River Rumors: Catfish Buy the Pound
by Ron Presley
Red River is ground zero for charity catfish event
Whether it be for recreation or competing in a tournament, catfishing is fun. Catfish buffs Dan and Eileen Coates have a plan to fish for fun while promoting a good cause. They have developed a partnership with ALS Society of Manitoba, with the goal of raising $100,000 for research, client services, and to help raise awareness of the deadly disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a fatal, rapidly progressing neuromuscular disease. ALS has no cure, and causes progressive paralysis resulting in the inability to move, speak, swallow and breathe, with little impairment to sight, touch, hearing, or smell.
“ALS is a devastating disease, that took Eileen’s father within a few short months of diagnosis,” said Dan Coates. “We wanted to find a way to get involved in the fight, and Catfish Buy the Pound is the result of that effort. We’re enthusiastic catfish anglers, and the channel cat fishery in the Red River is one of the hidden gems of North America. We feel privileged to use our passion for fishing toward a great cause.”
Team Coates has a plan to use the Red River’s dynamite channel cat fishery as a tool to assist those living with ALS. The goal is to catch, weigh, and release 10,000 pounds of catfish during the 2017 fishing season. The money raised will add dollars to the ALS Society budget in the battle against the disease.
Team Coates plans to use time tested fishing techniques to reach their goal. “We plan on being on the water 100 days,” revealed Dan. “Our season starts May and runs through September, weather dependent.”
All 10,000 pounds of fish will be caught by Dan and Eileen. “We will catch everything on pole, line and hook,” added Eileen. “We are only allowed 1 line per angler. To hit our goal of 10,000 pounds we plan to be on the water 2 to 3 times per week.”
“We will begin targeting the largest cats using a bait-and-wait (cut bait and shrimp) approach early on,” offered Dan. “In August, the bite usually moves to frogs and then, in the fall, reverts back to bait-and-wait.”
“Early season and very late season we will be long lining,” explained Eileen. “That method starts with a long cast, leave the reel open and move the boat upstream 150 to 200 yards where we anchor up. We then slowly retrieve the bait over the next 20 minutes or so. The next step is to move, reset, and do the slow retrieve again. This allows us to make about two or three moves per hour.”
The pair will fish from a new Mirrocraft 1771 Aggressor, outfitted with a Suzuki 150 SS for power. The craft was provided for the campaign by the kind folks at Mirrocraft, a company that has been building aluminum boats since 1956, Suzuki and Chudds Marine.
Who’s Supporting Catfish Buy the Pound?
Dan and Eileen have gained quite a few sponsors going into the season. Visit the website at http://catfishbtp.com and click on the Donate tab. You are invited to join cash sponsors, Newans Contracting and Hi-Therm Windows and Doors.
If you are an in-kind sponsor you will be joining Mirrocraft Boats, Suzuki Marine, Chudd’s Powersports and Marine, Lew’s Fishing, Whisker Seeker Tackle, Plano/Frabill, Cat Tales Anchors, Rod Glove, Connect Scale, Transducer Shield and Saver, Power Boating Canada, Pro-Am Tackle, Valley Fashions, FXR Racing, Premier Printing, Instaprint and HomeRun Sports.
Dan and Eileen understand the task they have undertaken and have a will to complete it. “I think our biggest challenge will be staying on fish,” said Dan. “We need at least 25 good days over the summer to hit the 10,000-pound mark.”
“Our day jobs may get in the way of the best fishing days,” continued Dan. “I work full time in sales and marketing and travel almost every month. My wife is a nurse educator at a local hospital. We are not professional fisherman, or guides, or outfitters. I started fishing about 5 years ago and my wife started a couple of years after that.”
We’re proud to be partnered with the ALS Society of Manitoba,” concluded Dan.