The Flathead Catfish Story! Got one?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by john catfish young, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Share your story here!

    I've told some of this story before....but I felt bored and wanted to tell it again in its entirety. I'll go back to the beginning. Starting with my Grandfather, the real John Catfish Young. He lived on Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin Tennessee for most of his life. He was a commercial fisherman for many years, and some of my first memories of Big Flatheads came from some of the fish he caught. He later became a 100 % rod & reel guy, I guess the labor of the trot-lines and nets became to much for him in his later years. He only had one eye, and the one he did have, he was pronounced legally blind in. But he could still see to ride up the river in pre-dawn light and be at his favorite spot at day break.
    When I first started fishing for Flatheads in the early 80's, Grandpa told me of a spot that they used to catch big Flatheads from. He said that before they built the dam and made Old Hickory Lake, people who still traveled by horse and wagon used to come to this spot and catch 100 Flatheads from the Cumberland river. I was very skeptical...but also very impressionable too. The place has been called The Devils Tea-Table for over a 100 years. All that remains of this place now is a big Rock that sticks out in the water. It is big enough for several people to fish off of. It is surrounded by water on all sides. It is about 40' deep on the river side and is much shallower on the bank side. It sticks out away from the bank a little ways. So One night me and my friend David Goodman...who had a boat decided it would be cool to go out and fish the Devils Tea-Table all night! It was very Dark and kinda "SPOOKY".We tied up the boat to the backside of the rock and fished the river side on top of the "Rock". We were very new to this flathead fishing and we were using chicken livers and a dead bluegill. My friend Dave was getting some good bites on the livers and he just got impatient. He jerked really hard, and said, hey I got something on my line. But it is kinda small whatever it is. Well this is where it gets good!!! As he was reeling this thing in....A very large predator grabbed it and stripped line for a second or two, and my friend bout freaked out. He said oh my Gosh...did you see that. I was holding a lantern so we could see to fish. Big Mistake Boys! Lanterns on top of the water you are fishing for Flatheads is a No-No. As the Thing got closer to the top of the water and we could see what it was...a 12" Hellbender had taken the chicken livers . At this time The Huge Flathead made a go for it at the waters surface...he missed because the thing was just about out of the water. I have never seen such a huge Flathead anywhere in my life. Not even in a picture. This thing had to go over 100lbs easy! He quickly went back down as he glimpsed the glow of the lantern. We quickly lowered the hell bender back down, but the damage was already done. He was gone back down to what ever hole in the rock or crevice he came from. We sat there in amazement at the size of the fish and the size of the swirl and the splash he made at the surface was as big as a car! My guess is that they're still some mighty big Flatheads at this spot. We never fished on top of the rock again, i really dont know why. We did run a few limb lines for a few weeks in the general area and took some smaller Flats. Then as summer ended, we went after them famous Old Hickory Lake Stripers and just never went back to the Devils Tea-Table. If I only knew then ,What I know now.....I would probably never have moved off. I'd still be fishing this rock, chasing after the biggest Flathead My eyes have ever seen. One of these days when I get the opportunity...I'm going back to this spot to even the score. Any of you Tennessee Guys want to go after Flats this spring or summer....give me a shout out and we'll hook up for a couple days of camp and fish! We will need a boat to get to this spot though. This is a true story by the way~!!!!:crazy:

  2. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Louisville, Ken
    Posted it before too , but here you go .

    I will never forget the first Catfish I ever seen;when I was about 9-10yrs old ( 1968-9) we pulled into a gas station, We all got out to see what everybody else was looking at in the back of a Chevy station-wagon, as I walked around and looked into the back,Lo and behold was the biggest catfish I have seen to this day( Alive or Dead ) ,this man had a Catfish tied down by the head ( which was about( 3-3 1/2' wide )to the tailgate. With net imprints still visible in its skin all the way to its tail ,which was flipping up onto the front seat.Bro I couldn't tell you how fat that fish was but it almost covered the back of the wagon, from side to side.. It was well over 120# Probably a world record..Yeah and I know some of you are saying ain't no way. But Bros I'm telling you that thing was huge, I can still remember its big mouth pads as its mouth opened and closed and the 1/4" or so teeth...and the way my stepfather grabbed my hand and stuck it to them..scared me at the time....Thats why I remember I think.

