Catfish fishing specialists Bill & Steve return and bank another massive 98lb beast on live bait.
Choice of 30lbs+ mainline: Dip Chromium Pro in 0.50mm or 70lbs
This week we had the absolute pleasure of welcoming back Bill & Steve aka “The catfish brothers”. These guys are seriously into big cats, so much so that they fish exclusively for them and won’t use any techniques which could result in the accidental capture of a carp. To up the ante further they don’t do nights either. So strictly catfish only, and no night fishing…. these guys don’t do easy!
They really know their stuff and last year banked five cats to 105lbs. The techniques they use are very different to the type of fishing I do and are alien to most of our visitors so I thought I’d run through Bill’s setup with you:
Rods are Daiwa Megaforce boat 2.40m They are not expensive but really powerful. The lads had tested theirs up to 10lbs+ test curve! Reels are heavy American fixed spool sea reels. Technique wise their favourite method is a polyball rig. A strong swimming roach or small carp is suspended from the polyball and actually hair rigged to the hook with braid. The whole rig is anchored to the bottom with a 4oz running lead which can be adjusted to be at the perfect height. Hooks are 6/0 circle hooks for fish safety, hook lengths are Berkeley whiplash 100lbs (18” long) and mainline is Dip Chromium Pro in 0.50mm or 70lbs. This may seem totally over the top for catfish in a still water but it’s not.
Although the brothers take their fishing very seriously, it is secondary to the pleasure of just being at their favourite French venue. The fishing is conducted in a serious but relaxed manner and never begins before a hearty breakfast. Rods are reeled in for a civilised dinner, washed down with a glass or two of some excellent wine. Cat fishing at its finest!
The first take of the session fell to Steve but unfortunately after an epic 20 minute battle his size 1 Eagle Wave snapped (a mighty strong hook and a first for Steve). Steve assured me the drag was correctly set and knowing the level of detail they take in their fishing I’m sure it was. As the days drifted by in haze of flawless blue skies and sun, Bill got a bit trigger happy for the next bite and pulled the hook straight out the mouth of the next take. There is a special way you have to tighten down circle hooks to get them to turn and grab and Bill missed this opportunity which is rare for him. Fortunately he got a 2nd chance and connected with a proper Beausoleil Beast. It was a tense 15 minute battle from point ‘B’ but thanks to the super sized gear, Bill was able to subdue the monster relatively quickly. It was a shame that he narrowly missed the three digit mark by 2lbs but still a massive cat at 98lbs!
An interesting observation Bill made at the end of the session was that the only pickups came to small live baits, rather than the larger ones he tried. There may be nothing in this of course but if you are into live baiting for cat fishing it may be worth experimenting with bait size if takes are proving hard to get.
The never ending bank of high pressures and temperatures of late have made the fishing harder than usual but I’m delighted that Bill was still able to bank the stamp of fish he travels all this way for. It was wonderful to meet them both again and we very much look forward to seeing them again in the future.
Catch report & Feedback from:Bill & Steve
Dates at Beausoleil: 3rd to the 10th Sept 2016
Number of anglers: 2 (days only)