Catfish Profiles in Passion – John Adams
by Ron Presley
It’s hard to beat flatheads.
At 34 years of age, John Adams rapidly became a recognized player in the sport of catfishing. Like many other passionate catfish anglers his love for the sport began with family.
“My passion for fishing comes from my father, uncles and grandfather,” said Adams. “As far back as I can remember my father took me fishing. I honestly have no memories of my life where fishing was not a part of it.”
The Baytown, Texas resident’s fishing began as a “perch jerker” for his father. The perch were used to catch what he describes as the “ever-elusive flathead.” In his early years the family fished for blues when they wanted food for the dinner table and flatheads when they wanted to catch a trophy fish.
“I grew up fishing Lake Livingston and the lower Trinity River Basin in Texas,” offered Adams. “Lake Livingston is about an hour north of Houston and is in my opinion one of the best lakes in the country for catfishing. Most don’t know this but all of the brood stock for the state of Texas comes from Livingston. It’s a big lake, about 90 thousand acres, and it does not get a ton of fishing pressure. The Trinity River that feeds it is also a great fishery and home to some great catfishing. The Trinity is also well known for its monster alligator gar population and was actually featured on the TV show, River Monsters.”
“I primarily fish the Trinity River and Lake Livingston now, but I also fish Lake Houston, Lake Conroe, and the San Jacinto River. My area is rich with options for places to fish. However, most of 2018 will be spent honing my flathead skills on the Trinity River.”
Adams considers himself a student of the sport, with no particular specialty. He likes to practice every technique as he strives to be a well-rounded catfish angler. Nevertheless, those childhood encounters with trophy flatheads do tend to haunt him.
“I like all species,” confessed Adams. “But nothing gets my blood pumping like the slow chess-like match between me and a flathead as I wait for him to commit and decide he wants to eat my bait.”
“A monster takedown by a blue is fun, but it’s almost automatic and doesn’t always require the same patience or even decision making,” continued Adams. “It’s like BAM—they are there and the fight is on. With a flathead timing is everything. Commit to the reel down too soon and he is back in his home. You are left wondering how big he was for the rest of your life. Commit too late and he is in structure and getting him out is a chore. I just love the entire journey to catching a flathead.”
Tournament fishing for Adams in fun, but more informal. It creates an opportunity for camaraderie that includes competition with a nonstress outcome.
“I do fish some small tournaments,” offered Adams. “More than anything it’s just another excuse to go fishing and hang out with likeminded people. For me it’s all about the competition not the money. I just like to be able to brag a bit with my buddies when I beat them until they beat me the next go around.”
Adams says fishing with kids is a learning process for the teacher too. He believes it is very important that they learn what they are doing to catch the fish.
“As hard as it is sometimes, you have to be patient and teach when you are fishing with kids,” advised Adams. “I have a bad habit of wanting to cast for my kids and do everything involved instead of teaching them how to do it. I often forget that the way I learned to use a bait caster, tie knots, and everything else, was because my father made me do it myself. If I wanted to fish I had to learn. The other important thing is to make sure they are having fun. In the end that is what is most important whether you are a kid or an adult.”
Adam’s philosophy on fishing with kids extends to his stance on catfish conservation and preserving what he enjoys for future generations.
“I believe that nothing is more important than selective harvest and preserving our natural resources for our kids and grandkids to enjoy,” said Adams. “I am the founder of the Texas Trophy Catfishing Association (http://txtca.org/). I spend as much time as I can, educating anglers on the importance of protecting our trophy class fish.
“I was very fortunate to grow up with a father that did not keep trophy fish,” said Adams. “He always stressed the importance of releasing the big fish, especially flatheads.”
His friends likely think of him as passionate about what he does and maybe a little hardheaded at times. But they also describe him as hard working and trustworthy.
“I would just like to be remembered as a good guy that took time to teach others and help grow the sport I love,” responds Adams.
“I just have a lot of respect for the fish and love the sense of accomplishment when I catch one. There’s nothing better than seeing them swim off to grow bigger, knowing that I have the chance of catching them again. Catfishing is in my blood and I honestly can’t imagine my life without catfishing as a part of it. It’s funny, because I live on the coast near waters and species that many dream of chasing and I just have no desire to fish for anything but bait and catfish.”
“As long as my heart is beating I will be chasing ole whiskers,” concluded Adams. “And God willing, there will be plenty of monsters to chase in heaven when that time comes.”
Warrior Cat Rods/Texas Warriors Catfish Classic
When John Adams is not doing catfishing stuff he is working at ExxonMobil in Baytown as a Project Safety Advisor. Other times he works as President of R&D and Sales with Warrior Cat Tackle.
“My long-term goal is to be able to do Warrior Cat Tackle full time as well as become a trophy guide on Lake Livingston and the Trinity River,” revealed Adams. “I organized a catfish tournament for veterans here in Texas last year called the Texas Warriors Catfish Classic. An episode of Gone Fishing Pro will air at the end of March on The Pursuit and Hunt channel describing the tournament and the great veteran cause the tournament supports.”
Warrior Cat Tackle came into being as Adams searched for a rod that met his personal requirements for catfishing.
“I had used a lot of good rods that were on the market,” stated Adams. “But most of the higher end premium rods on the market just didn’t fit my fishing style. I didn’t like the short ,14 inches or less, handles and I felt a lot of them were too stiff. I started playing around with the idea of creating my own rod. Initially it was just as a hobby. I quickly found out that there were a lot of other anglers that weren’t happy with the options they had available. So in a nutshell, that’s where the journey began.”
Needless to say, the journey for Warrior Cat Tackle is far from over. The company has quickly become a producer of quality catfish rods and distributor of catfish gear and accessories. Their success has placed them in a position to strongly support the catfish community through tournaments and other activities.
One catfish related activity was spawned from Adam’s patriotic nature and personal experience with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“My father is a Vietnam veteran who suffered my entire life from PTSD,” offered Adams. “He struggled to sleep through the night and it was obvious he had issues from the war.”
“As I became an adult and many of my friends and family members went to Iraq and Afghanistan it became clear to me that my generation was now suffering from many of the same things that plagued my father’s generation after the Vietnam War,” continued Adams. “So, I felt what better way to help the cause then doing it through the hobby I love the most.”
Given Adam’s love of catfishing and his recognition of a social problem, the Texas Warriors Catfish Classic was born. The inaugural event took place with a simple mission in mind—to raise awareness of the issues faced by veterans when they return home. The goal of the tournament was to raise money and help as many of these heroes as possible.