    But 11yrs of bass fishing went bye after that until I was asked to go cat fishing for the first time,bye my brother on the 4th of July.1980 a month before our 21th birthday,And Bros after that day I haven't stopped cat fishing especially chasing the monster cats..We fished hard that day with everybody in the family there.Catching a few small channels, having a pretty good time. The bite slowed down quiet a bit, so I changed baits over to a large dead shiner and slipped the knot up the line until I was about 6-7' and let her rip right off a point into the wind as far as I could get it with the old red 5000(ser# 113096)still have it..LOL..That wind carried that float back to-wards me until it stopped off to the right of the point and just set there for what it seemed to be forever.

    I decided to reel it in, as I was cranking on the reel the line got tight,the float went under and I thought I was hung up for sure, pulling the rod straight back, trying to pull it free.Until I heard a Old-Time/gentleman/Cat fishermen spoke up loudly and said son you ain't hung up look at your line son!!:confused2:.I couldn't believe my own eyes, the line was moving So-o slowly I didn't even notice it, (but he sure did..)That fish hit and layed there on the bottm, off to the right of that point I was fishing at about a 2:30 to 3 o'clock position. What seemed like a 1 1/2+hrs? later,,No kidding! it was over a hour for sure. With my rod still in the shape of a horseshoe, It was moving so slow, Slow like a log dragging the bottom ( and thats what it felt like TOO!! ) It was kicking up a little mud for all to see ever once in awhile, You could'nt even tell if it was moving at all untill the muddy water showed us where he was. :cool2:Everybody was hollering and carrying on when that fish finally made it out straight in front of me, about the 12: o-clock position on the point and stopped about 40' out.That fish started rolling and rolling out there and muddy water came up churning,you could see the movement of the water from the bottom and it got as big as 2 car lengths across.:crazy:I remember my mothers smiles as she watched, as I held my on to this thing.

    It seemed like eternity as it set there and rolled, about 5 minutes the float popped up and Boys I thought I was about to see the biggest fish I would ever catch,couple of minutes went by and the fish still has'nt moved a foot towards me and the unbeleivable happened:angry:swoosh the float hook and sinker came flying by my head so fast,If it would have hit me it would have killed me..:sad2::sad2::sad2:I set down shaking Bros!! a nervous wreck and could not believe what just happened.:sad2::sad2::sad2: mummbling^#*^@*!! And I remember the Older Cat man saying I had that happen to me a couple a times before/something to that effect..

    I've been after that fish for 28yrs now and it still swims in that 20+ acre lake today as far as I know it does. The owner would have told me different.That my Bro is why I fish for catfish,,and So the search goes on and on and on..I'm never going to stop Hunting for the Big Catfish until I'm called home above.. Kenny.
  3. catfish kenny

    catfish kenny New Member

    I stated fishing when I was a wee lass of 7 or 8 hitting farm ponds and the DesMion behind my aunts farm- my first fish wasnt big but it was a cat and I will never ferget my cherry gettin busted I had a zebco 202 with 12lb mono on it ..Good ole crawler on a J hook..I made my cast and as soon as it hit the water it hit me and I have been hooked ever since...We ate what we caught so I will never ferget Mama cookin that bad boy fer me either ....Aint no one in the world could ever cook better then Ma cept Grandme:wink:
    This year I had Dejavoo strike me on "THE WALL!" I have several stories bout that wall I have spent alot of time on it chasing what ever will bite cause I am a lunitic about fishing but I had a very large gill on and I told Lilly if I get hit on this its gonna be big....I did and it was big -I think it was in the 40-50 range Flatt-got it up and saw it but that thing beat me...ran into the corner and was over powering me and snapped me off.... all I could do was say a few chioce cuss words and when I saw the look in the ole ladies eyes we both had to sit down......WOOO WHAT A RUSH!...It would of shattered my PB fer sure....& yup it happens to the best of us
    One other time on that wall I threw out and when my bait hit the water something hit me and bout pulled me over .& in...Scared the hell out of me so when we go there I dont take my boy no more it realey scared me.....It could been a lake sturgeon-blue flatt or??? all I know is it snapped a 100 lb test and give me a diaper change.....I'm Hooked and aint gonna stop till I drop.....One day I am gonna have my catch of a lifetime untill then were practicin and enjoyin the ride :smile2:
  4. fcrnnngbck25

