The most satisfying thing I have accomplished in my lifetime of hunting has to be the completion of my wild turkey Grand Slam in 2003.
There is another grand slam I have to my credit that I’ve thought little about. In fact, I’ve completed this feat several times, as far as I can recall. This “grand slam”, while not gaining me but a snippet of the acclaim I got from my wild turkey slam, was legitimate and what is significant about that is that I got the series of slams all right here in my home state.
What am I talking about? Catfish. I’ve been successful in landing the four species of catfish that live in Louisiana’s fresh waters – the flathead, blue, channel, and bullhead, and I’ve done it several times over.
If you fish at all within the waters of Louisiana, you have no doubt duplicated my feat; you’ve caught all four species at one time or other and you probably never even thought of the possibility that you gained a measure of notoriety by landing a Louisiana Grand Slam of catfish.
Let’s examine more closely the four species that make up the Bayou State Catfish Grand Slam.
There is no way to pin down the absolutely best spot to catch a flathead catfish in Louisiana because they inhabit practically all of our lakes, rivers and larger streams. These are the fish mostly sought after by anglers bent on a night of “setting out hooks”. A trotline or several limb lines are baited with live bait, such as bream, small bullheads or goldfish, with a return trip the following morning to see what’s there. Finding a 40 pounder on your hook is not at all uncommon.
If you are looking for genuine heavyweights, blue catfish, especially those that inhabit our larger lakes and rivers, can grow to extreme sizes. Ancient records boast of blue catfish weighing in the 250-300 pound range although the Louisiana record, caught in the Mississippi River in 1997, tipped the scales at 105 pounds. Again, no doubt larger specimens have been taken on trotlines and set hooks. Blue catfish can be caught on a variety of baits, from live or cut shad to big crawfish to stink baits containing tainted chicken blood or rancid cheese. Blue cats are the primary target of commercial fishermen but are also sought by recreational anglers.
When it comes to popularity, no catfish approaches the channel cat in popularity. These are the filets and small fiddlers you find on the platter at catfish restaurants all across the state. While these fish are generally pond raised, which controls their diet, wild caught channel catfish are also delicious on the table. Around Louisiana, they are everywhere. Blindfold yourself, take a Louisiana map and jab a finger anywhere on the map and chances are, your digit is resting near a good spot to catch channel cats.
While Louisiana keeps no records on bullheads, the largest ever caught and entered in the
records weighed about 9 pounds and was caught in Michigan. Those we caught as boys on Molido Creek down home weren’t called bullheads; they were “mud cats” to us. Perhaps it was that name that caused us to shy away from them when they ended up on the table. Bullheads live in practically every lake, pond, creek or slow-moving bayou all over the state. They are easy to catch and when cleaned properly and soon after being caught, they can be rather tasty when fried up golden brown.
Completing a wild turkey Grand Slam is quite a feat. A Louisiana Catfish Grand Slam is not so bad itself.
CANEY LAKE – The big bass have really showed out this week with five over 10 pounds reported. Largest two were a 13.21 pounder caught by Dusty Nomey and a 13.1 pound fish caught by Jerry King. Jigs, creature baits, crank baits and soft plastics seem to be working best. Some nice crappie are being caught mostly out from the dam in deep water on shiners or jigs. No report on bream or catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Big news this week involves Shane Hodge, Farmerville, who landed a 3.65 pound white crappie that when certified will likely be the second largest white crappie ever caught in Louisiana.
BLACK BAYOU – Fishing is slow. No report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is on a rise and fishing has been slow this week. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – A good many crappie are being caught and most are still along the edges of the deeper channels. Some nice sized slabs are being caught on shiners or jigs. Bass fishing has been off and on as they are trying to move up as water temperatures warm and then headed back deep when temperatures drop. Bream fishing has not yet kicked off for this year, but catfish are still biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing continues to be best fishing shiners in deep water out from the dam while some have been caught on yo-yos baited with shiners back in the creeks. Also, some are being caught around deep submerged brush on shiners or jigs. Bass fishing has been best with anglers starting shallow and moving deeper until they find the fish. Spinners and lizards are picking up a few. Catfish are biting cold worms. No report on bream or stripers. For latest information, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good on cold worms with mostly frying sized fish caught. Crappie fishing has improved on the north end of the lake on shiners and jigs. No report on bass or bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
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