8/12/2014 6:00:00 AM A boating trip to catfish paradise
Don Martin shows off this channel catfish he landed on a crankbait while fishing for bass. The catfish weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces, and is the largest Martin has ever caught on a lure.
DON MARTIN/For the Miner
The last fishing trip of the season brought a new record for channel cats. This group caught well over 100 on a night time trip. From left are Ryan Borden, Tammy Martin, Erin Butler and Dan Butler.
Don Martin For the Miner
KINGMAN - Like all good things in life, fun times always come to an end.
So goes the scheduled fishing trips on Lake Mead that I conduct as part of my fishing guide business known as Striper Hunters.
As a hunting guide, I start scouting and getting ready for the fall seasons in August.
I had one more trip left on the books, and that was a last minute deal with Dan and Erin Butler.
Seems as though some kind of freezer event at the Butler home had caused most of the fish that we had got with the Butlers on an earlier trip to thaw and spoil, and so this last minute trip was set up to replenish the Butlers with fish for the winter.
Going on the trip would be Tammy Martin, my sister-in-law, and my faithful summer intern, Ryan Borden.
The plan was to chase striper boils on Saturday afternoon from around 5 p.m. till dark. Then we would try and fish for catfish using nightcrawlers that my brother Gary had brought up from Kingman.
The trip started off great. As we were leaving the dock at South Cove, a guy was coming in with his family and said that there were lots of stripers boiling in the area of Sandy Point.
We headed straight there and, sure enough, geysers of water were seen as hungry stripers chased schools of fingerling shad around.
We used various shad imitation jerk baits before dark and put about 30 of the voracious predators in the ice chests.
Then it was time for an experiment.
Did the Butlers want to try the new spot for catfish, or did they want to go to another spot where all summer I have been fishing? In that spot we caught stripers, some catfish, and even some huge carp.
"Let's try the new spot," Dan said.
Turned out to be a great decision.
We anchored in just 11 feet of water and baited our hooks with pieces of big squirming nightcrawlers.
Dan started off the fun, catching a nice-size channel cat.
Then it really started. One bite after another for just about everyone in the boat - except Tammy, who seemed to be in a fish-free zone for most of the night.
Erin and Dan were fishing on the same side of the boat and before we ran out of nightcrawlers the next morning, they each caught about 30 cats.
I got about the same number of fish, but my biggest thrill was when I hooked and landed a huge carp that weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces.
Ryan ended up with 16 cats while Tammy caught five.
Oh, we tried frozen shad and anchovies too. Not one bite!
While most of the cats were from one to two pounds in size, we got about 30-plus that we released as being too small. We ended up bringing back 70 eating-size cats to my cleaning station. Our largest weighed 3 pounds, 8 ounces. Our best 10 catfish weighed 21 pounds, 8 ounces while our best 40 cats tipped the scales at 56 pounds, 8 ounces.
But the trip wasn't over!
We tied on the same jerk baits we had used the evening before and started looking for striper boils south of the South Cove launch area.
We didn't find a bunch of boils, but did get into enough that resulted in us putting another 20 stripers in the boat.
The Butlers ended up with plenty of fish for their freezer and Tammy even got a bag of catfish.
The trip turned out great, and now I know about the tremendous cat fishery that is at the upper end of Lake Mead.
If you have a boat, and like catfish, it's a very simple process.
Go to where the river flows into the lake and go on the north side till you find 10-12 feet of water.
Anchor up, use nightcrawlers, and I'll guarantee you will fill up the boat with lots of good eating catfish.
Thanks, Chris and Bonnie Hendricks for sharing the catfish secret with all of us!