Mud Island Marina/Memphis Yatch Club

catfish, tournament, flathead catfish, channel catfish, blue catfish, catfish now, whisker whackers

You can’t make this stuff up

Some of the anglers at the Mississippi River Monsters catfish tournament are keeping their boats at the Mud Island Marina/Memphis Yatch Club.  It is predominately occupied by the Yatch Club members, but users are not required to be a member of the club to moor boats in the facility.

“We stay full all the time, but we are open to the public on an as available basis,” said marina manager Andy Anderson. “We do background checks on all the members, just to make it a safer facility.”

catfish, Mississippi River Monsters, Memphis, tournament

Anderson is shown here at his computer in the marina office.

Catfishermen can also launch at the marina. There is a charge for the service. Just check with the office for details.

There are two free public ramps near the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid where the tournament weigh-in will be held. There is a Coast Guard ramp just before you cross over to Mud Island under the bridge. It is an old single lane ramp that has been there for probably 50 years. Then there is the Greenbelt Park ramp on the north end of Mud Island. Just take a right at the circle as you cross over to Mud Island and you will see it on your left about a mile or so down the river.

“Ramps are almost always useable off the island,” said Anderson. “It gets a little sketching around a -8 or -9 on the river gauge. If you have a long trailer you might drop off the end of the marina ramp. It’s not the end of the world, but it can be kinda’ rough. That is very rare. We are not usually that low. We did, in 2012, get down to 10 ½ and every boat in the marina was in the mud.”

catfish, Mississippi River Monsters, Memphis, tournament

Anderson is assisted in running the operation by his accountant Ingrid Young.

Anderson reported that the fishing had not been good all week. “It’s mainly because of the hurricanes,” said Anderson. “Irma has moved in, and we got all that rain from Harvey. They have caused the water to be up and down so much it has affected the catfishing.”

“It has settled down now, and this weather is supposed to clear out today,” predicted Anderson. “It is changing before the weekend when it should be better fishing conditions for the tournament.”

“We have a lot of catfishermen that come by,” reported Anderson. “Some of them come, almost on a daily basis. These are people that learn the Mississippi River and love the Mississippi River. It is a learning curve. You do not want to put yourself in a position that would give you trouble. You need to learn the rock dikes and other areas that can be dangerous when water level changes.”

“The rock dikes, the wing dams, whatever you want to call them, they go under water at a certain water level,” warned Anderson. “You gotta’ know where they are. Otherwise you might tear something up. There are ways to see them even when they are submerged, but that’s what reading the river is all about. You can see where the water changes. People that are fishing here all the time learn all that. It keeps them safe.”

Anderson doesn’t fish himself, but has seen plenty of big fish come through the marina. “I use to fish quite a bit,” offered Anderson. “But, since I took this job it has been kind of a seven day a week job. We are a small outfit and don’t have a lot of employees. You just kinda’ need to be available.”

Anderson is well aware of the operation of the marina. “I have been doing this for five years, but I have had a boat here since 1990.We love our little marina,” said Anderson.

His years at the marina have been interesting ones. “You can’t make this stuff up,” joked Anderson. “One day a Volkswagen Bus on pontoons drove up to our marina. It had peace signs on the side and everything. A real nice couple came in and spent a few days moored here. They had taken the axels and stuff off the bus and made it into a homemade pontoon boat. It had an outboard motor all rigged up to the steering wheel. It just looked like they were driving down the highway when they came in. They drove up, opened the door, stepped out, and introduced themselves.”

On another day an airplane pulled up for gas. “Yeah, a little seaplane landed out here in the harbor. Our employees freaked out when I told them to get ready, that we had a plane coming in to fuel. They pulled up to fuel dock, got out and picked up some ice and drinks while fueling and flew back out.”

With extra interest on the area because of the tournament, Anderson had some observations on the catfish. “I have seen a lot of over 100-pound catfish. There have been some real monsters. They come through on a pretty regular basis. We have scales so we can weigh them. Maybe there will be some of those big ones in the tournament.”

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