Catfish Profiles in Passion – Nicholas Lyon
by Ron Presley
What isn’t there to love about cat fishing
Nicholas Lyon compares his passion for fishing to Christmas morning. It’s exciting, it’s uplifting, and it’s fulfilling. Fishing in general is an adrenalin rush for him, but there’s something special about catfish.
“I would describe my passion for catfishing as being like Christmas morning every time I go out to fish,” offered Nick. “I love everything about it; the work that I have to do to get my rod out on the water; getting the rig ready; catching bait, and learning new ways to maybe catch a catfish.”
“I enjoy fishing in general,” continued Nick. “But the more I got into it the more I began to target the fish I was trying to catch. There is something special about catfishing. I just fell in love with the fight.”
Nick fished at different ponds and lakes with his dad when growing up. But two summers ago, he and his family were at Conneaut Park. His stepbrother wanted to go fish at the lake and there was a boy about Nick’s age there fishing.
“He had lost his mother,” recalled Nick. “I saw just how much fishing had helped him and there was something that just clicked. I was so curious as to what was under the surface. From then on, I was literally hooked. I mostly fish in the Ohio and Beaver Rivers. Those are the easiest places for my mom to take me to. But I want to travel to other places and see what huge fish I can catch.”
Just like opening a present on Christmas morning, anglers never know what the next bite will bring. That is part of the attraction for Nick.
“I get my passion from not knowing what is on the end of my rod. I love the feeling I get when I am fighting a fish and bring it in successfully, and of course unharmed.”
The soon to be thirteen-year-old New Brighton, PA resident is also getting his feet wet in tournament fishing. Competitive anglers will likely see more of him in the future. He is certainly a good example of the kind of youth that the catfish community needs to recruit.
“I just started tournament fishing recently,” said Nick. “My first tournament was with Eric Tustin and Loui Helwig. The second one was on Oct. 28 with Cody Munyon. I did go up to Ohio and help Eric Tustin with his tournament. I helped bring in the fish for weigh-ins and took them back to the river to release them.”
Nick’s mom, Megan Lyon revealed how Nick caught the fever for catfish. It relates to a head injury and a fishing video.
“After Nick received his third concussion, his dad and I decided he could not play hockey anymore,” recalled Megan. “He found himself bouncing from one thing to another. He tried magic, rubrics cubes, and fishing. But with fishing something stuck!”
“He became obsessed with learning everything he could about bass fishing,” continued Megan. “And then it went to carp. Then he watched a Steve Douglas video and that was it. He was hooked on catfish.”
Nick recognizes Douglas and several more real-time catfish anglers among those that he respects and looks up to.
“I want to be a household name in the cat fishing community,” declared Nick. “I have had several people influence me. That little boy who was fishing at the lake, whom just had lost his mom; my dad who took me out when I was little; and my step brother. But the anglers I look up too are Steve Douglas, Kris Flores, Zakk Royce, Paul Blackwell, Dieter Melhorn, and anglers like that. They have paved the way to changing how we look at catfishing, they are innovators, they are go getters.”
Given the role models he mentions, it’s no wonder how he feels about conservation and the catfish resource.
“My philosophy on conservation is this,” said Nick. “I whole heartedly believe in CPR. I would never dream of pulling these beautiful catfish from the river! I want to ensure that someday when I have kids, I can take them catfishing and share my passion with them. If we all kept and killed the big catfish, that have taken years to grow, there wouldn’t be any left to fish for. To me that is just incredibly selfish. Taking them all will also affect the ecosystem within the water. We need to leave them in their natural environment.”
“I definitely think we need to ensure clean waters to ensure the health of all fish,” continued Nick.
“And for pay lakes, I think they are just wrong,” opinioned Nick. You are putting these huge fish in a not so favorable environment and they become diseased. I don’t know why people who actually fish these can’t fish like the rest of us. It’s not called catching it’s called fishing. So, to go and pay to catch a ‘big’ fish is just wrong.”
When ask to describe his best day fishing, Nicks response went straight to family values and sharing experiences. With respect to his worst day, he says there is no such thing.
“A scenario of my best day fishing would have to be, hands down, fishing with my mom. The icing on the cake is that she can watch me reel in my personal best.”
“If I’m being completely honest I don’t think there is a worst-case scenario for fishing,” replied Nick. “There are conditions that may not be so favorable, like a cold, rainy day. Or, a super-hot day when you don’t catch anything. But, how can there be a worst-case scenario if I’m doing what I love?”
“I have fished regularly for about two years,” explained Nick. “I have been seriously addicted for about 8 months. There is no time limit for fishing. It is something that I will be doing for the rest of my life.”
“I love it because I am good at it; I love it because I can be alone with my thoughts and just focus on that moment; I love it because a severe concussion has kept me from playing hockey anymore; Fishing is now my new hockey without the risk of getting hurt; I love it because it’s something I can teach my kids someday; I love it because it allows me and my mom to spend time together.”
“What isn’t there to love about fishing?”