfish addiction is real for Captain Chad Ferguson, Chief Catfish Officer (CCO) at Catfish Edge. The Texas native has been crazy about fishing his whole life. He grew up at Possum Kingdom Lake in Northwest Texas where he says there were only two things to do—fish or ride motorcycles.
“I spent a lot of time fishing,” joked Ferguson. “I’ve been fishing since I was about four years old. I’d spend time on the boat docks fishing for anything I could catch. It would be from sun up to sundown, and then when possible, I’d go out on the boat with my grandfather or father to fish. The level of addiction has definitely gotten worse over the years.”
The forty-four-year-old Texan lives on the far outskirts of Fort Worth Texas. He guides on a number of different lakes in the area, but most of his fishing is done on Eagle Mountain Lake. Others include Lake Worth, Lake Lewisville, Lake Ray Roberts, and Texoma.”
“I’m fortunate that we’ve have multiple excellent catfish lakes within a couple of hours of home in every direction,” offered Ferguson. “I like to venture out and fish somewhere ‘new’ when I can. I like the chance to fish water that I’m not exposed to all year long.”
“I love being outdoors,” continued Ferguson. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s hunting, fishing or anything else. Much of my passion for fishing is driven by the love of the outdoors. I get grumpy if I’m inside too much or around large groups of people for too long or start feeling too confined. Much of the reason for being on the water is getting away from all that, enjoying the gifts that god has given us, and taking it all in.”
“I guide for catfish only,” said Ferguson. “Occasionally I’ll catch a few sand bass or hybrids in the summer. I also do a little gar fishing, but 99.9% of the time I only fish for catfish.”
As a guide he enjoys all the catfish species and he fishes for them all. Channel cats, blue cats or flatheads, it doesn’t matter. Big fish, little fish and everything in between makes him happy, but his passion is catching trophy blue catfish. If he is going to fish for fun, which he says he doesn’t get to do often, it’s usually for big blue cats.
The Guiding Game
“One of the things I enjoy most is guiding or taking others on the water,” said Ferguson. “I like watching them catch fish and seeing the smiles on their faces. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first fish, the most fish they’ve ever caught, or their biggest fish. When I see people enjoying themselves on the water catching fish, I enjoy it as much or more as they do catching them.”
Make that person catching a first fish or a personal best a child, and Ferguson’s reward is multiplied several times over.
“I have more fun watching a child catch fish,” continued Ferguson. “I get more excited over it than I could catching that fish myself. A lot of people see that in me. I’ve been guiding long enough now that people who were kids and teenagers coming with their parents are now bringing their kids to fish with me. Sometimes I have four or even five generations on the boat that have been fishing with me.”
The Catfish Conservation Game
“I’m a strict trophy catfish catch and release angler when it comes to big catfish,” noted Ferguson. “I release all catfish over 10 pounds and prefer to release everything over five pounds. I am firm believer in selective harvest and have been doing both since I began as a guide. I was promoting CPR when it wasn’t the ‘cool’ thing to do. I try to go above and beyond to do my part to educate anglers in the importance of conservation and having respect for the environment.”
The End Game
“I expect to continue catfishing as long as I enjoy it,” offered Ferguson. “If there ever comes a time that it’s not fun any longer, or I don’t enjoy it, then I’ll have to get out. I don’t see that happening though. I’ve got one child that’s about to go off to college and one that’s got some more years at home.”
“Fishing kind of consumes the daily life at the Ferguson house now as it is,” offered Ferguson. “I work hard, play hard, love to hunt, fish, shoot guns and spend time with my family. My daughter is a competitive cheerleader so I spend a lot of time chasing after her and doing ‘cheer dad’ stuff. I also spend a lot of time cooking barbecue and other outdoor cooking on discadas.”
“One of these days, when I’ve got more free time, tournament fishing is something I might do more of. But at this point, I just don’t have the capacity to do so when it involves traveling all over the country to get to the larger tournaments.”
“Sometimes I think that when I get the kids out of the house, and life slows down some, my wife and I might move to the coast for a while. We might spend some extended time there and spend more time fishing saltwater. That’s something I really enjoy a lot—but don’t get to do often.”
“I love the challenge of fishing and the constant quest to figure it out,” concluded Ferguson. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been fishing, or how much time you’ve spent on the water, there’s always something new to learn and discover. Things change all the time. I often tell people that when it comes to fishing, the minute you think you’ve got it all figured out and know what you’re doing, you’ll get humbled when the fish let you know otherwise!”
Ferguson thanks his business partner, Matthew Davis at Whisker Seeker Tackle, and his sponsors, SeaArk Boats, Marine Master Trailers, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Abu Garcia, Costa, Under Armour, Rig Rap, EGO and Hodgman for helping him live his dream.
Fishing with Kids
It was not his best day guiding, but one of his best days on the water. He was fishing with his 12-year-old son. On that day, Lane broke the Texas State Junior Anger Record for blue catfish. It was not only a state record, but a lake record and several other state and water body records.
“It’s a day I’ll never forget,” commented Ferguson.
Captain Chad Ferguson’s passion for fishing with kids reaches beyond his family. He likes to see all kids have success with fishing. He suggests that there’s not one single thing that produces a successful trip with kids. Rather, there are several.
“First and foremost, make a fishing trip with youth about the kids and tailor your approach to their age,” advised Ferguson. “Make it about the kids having a good time and respect the fact that they have limits (especially the younger ones). Kids usually don’t care about catching big fish, a certain species of fish etc., so don’t be too set in your ways and what you plan on doing. They’ll usually have just as much fun drowning worms for perch as they will by catching anything else. It’s not always about the fish, it’s about the time on the water, giving them the attention and creating a bond.”
“The biggest mistake I see people make with kids is that they push them too far,” continued Ferguson. “You have to adjust to their age and the capacity they have. The younger they are or the less interested on any given day, the shorter the time on the water needs to be.”
“Break things up and keep them interested,” advised Ferguson. “Keep plenty of food and drinks on hand to keep them nourished. Also, teach them what you’re doing and why you are doing it.”
“Last but not least, get them out there early and often,” concluded Ferguson. “If you don’t have kids then find someone else’s and get them out there—and that includes girls! Kids these days spend too much time in front of a screen and know nothing about the outdoors. As anglers we have a responsibility to pass it on.”