    fcrnnngbck25 New Member

    Lafayette, Indi
    Well it was about 5 years ago now. I was 13-14ish I believe fishing at this lowhead dam. I had casually chased some small channels and bass fished most of my life but this day changed it all. A buddy of mine caught a small stripper and being the smart ass I was I said it was bait. He was like well put it on your rod if its bait. I had this ole cheapo 7' rod with a plastic open-face on it. I decided what the heck so I chucked it on there and threw it out next to the spill over of the damn and the concrete slab corner that it didn't flow over. I sat there for about 20 mins with nothing. I got hung up good on my other rod and was trying to yank it out, when I though my pole was bouncing. I turned and looked sure enough it was my friend messin with my rod. I was agitated and told him to knock it off. I asked him to go check this spot downstream, because some guy pulled in a big ole flatty about 35 lbs or so. Not to long after he left I noticed my rod was bent over. I figured it was him messin with it so I told him to stop. Lone hold he was on top of this hill when I looked back. I knew It was a good one so I grabbed hold of the fish and yanked my brains out. The sucker took off and the first reaction I had was to 1. hold on to dear life and 2. yell to my friend to snag the net. I battled the fish for a good solid 10 mins when he ripped my reel right off the rod. The sucker broke. Plastic peice of crap. I decided he was close enough to pull in by hand. We got him in the net and he had to be a solid 25 lber. I was so proud and excited. We weighted him the next morning and he was 21 lbs. I'm guessing he was bigger before he lost some stress weight. We ended up eating him. Although he lived through the night. He was fun to catch and good to eat but it was the last fish over 10lbs I killed. I hooked ever since.
  5. Jerry60k

    Jerry60k Member

    Chelyan, West V
    Had this happen to me before.Was fishing on the backside of a locks and dam from a boatdock.I baited up my 10 ft surf rod with a live creek chub that probably was 12 inches long (big ole chub).I had recently hurt my back during the winter and I wasnt 100% yet.I gave a mighty cast and boy it sure went singing.I always wait a few seconds for my bait to hit bottom then tightline with my baitclicker on.Well my line was just screaming so I flip my bail closed and next thing I know I am on my knees with tears in my eyes from pain.

    I fought whatever this was for another 20 minutes it was give and take mostly me giving and the fish taking.Finally got spooled 300 yrds of 20 lb mono gone.Now this is an area where flatheads are large and numerous but I am still not sure what I hooked.
  6. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    my personal best flathead came totally by accident.the river was up and roaring so i dug some earth worms and went to a spot where i knew this big eddy was.i baited up a 1/0 hook and tossed it out close to where the flowing water and the eddy met.i caught several small channels and some good red eared bream when all of a sudden my pole just started down slow and easy.i set the hook and 10 min.later i pulled in a 37 1/2 ever spring when the river is up and muddy i head for the same spot just as fast as i can.ive never caught another one that size there but ive caught hundreds of flats from 3 to 15 lbs.there.i can always tell when the flats are going to start biting to because the channels and perch stop.
  7. kenlaw76

    kenlaw76 Well-Known Member

    S.E. Pa.
    Last year while fishing alone. I just got done banking a #15 or so Flathead and my other rod started to click very slow. I had a 14" crappie on it so I figured I wold let him have it a for a bit while I got the other fish back in the water. After putting the other fish back I reached over an engaged my reel and took a few cranks. When I felt the head shake I reared my rod back and I was hooked up with a monster. I fought the fish for about 10 min. and got him within 20' of the bank when it started to roll. I got him about 5' from the bank and the hook pulled. If I had someone there to help land it, it probably would have been my PB.