Why We Catfish: A Guest Editorial by Lisa Gail Haraway

Editor’s Note: Lisa Gail Haraway is a relative newcomer to the sport of catfishing. As of this writing, she has been fishing for two years. Although she was exposed to it only recently, she has developed a true passion for the sport. Her job is important but stressful. As a paramedic, she sees a lot of things that go unseen to the general public. She has discovered fishing as her escape and a way to keep her sanity in balance. And, as luck would have it the Tennessee River, Wilson, and Wheeler Lakes are right there in her backyard.


From bait fishing to tournament fishing, she loves it all.

Lisa enjoys the fight from a big fish like this, but enjoys the experience of being on the water even more.

I’m just a small town 49-year-old country girl from Anderson, Alabama. My name is Lisa Haraway and I’m a paramedic. I have two kids, Sean and Audrey. My husband Terry Haraway has always been the main fisherman in the family.

I never grew up fishing, but watched my husband go fishing for like 16 years while I stayed home. Last year he had a massive heart attack and I decided on that day that there is much more to life than working and cleaning—LOL.

With that thought in mind, I decided to go bait fishing one day with Terry. I’m sure he was thinking, “Oh my, this woman has never fished before.”

Well, needless to say, the minute my hook hit the water and I began bringing in the skipjack faster than my husband was I was hooked! At that moment in time catfishing became a love for me—it became my passion.

So, after bait fishing for a while, I asked Terry, “What do folks do with these skipjacks that we’re catching?

He replied, “They are used to fish for catfish. And many anglers use them to fish tournaments.”

“So why ain’t we tournament fishing,” I asked? Terry’s response reflected his heart of gold.

“I never wanted to fish tournaments due to the money we could use for the family,” he said.

There is nothing more relaxing and stress relieving to Lisa than a beautiful sunrise or sunset over the water.

Well, the kids are grown and its time, I thought. So, I asked Terry when the next tournament was coming up. It turned out to be the HOLD’em HOOK catfish trail event out of Ditto Landing in Huntsville on July 28, 2018.

I signed us up for the tournament and I caught the Big Fish that day. It was a 57.7-pound blue catfish. I haven’t stopped fishing since that great experience. There is nothing better than the feeling of that rod bending when you catch one and the excitement of wondering how many pounds the fish is going to weigh.

Since I started fishing, we have several friends that have joined us. They see our enjoyment of fishing and now they are fishing with us for recreation and also tournament fishing.

My mom now tells me how I remind her of my grandpa Holt. He would rather fish than eat. Mom says she is so proud that his grandkid is keeping his love for fishing alive.

In just a short time I have fished the Mississippi River Monster tournament, the HOLD’em HOOK Catfish Trail, and just recently the Chick Fight tournament on Wheeler Lake. I have also fished several other small trails. Truthfully, I Love the bigger tournaments because I am very competitive right down to my bait fishing.

Lisa is shown here with her second biggest blue. She caught this 52-pounder at the Christmas for Kids event put on each year by the HOLD’em HOOK Catfish Trail.

I will never forget my biggest moment to date. It was catching that 57.7-pound cat. But it needs to be beat this year!

Fishing to me is not just about winning a place at tournaments. It’s about the time spent together fishing with my partner and our friends. And socializing afterward.

My goal is to get my daughter fishing some. She already has her fishing licenses. My son lives in Florida and already loves to fish.

Ninety-nine percent of the time when I am off work I am fishing. I even have a bucket and fishing pole in my Jeep. Many days, when the opportunity presents itself, I will stop and fish off the bank or jump in the boat—it’s the best stress relief out there.

For many years I never knew that catfishing was so relaxing and stress relieving. As I continue to fish, I am wowed by the sunrises and sunsets on the water. I asked Terry why he never mentioned how beautiful the sunrises or sunsets where.

He said that he never stopped to notice them until I started fishing with him. He was all about how many or how big his fish were. I missed all those years of beauty. They are definitely different on the water than on my farm.

When I see the beautiful sunsets and sunrises it just makes me feel like everything around me stops for a moment. They remind me of what a wonderful God we have as they bring peace and calmness over me.

So why do I love catfishing? I love catfishing for the relaxation; the quality time with my husband and friends; the serenity of the views that I experience; and the thrill and excitement of catching big catfish. In the end, I would rather be outside than in the house, any day of the year. I don’t care if I catch a fish or not because I have already accomplished my win just by being on the water.


Tight lines everyone.

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