Ohio river blue catfish

Not having to work on Good Friday, my son, Brady, and I decided to spend the day fishing “for fun”. By “for fun”, I mean not in a tournament.

Although we love fishing tournaments, it can be a refreshing break to just spend the day fishing with no pressure. It was a crisp morning as Brady and I headed to the Ohio with temps in the upper 30’s and a North wind around 10-15 mph. We got to river, caught bait, and began drifting.

Current was between 1-2 mph depending on the stretch of river. We use the trolling motor to slow the drift speed to between .5 and 1.0. We caught several fish in excess of twenty pounds and were having an all-out enjoyable day.

After baiting up with large chunks of skipjack, we started another drift. It wasn’t long into the drift when Brady hooked up with what seemed to be a nice fish. His drag was screaming and he wasn’t making any ground on the fish. I got the rest of the rods in the boat and turned the trolling off so he could fight the fish without fighting the current as we were then free floating down the river. The fish was continuing to peel drag and at one point swam up stream towards the front of the boat.

The fish came back to beside the boat but Brady couldn’t budge him off the bottom. It seemed as though the fish and Brady were at a stalemate. At that time, I decided to get the net. The stalemate felt like it went on for 30 minutes, but I am sure it lasted no more than 2-3.

Finally, Brady was able to gain some ground on him. Although we did not have the pressure of being in a tournament, adrenaline was flowing because we both wanted the chance to see the beast on the business end Brady’s line. I asked him how close the fish was to the surface. He looked at the line counter and replied “10 feet”.

I’m standing at the edge of the boat with net in hand waiting to net the fish. After what seemed like another lifetime, I asked him the depth again, “4 feet”. A few more seconds and the monster surfaced. Wow “what a behemoth”. “Oh my goodness” Brady exclaimed.

I reached down with the oversized net praying he would fit. Amazingly, I managed to get the fish netted on the first attempt. At that time, we knew we had a large fish, exactly how large remained unknown. I wanted to leave the fish in the water as long as possible so as not to harm him.

I had Brady get the 100-pound scale ready so we could weigh him in the net safely and quickly. I tried to lift the fish over the side of the boat to no avail. Brady had to help me hoist it over the gunnel rail. Once the fish was in the floor of the boat, his enormity was obvious.

We hooked the scale to the net and lifted–the scale maxed out. At that time, we thought we might have a fish that topped the century mark. We weighed him again and the same thing happened. However, I noticed that the net was caught on something in the floor of the boat.

We then were able to get a final accurate weight on the monster at 92 pounds. We filled the livewell and headed to the ramp where we met grandmas and grandpas took pictures. It was truly a blessed Good Friday and we can proudly say that we took great care of the fish.

He swam away to grow larger and fight again.

huge catfish