Hook was a 1/0 Hahke hook, and my bait was some truly stinky chicken liver. When I took the hit, my rod tip just bobbled a bit and line started running out. I had the drag set light, so that's not a surprise. When I picked up the pole and started applying the drag, the line still kept running, until I had the drag nearly tight enough for a big Cobia on the beach.
I now have a really good idea that I have a pretty good sized fish on, since as of this point, my medium heavy rig is seriously bent, and I'm fighting the fish hard. It took me about 40 minutes to work the fish in to the seawall to attempt to land it. Good point: I got to see and identify the fish. Bad point: I didn't have a landing net with me since I biked it to the hole, and didn't expect a fish that big, anyway.
Anyhoo, what I got to the seawall was a BIG flathead catfish, between 40 and 48 inches long. This put the fish in the 35 to 50 pound weight class, and I'm rigged with 30 pound braid and a 30 pound mono leader, so I'm not shocked that the fish snapped the line right at the end.
Now, I would have released this fish anyway. When a Flathead gets that big, they aren't good eating, first and foremost. Also, when they get that big, it means they are a superior fish and desirable breeding stock, so we want to return these monsters alive if possible. If this was a big female, she lays millions of eggs every time she lays, so it helps maintain the stock of superior fish.
The takeaway lessons here are that
1) Always have a landing net.......period. I could have at least gotten a photo trophy if I'd had my landing net.
2) There are some really big cats in the canal, and I think I know where to start looking for them, and I may do some drop line fishing with my heavy rig and 80 pound test running as a freeline and live bait, and a big hook, and see what I can land.
3) When you hook a fish that big, even if you lose it at the very end, it
s still a fun fight, and so what, the fish won today, maybe you will on your next encounter.
|Tom Stormcrowe ©2013, all rights reserved|