Original post made by Kevin Neely(Kevin_Neely) on January 29,, 2004 Hi all, I wanted too share some of my experiences chasing big cats(primarily big blues but occasionly when I get real lucky a monster flathead), from the bankside along the Tennessee river, Fort Loudon section. My father, Gary Neely taught me too fish for bass at a young age of three. He has three smallies mounted over seven pounds, and has always been interested in catching big smallmouth bass from watts barr on the Tennessee river and Dale hollow close too Nashville Tennessee. So basically I have been fishing most of my life. Just in the last four years however, I realized that I would catch a whole lot more trophy size cats from the banks, as oppossed too bass. This due to what I saw some of the local old timers catching from the banks from time too time. Plus after you catch a cat over thirty pounds you realize the fight is so much more exciting then say the largest bass you may catch say around eight pounds. In the four years I have been chasing big cats, I have managed too catch countless blue cats in twenties an low thirties. Another five at least over forty, while fifty five being my largest blue, which I landed in friends boat. Most all my cats say around ninety percent have come from bank however. Flatheads however have been less abundant, but I have managed too land around eight solid trophy size flatheads. If you have ever caught a flat in forties or fifties, you know what an incredible drag stripping fight these brown beasts of the deep put up. My biggest flathead was a five footer which I know was close too state record. I did not have scales that night and didn't wanna kill him so we will never know for sure. He was blind in his right eye (solid white),while on same side of head he only had half a whisker. One eye'd one whisker I call him, an some day I hope too catch him again. Anyway, I know it seems like I have had alot of success for a seemingly short period of time, and when people look through my picture books they say "man you must catchem all the time", but that actually isn't the case. I have left the bank more often with no runs than nights I landed a trophy. My success is a combination of three key elements. First off I use the right bait for big cats, that being large pieces of cut shad or bloody shad heads or bluegills, plus I realize cats are oppurtunistics an will eat just about any type of organic material. Heck I caught a twenty pounder last febuary tenth at three in morning on can makerel from store, since it was winter an I couldn't get any good fresh river bait. Key reason number two is based on a four rod spread, fanned out in way that covers area, with drags opened up positioned in rod holders. They may not move for hours with no action, then come alive all at once around three A.M.. This leads me to key element number three, an the most important factor of all. The characteristic that makes me good in my mind which is all sumed up in one word. Patience.... I have been known to sit and wait for a run for over twelve hours, with not even a single peck. This bar none is the key to catching any big fish. When you are postioned on key bank spot say inside of creek just off the main channel, there may not be a cat in a thousand yards of any of my baits, but I know in time one will come swimming down the old cat fish highway. On a boat, if my friends or I have not gotten a hit we move in thirty minutes. We have the option to go find the fish. This just isn't the case from the bank, so I can't put enough importance on patience when it comes too good bank fishing. Oh yes, there is one other key forth element. I am fortunate enought to live in great spot, where I can drive to three choice spots, none no more than three miles from my home. Living close to an incredible catfish river like the Tennessee is real key to my success. If you don't live close to areas that have trophy cat fish, it is gonna be hard to catchem. So in closing, remember to use good bait in great sections of river combined with the right heavy equipment and plenty of patience, and you will all have similar success in time. Remember this, alot of my best action has come at three A.M. in the morning so hang in there if you can. I am lucky in the fact that I work only three nights a week on twelve hour shifts at night, so I have four days off a week and I am use too staying up all night. This factor has probably been the biggest reason I have had success. That and countless hours waiting for that world record run. Goodluck to all you guys on your future trophy pursuits.