Why We Catfish: A Guest Editorial by Keith Parks
Stinky start with a slimy finish
I have always loved catfishing and learning about these magnificent slimy creatures. I can remember as a child watching a catfishing show on T.V where they were using an old-school cheeses dip bait called “Bills Stink Bait.” I begged my mother to take me to the store to get me a tub of this awesome cheesy, stinky, and greasy glob of greatness.
Mom agreed and took me to the store and then she drove me down to the lake. After getting the stink all over myself, and my mom, I cast out and caught several channel catfish. Well, that’s all it took and I was surely hooked on catfishing.
Times have changed as I learned more and more about catfishing. First, I started using livers, chicken hearts, and dough baits. I was still catching some nice cats, but they were all small and of course, I wanted that BIG catfish on the end of my line.
As I learned more about catfishing, cut bait became my bait of choice. Bait like shad, perch, carp, even drum seems to work wonders for me. As I continued to read about trophy catfish, I upgraded my tackle to heavier rods, stronger line, and larger offset hooks.
I can remember catching my first trophy monster catfish just like it was yesterday. The adrenaline pumping, my knees shaking, and my hands and feet going numb from the excitement.
I can see that same thing happening to my customers when I put them on one of these hard hittin’ cats. I had a customer just two weeks ago fight a big blue for about 15 minutes. The fish just would not come up. I honestly thought the guy was going to pass out from excitement. We landed the beast and the guy came over and gave me a rib-crushing hug and said, “What a rush man.” It was a real moment that told me why I love hunting trophy catfish.
Sometimes we hang two or three at a time and tangle up everything on the boat. Even though it might be a pain to re-rig it’s an awesome experience to sit back for a moment and soak in all that had just happened. Of course, fishing is fishing but when it’s catching that’s what makes it so much of a pay off for all the hard work, time, and expense related to catfishing in general.
The most important thing about catfishing is just letting the week’s worries fade away and enjoying the time with friends and family. No matter if you are on a pond, lake, or river, keep some small ones for the fryer to enjoy when you get home. Finally, practice Catch Photo Release (CPR) on the big ones and feel blessed for your opportunity to catfish.
Fifty-one-year-old Keith Parks has used his passion for catfishing to create a full-time guide service. It is not that unusual to put his clients on hundreds of pounds of catfish in a single day ranging from 35 to 72 pounds. He operates his charter service on Lake Tawakoni, the catfish capital of Texas.
Parks can be reached through his website at www.tawakoni.guide.