Inspired by recent reports of catfish on the prowl, Dom Garnett has been trying to catch a late-season moggie on the float. Here, kitty kitty...
Catching a late-season cat
SO often in any fishing season, the trick is to find time for your plans.
The pain of it is not so much the blank days, or the fish you lost at the net, but the ideas that never got off the ground.
Admittedly, catfish have rarely slunk on to my angling agenda, but there’s definitely something about them. The madness is catching on, too. Once, they were about as popular as verrucas – but more of my friends seem to be targeting them of late.
Perhaps it’s the style of fishing that has put me off before. Legering a huge bait and waiting a small eternity isn’t my idea of fun, but when I saw Jack Pells floatfishing for them in Angling Times, this tactic seemed too irresistible not to try.
With a good stock of smaller cats, Angler’s Eldorado in my home county of Devon seemed a cracking option. I say ‘small’, but even a 20 to 30-pounder is outrageously strong. I prayed it would still be mild enough to get a bite or two. Why oh why had I left it so late?
Although it seemed a bit left field, I set up with an old centrepin with 20lb line and a robust float rig. I also brought plenty of ranksmelling groundbait and pellets, along with some Kabanos for the hook – a really potent-tasting Polish sausage that I fancied would be tiddler-proof and ideal for a big meat eater.
Arriving silly early, things looked perfect. I found an unseasonably muggy, misty morning, not to mention a lovely snaggy tree with reasonable depth underneath.
Unfortunately, there is all to often a gap between our daydreams and our actual time on the bank. After a biteless morning, I went for the dam end and positioned the bait further out. It looked less attractive, but perhaps the cats were lying deeper? It was anyone’s guess at this point, and perhaps my lack of experience with the species was showing.
The cats did feed in the end, but not in my swim. Just as I was getting restless, I saw an angler further along the bank with a dangerous bend in his rod.
It was hard not to feel a little jealous, but you couldn’t help but admire the stupendous 38-pounder on the bank. The captor was not Dominic Garnett, but a delighted Dominic Waters. Nor was it a fluke – I’d watched him cast his bait on a sixpence, right by a juicy looking snag, not to mention battling it gamely over several arm-aching minutes.
Try as I might, I couldn’t catch my own. Today the cat was most definitely out.
The daydream is still there, then, but next year I mustn’t wait till summer has passed.
Par for the cats? Not exactly, but I loved the idea of floatfishing.
Dominic Waters was understandably delighted with this moggie.