I was in search of channel cats. We had visions of big fat ugly fish, fish that you wouldnt want to swim with, fish that I sometimes dream about. We wouldnt be disappointed. We fished Clear Lake in Northern California for an overnight adventure. We hit the water about 2pm. This was a beautiful channel cat. Heres my buddy with a decent channel catfish. I was really happy to land this fish as I normally dont target bass at Clear Lake. It was caught in 15 feet of water. Its been some time since I caught a nice largemouth. I was thrilled. Now heres where the story gets fun. Im laying on the floor of the boat, trying to get some shut eye, when one of my rods suddenly goes off. I instantly know its a big fish and I slowly fight it back to the boat. My fishing partner wont wake up and Im stuck with this fish boatside, in the dark. Its like 4am and I can see this beast just under the surface with my headlamp. I just stand there and lead him around for a while as I really want to make sure hes beat before I stick my hand in the water to pull him out. I finally reach down and get my hand in his gill plate and start lifting. He didnt like that and before I could even get the first two feet of his body out of the water he flexed, slipped off my hand, and made a mighty splash back in the water. So here I am again, leading the fish around in circles with my rod as Im trying to figure out my options. I know two things for sure, Im getting a picture of this fish & then Im going to release it. Since I cant wake up Jeremy to net the fish, I know there's no way of easily getting a picture. I know there is no use in taking the fish out of the water, so I lean over the boat and do a close inspection of how well he is hooked. My big circle hook is firmly stuck in the side of his mouth and I knew he wasnt going to come unbuttoned. At that moment, the decision was made. . . . I put the rod back in the rod holder, gave the fish enough line to be a couple of feet under the surface, and laid back down for some rest. A picture was going to have to wait until daylight. Fast forward to 6:30am and Im telling Jeremy about the challenges I had during the night. Dude, I busted off a fish that took off on one of your rods last night Jeremy, I couldnt wake you up man. Also, I accidentally busted one of my poles in the dark last night when I leaned on it. That just plain sux. And oh yeah, Ive got a big fish on that back rod over there. Can you help me net it. NET JOB ACCOMPLISHED! It was a male channel cat, an old pig of a fish, with lots of scars on its body. This fish had incredibly broad shoulders and was amazingly thick. It had big bulging muscles on its head and neck. What an incredible fish. After this pic we slowly slid him back into the water and wished him farewell. Thank you for the good time Mr. Whiskers. You are welcome in my boat any time you want to pay another visit. We were off the water by 9am. Water temps were in the upper 70 degree range. Tight Lines. . .