Catfish Catching On as Sport Fish
Lincoln - Thanks to In-Fisher- man magazine, the spotlight finally is being trained on catfish and a few peopie who paid their dues during the blackout period are now being sought for advice on how to catch Mr."Whiskers. Gary Schrock of Galesburg, IL. has been a guide on the Mississippi River for 34 years. He caught catfish when catfishing wasn't cool, but now he's the guy wearing shades and snapping his fingers. Catfish are cool these Days.
In-Fisherman magazine brought respectability to catfish when it began publishing the Catfish Guide. the response has been so favorable that ln-Fisherman this fall will begin to publish a quarterlY Catfish Insider Magazine Schrock and other catmen are pleased at the legitimacy afforded them by ln-Fisherman, but they want the popularity to keep soaring.
"ln-Fisherman has been the leader of the industry in bringing catfishing up to the level it is now. Schrock said. "But they are so walleye-bass oriented - and they cover all species - that they could not give catfishing what it deserves."
Catfish deserve a seat at the head of the table because Pound-for- pound they fight better than any walleye or bass, Schrock said. Recognition- of catfish as a sport fish is gaining momentum. but not fast enough to suit Schrock or other dedicated catmen. "For so long," he said, "catfish have been the imost sought-after fish in the nation. But they've been considered a rough fish, not a sport fish like walleye & bass. Nineteen states now have catfish listed as a game fish. Until two Years ago, there were only five." Nebraska has long included catfish in its list of game fish. But that listing is extremely broad and excludes only six species – gar, carp, buffalo, quillback, sucker and gizzard shad.
Schrock began giving seminars on catfishing years ago and says he is reaping huge benefits. "Everybody hears about me being a guide on THE Mississippi River and how it's the catfish river in the United States," Schrock said. "But now I've met People who fish the small rivers throughout the country - the Ohio River the Cumberland River in Tennessee, the Red River in the Dakotas and Canada, the Iowa River, the Red River that borders Texas and Oklahoma. "All those rivers are considerably better catfish fisheries than the one I fish," he said.
"The average fish in those rivers is 3 to l0 pounds larger than what I Pull out of the Mississippi. I get my share of 20-Pound-plus fish, but the chances of pulling a 20-plus fish out of those rivers are five times better than in my river'" Catfish tournaments are becoming more popular, and Schrock, 64, "In a four years period "I've fished 53 tournaments in l1 states, and the worst I've ever finished is filth place." Schrock said his tournament success is a big reason why his stock as a seminar speaker has risen. "That's part of the reason People will listen to me," he said. "l'm in the trenches. I study what I'm doing. I'm always trying to learn. People at my seminars tell me things that I write down and catalog." Schrock's message is that those who drop an anchor and wait for fish to come to them are missing a chance to whack catfish that are in an aggressive mood. "My forte is drift fishing,” he said. “You're covering a lot of water and trying to find aggressive fish fast. If catfishermen who sit on a spot for an hour-and-a-half are out to have a quality conversation with other people in their boat, that's fine. But if they haven't put l0 fish in the boat during that period, they're wasting their time."
So if you want to catch more catfish start drifting, that way you target the the aggressive fish.
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