Why We Catfish

A guest editorial by Paul Blackwell

I grew up in a small farming community, there are farm ponds everywhere. My brother and I would ride our bikes to neighboring farm ponds and fish for whatever would bite.

Our equipment was cheap, old, hand me down fishing rods and sometimes just a stick with string on it. As I got older I started fishing on the banks of Lake Hartwell and eventually bought a cheap boat. It was a 1981 MFG Tri Hull 16-footer with a 35 HP motor. Only $400 and I had a boat. No trolling motor or electronics.

Later I gave in and bought the boat I have now – a 2014 Tracker Deep V 175, I wanted to get into fishing more. At first it was just to pass time. Then, one day I was striper fishing on Lake Hartwell and caught two blues. One was about 15 pounds and the other 18. From that point forward I was hooked on catfish. In a way, I guess I introduced myself to catfishing!

Someone that I follow and look up to in the sport is Mr. Larry Muse. I met Larry at the 2016 Catfish Conference. We have become friends since then. He has given me some tips and showed me some of his techniques. He has also given me advice on tournament fishing, partners and about anything else I asked him. He is considered one of the best there is in Catfishing. If I can get to the competitive level that Larry is, well that’s pretty competitive.

Honestly, Larry has helped me in more ways than just fishing, I think the good Lord above used Larry to talk to me before I ever met or talked with him. When Larry and Steve Douglas did that video on Larry’s dragging rig, Larry said, “When I snell a knot I wrap it seven times. In the bible God said seven is a complete number and I want a complete knot.”

Larry also said, “If you put God in it, it can’t be wrong.” The timing of that video and where I was in my struggle with the good Lord is memorable. The Lord and I was fighting each other at the time. It was not by accident that Larry Muse came into my life.

I take a lot of kids and friends fishing. I take them out and we just have fun. I show them some of my tricks that work for me and tell them about conservation. It is part of why I fish.

I approach my catfishing with a belief that conservation is the single most important thing to the sport of. I abide by a simple statement, and I share it with others. I always say, “Conservation starts with you. If you keep it today, you won’t have it tomorrow.”

I hope to pass my passion for the sport on to my stepdaughter Madison. She loves to be on the water with me. She and I fish together a lot and do a lot of scouting together. She fished 6 tournaments with me in 2016 and had a blast.

Madison and I was fishing a Tournament on Lake Hartwell. It was our first together. The tournament was held at night, and we hadn’t caught a fish by 1 am. I was telling her, “You’re not going to always catch them or win, etc.” In the middle of that conversation a rod bowed over. I grabbed it and knew it was a big fish. We landed a 45-pound flathead. It was my new personal best flathead.

No more than a couple minutes after we put that flattie in the boat, in fact, it was still in the net, another rod bowed over. Madison grabbed the rod. It was another good fish. She was so excited, she kept saying, “It’s a big one.” She reeled it to the boat and I netted it. The fish turned out to be a 38-pound flathead. It became her new personal best fish.

We ended up catching a small 5-pound blue after that to give us our limit. We went to weigh-in with both of us having a new personal best. We won the tournament and also won big fish of the season. That was the first tournament I ever won and the first that Madison and I had fished together. So, we both had our first tournament win, we both caught new personal best flatheads and won big fish of the season. Best of all, we did it together.

Madison is truly excited about fishing. She wants to learn everything about it and has a passion for it. From 2017 forward, Madison will be my exclusive tournament partner. We are sure to make more memories on the water together.

Catfishing is part of me. I love the fact that catfish are the biggest predator in the water. I love the hunt. I love the surprise of what’s going to show up on the water’s surface. I love the relaxation of it. What other sport can you just go, kick back and relax, and still be productive?


Why We Catfish Guest Editorial

This column is provided for reader submitted editorials on Why We Catfish. If you have a short story related to why you catfish, you may submit it for consideration and publication in a future issue of CatfishNow. Send submissions of 500 words or less and one or two photos to Ron Presley at presleyr@bellsouth.net.

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