Folks in New Orleans are used to high water. While most people would run for the hills, local anglers are taking advantage of the opportunity to catch some huge Mississippi catfish.
The gear isn’t glamorous. Big long poles for longer casts into the swollen river are baited with long slimy strips of calf’s liver. They don’t wear expensive waders or sit in $50,000 bass boats. They sit across the top of the levee on five-gallon buckets. And they don’t fish for sport as much as for the living they’re trying to make. A stringer of catfish can feed a family. But a mess of these monsters will feed the whole neighborhood.
Lately along the Mississippi through New Orleans, a 40-lb cat has been a common sight. In fact, the state record catfish at 93 lbs. was pulled out of the river near Rosedale. Give me that fish and ten pounds of fries and I’ll see you next Spring.
So the crowds who walk the levee to survey the river see these fishermen and fisherwomen dotting the shore. And if you want to pull some big cats out of any river, follow their lead.
Start with a medium action reel strung with 25-40 lb. test line. A medium action rod will do quite well. In muddy water, go for a bait with some stank. If you can stand having an open jar of it on the truck seat next to you, it needs to be stinkier. Plenty of weight on a Carolina rig will get the bait where it needs to be—the bottom.
One big difference you’ll notice with monster cats is that they don’t play with the bait. They strike hard and fast and you’ll know the second you have one on. No dead log fish live down there. Be ready for a fight.
And don’t get greedy. A 40 lb. cat will feed a small army. If you start taking too many, you’ll be wasting some great fish. Or you could just call me and I’ll be over in 10 minutes with my fryer. Either way.
Anyone out there experienced landing one of these monsters? Could it be the one bright side to high water in the neighborhood? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. We love hearing from you guys!