How did you get into your catfishing craze? Generally a lot of us started out as fishing for other species prior to getting the catfishing craze. Mines go back years to when I was a child going back from my young age of 36 now. As a child I remember going to elementary school in Compton and being baby sitted by Ellie Mae from Mississippi. Her husband name was John who we called Pie. My parents met them when we live in Compton at the time and they bady sitted my sister and I as well as others from around that age to even picking us up from school in Compton till I graduated from St Timotys. We continued to go to school in Compton until I left 6th grade. Pie was an advid fisherman. Coming from Mississippi he grew up fishing and he been in California for a little while due to the great migration of the south of African Americans to the west coast as well as the north and upper east coast to get better jobs from the booming industries due to the military. He had a foothold in compton at that time. He was a Korean War veteran, and I also believe WWII. He also knew of many places to fish at in Ca. My father at the time was not into fishing but Pie offered to take us fishing and introduce us to the great fun and excitement that was to be had by all. Thanks to this man Pie, I enjoy a sport that I still enjoy today that has giving me many memories since I was 5 years old. Plus introduced so many others to the sport and to share knowledge gained over such a life span I have experienced. Pie passed away in the late 80's, but I will always remember him. Like when I tried to cast my dropper loop rig with my double hook and it caught him when I started to cast. He was a cussing and stuff, it was funny but he still took us out and showed us a good time and more times. I also remember my dad having a big cat on his pole at Irvine Lake. He was too big to put in the net and we had him at the top of the water. Pie reaches over and tries to pull the cat in with the line and the line snapps. LOl We must have had about 14 pound test on it. My dad was mad. But its all in the fun and memory of fishing. Pie took us to many places. Salton Sea, Canals around the IV at that time we knew nothing about it. Perris Lake. Irvine. Skinner. Lake Henshaw and Vail Lake. Elsinore. Many other places as well. Since my dad worked at the naval station in Seal Beach plus was retired Army as well, we had an opportunity to get on the base. So we also fished Lake Oneil at Camp pendleton and even fished at the Naval Weapons station in Seal Beach catching Tom cod, opeleye, buttermouth perch, sand and calico bass, and even the halibut and sometimes sand sharks or small blue sharks. At the lakes mentioned prior we would catch bluegills, crappie, and catfish. I have so many memories fishing the bases in saltwater and fishing the lakes for gill and crappie that we would be so glad to bring home the fish for the fries we use to have at that time.. And we had a lot of them in Carson because house parties was frequent back then and my parents use to throw them a lot - folks was not acting up like they do now at house parties and it was all good back than. Ahh Parliament and Funkadelic, the dazz and Gap band, Lakeside and the Barkays, Confunksion and many other brings back memories at that time for music at the house. Also hanging out at Victoria Park as well as Del Amo park playing football and swimming at the pool at Victoria and Uncle taking me to see Kung Fu movies or Jackie Chan, Bruce lee, the kung Fu connection as well as my hero at that time Jim Kelly. We all use to wear those shoes and practice Kung fu on the front yard in the hood. LOL, But back to fishing. LOl. Getting caught up in old time memories. I owe a lot of gratitude to Pie for setting the foundation. Those Salton Sea trips was epic back in those days catching hundreds of tilapia plus getting some Corvina which was out of site at that time but is now done with. These trips got me hooked. It was fun. My father and I both fell in love with fishing and continued it for years to come buying fishing poles, tackle, watching Roland Martin, Orlando Wison, Bill Dance and a few others. It was something that continued for decades. Even my brother in law got into fishing and we made many trips to Vail Lake and Henshaw slaying the crappie. We also continued pier fishing at the weapons station too. Drugs took my brother in law out of the picture after a while but my father still took me fishing. This fun activity of fishing continues eventhough I slacked off during my teenage years due to other interests and my few years of street running with gangs but I took the interest back up again when I went off to college and returned back to Cali from Georgia on and off from 90-93 and permanently back in 93. My father and I continued to fish even doing some overnight ocean and fishing Irvine, Sarl, and San diego crappie lakes. We never caught anything big but did get some dd size trout and catfish up to 20 pounds plus we joined a catfishing club centered around Irvine, Sarl, and Corona, the superfish club at that time that went on from about 93 to 96. We had a lot of fun competing and learned how to get into some big boys from the members of this club that consistant of many giants in the fishing arena for catfish at the time. After a while my father became ill and he was diagnosed with a brain Tumor. I use to wonder why he would fall asleep easily and lack energy. He passed away in 98, but I still continued fishing even while I was in the Army and going to school for my second degree. I always wished he was there when I caught my big catfish. He would have been proud because that is something we always wanted to do. I singed up to web boards at that time like fishing hotpage in 97 or 98 now FNN. Got into trout fishing big time and use to be the man in trout fishing getting lots of dd size trout. Met a lot of people. Started to venture into catfishing a little more as I was seeing people get 60 - 70 pound cats at Irvine. I wanted to get me one too. Some guys in the old club, Chuck and Eliane and Phi and Tiny gave me some valuable info to help me into getting 40 pound class cats at Irvine. Also meet Catmando around 97 and we both was into trouting at the time but got interested in Catfishing. We both caught the craze at the same time and went fishing together and shared details and secrets. I caught dd size cats up to the 20's but the giant always eluded me for a few years until around 98 when I finally got my first big blue at 46 pounds. I lost countless big blues at Irvine for a few years prior due to breaking line, too tight of drag, breaking pole. etc. I had no idea how to get the big one in until I learned from all of mistakes I made prior to then. My boy gets the state record in 2000 at 89 pounds at Irvine. We are all stoked and happy about that. 4 months later a guy breaks it at San Vicente. We always wanted to fish there because we would hear of guys name Cody, Clint Hicks, and Preston that was always pulling out 40-50 or 60 pound cats from there, but we just never made way there until the 101 pounder was caught. We been on a big cat mission since getting many from 2000 to now but the craze really started with the 89 pounder in the year 2000. We met Cody and Preston around 2001 and they shared secrets at the V with us that helped us out alot. So from those year on to now we have many memories of fishing and pics to share. I joined the BOC aoround the year 2002 and learned even more details to sharpen up my game in catfishing. Meet cool people. Started organizing and doing events around 2004 on and off with Catmando and started really doing them in 2005 on FNN and BOC alike. Started my own informational website in 2005 and started a forum in 2007. Meet Riverbud who introduced me to flatheads as he use to always talk about the river at that time and I always wanted to go but never knew where or how to get them. He took me out in 2006 and I been a fan of flatheads ever since getting big flats and introducing others as well to it. And the rest is history. This is how I got into my catfishing craze I have now. I also fish saltwater too for Tuna and yellowtails since the early 90's but that is a different story aside from what we all love in catfishing. So how did you get your craze? I am sure we all have memories and stories to share describing that. I sort of condensed mines up it could of been pages, but the basis was covered pretty much. So how about you? PS - This is in memory of my father Tom Cummings Jr and Pie. Thanks to you I am what I am today in fishing.