New Personal Best Bluecat

Discussion in 'Member Braggin Area' started by EricM, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. EricM

    EricM Active Member

    Harrison TN
    Eric Maurer
    84 pound blue catfish – a new IGFA world 130 lb. line class record!

    On March 18, 2007, a beautiful afternoon on Chickamauga Lake, TN (a reservoir on the Tennessee River), I was fishing alone and bouncing 1-½” to 2 in. “steaks” of cut skipjack down the drop-offs looking for big blue catfish. I was using 130 pound Ande monofilament line and a 3 oz. sinker in good current. This 84 pound monster blue catfish picked up the bait at 38+/- feet on top of the drop-off just as it started to fall into deeper water. I knew it was a monster right from the beginning and fought it for about 45 minutes on a 7’ Shakespeare Ugly Stik medium action rod and a big Okuma casting reel. Because I had been fishing using a controlled drift with the trolling motor, I was able to stay with the fish during some of the most powerful runs I have ever experienced! One boater decided he would rather watch the fight than fish and stayed near me to watch the whole thing. After finally netting it (the net held!) I grabbed a couple of folks who were out fishing nearby and headed for a dock because this fish could set the new IGFA World Line Class record for 130 lb line and it had to be weighed on land on certified scales (which I carry) and witnessed. It was 55 inches long and had a girth of 34.75 inches. Just for reference in the picture, I am 73 inches long and have a girth of 42 inches! It took two of us to hold the scale to weigh it! After we took a few pictures I carried it back into the water and stood with it until it revived enough to swim away. This is a new personal best for me. What a riot!!!!!




    Generally, I use a controlled drift, about 1/2 current speed, to bounce a bait in short slow hops along and down the channel edges wherever there is some sort of change, such as old feeder streams, rocks, old timber or stumps, even sharp points or bends - anything to change the current. Most of my fishing is in 30-55 feet of water, and the more current, the better. I watch my sonar for schools of baitfish and concentrate on those areas. I do not usually see the big cats on the sonar, they get lost in the shadows of the drop-offs, but I know the big fish will be with the structure and baitfish pretty much all year round.

    My favorite baits are, in order: cut skipjack, shad (gizzard and threadfin), and cut bluegill (legal here). I use both fresh and frozen, and don't find much difference in effectiveness. If I am targeting ONLY really big fish, I will use huge chunks of bait such as 1/3 of a 12" or 14" skipjack. Normally I like to use the equivalent of a 1-1/2" or 2" steak cut across the skipjack. I will change to another piece of bait after a while when it begins to look bleached out so that I put more oil and blood scent into the water.

    The area I fish most is relatively snag-free, so I usually use a 7' Ugly Stik casting rod in a medium action with a good reel (for the really smooth drag). I tend to use Ande Tournament mono with a 4' leader of 25 or 30 lb, with a slip sinker on a 10 or 15 lb dropper. I favor 8/0 circle hooks and 5/0 kahle hooks, but adjust the size to the line and bait I'm using. It takes from 30 minutes to 90 minutes to land big fish with this rig and a preset drag of about 25% to 30% of line strength, especially for lighter line tests.

    I hope this information is helpful to you. It is certainly not the only way or even the best way to catch fish, but it is what works well for me on the body of water that I fish.

    I’d like to give a special “thank you” to all of you on the BOC for all of the ideas, tips, and reports that you share so freely with others. Thanks everyone!

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