Why The BOC?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Articles' started by Graywolf, Aug 17, 2005.

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  1. Graywolf

    Graywolf New Member

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    State:
    Peru, IL.
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    Why Brotherhood of Catfishermen?

    Written by:
    Gary Setters

    Ah, comes now the Catfish (chiefly freshwater fishes of the suborder Siluroidei).

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    The lowly sometimes cursed and most often misunderstood Catfish. I, not being a biologist or any thing like that, have spent years (March 22, 2005, is 61) searching for Mr. Whiskers, preferably the Channel Cat (Ictalurus punctatus)

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    in rivers and strip pits in south east Kansas and northern Illinois for most of those sixty-one years. No fish is as beautiful as the channel. They are sleek, streamlined and once hooked they defy one to bring them to the boat or bank. No other fish has the fight in them as the Catfish. A Bass the same size as a catfish hasn’t half the fight. The pursuit of the catfish has been my main fishing goal although I love to catch any type of fish, the catfish is king. This is the story of my pursuit of old Mr. Whiskers and why I joined the Brotherhood of Catfishermen (BOC).

    If it weren’t for my brother-in-law Wayne Johnston I would have never learned the fine art of catfishing. From the time I was eight or nine years old. After Wayne married my sister, Juanita, he took me under his wing and taught me about catfishing the Neosho River in Oswego. Up to that point my friends and I fished the Labette Creek in Parsons. That was only about a mile away from home, there is a dam, which sat behind the (now gone) stockyards and no houses around. We not only fished and swam, there was also land with trees and we could camp in the summer and hunt Squirrels and Rabbits in the fall and winter. This was the woods we could roam around in. Of course this was in the 1950’s it had to be great. Also on the creek there was the water works, which had land to the creek where we could be real mountain men. But that is another story. The Labette Creek holds many fond memories of swimming, fishing, hunting and camping for me growing up in Parsons, Kansas. Many Channel Cats were caught there.

    Wayne taught me about wading the riffle in the Neosho River in Oswego with an empty three pound coffee can of toughies (garden worms we dug. They were white and stayed on the hook) and or night crawlers in the bottom of the can and a tub of liver on top of them tied with string around our necks. There was also Lightning Creek and the Strip Pits. The Strip Pits were pits dug for coal by the biggest electric shovel in the world, at the time, “Big Bruits.” Many Catfish and other species came from these waters all through my teenage years.

    After high school, a stint in the Navy, vocational electronics school, marriage, kids and moving to Illinois fishing became a hit and miss deal. I still got to go but not as much as I liked. Most people I knew talked down the Catfish. They even laughed at you for fishing for them. They would even call you “Catfish” and it was in not very enduring terms. There were a couple of us at work that didn’t care what they said. I was fishing the lower dam in the Rock River in Rock Falls, Illinois and having the time of my life. I never caught huge ones but I caught a lot of Channels. At about this time I started looking for magazines and books on catfishing to no avail. Infisherman would have an article on catfishing once a year and only a couple of pages. I finally went to work for the Illinois Department of Corrections and we moved to Ottawa, Illinois. I was on top of the Illinois River; barge traffic and hopefully big catfish. Our oldest son mike bought a sixteen foot extra wide, extra deep John Boat with a twenty-five horse Johnston motor on it. We caught three and four pound channels every time we could go out using night crawlers. Alas, he was married and having kids so he sold the boat and started raising his family. I was still working and I couldn’t find any good info on catfishing.

    Several years later the information age; cyber space hit big time. Then the brave new world of “the internet” exploded. By this time our kids (all six of them) were out of the house, I was disabled, finished with lawyers and all that junk there was June and me left. Now talk about something nice, being retired with just you and your wife around together. That is the best. June doesn’t fish. In fact she is afraid of the water. I wanted to really get into catfishing and I knew she wouldn’t go but she didn’t mind if I went. Her and I have our own computers; networked together and on the internet. I still couldn’t find any good info on catfishing. One day while surfing the “net” I found “Goggle” and did a search for “Catfish.” I got a thousand hits. I thought, “HO! Boy. Here we go.” At the top of the page, the very first listing was “Brotherhood of Catfishermen.” I thought that since that was listed first I would just see what they are all about. I did not have great expectations. After all I had been looking for good catfish information for twenty years. I clicked on the link and up pops the link. I thought, “Oh no a forum.” I had been on a boating forum and it was boring to say the least. I had promised my self I would never get on a forum. I read a few post checking out the site. Then clicked on the “Open an Account” button, I thought I would try the BOC. After all I could always stay away from the place if it was, yuck. I really had no great expiations. Forums were to me as slime on a pond, looks good until you get up close. After opening an account here comes an E-mail from someone called “Scifi” welcoming me to the board and if I had any questions about anything, I could just make a post. I thought yeah, right. I’ve been on these things before and if you need help you might get one response. Usually on forums the people who have been on them a long time don’t take much time with the new guys. I logged on the site and began surfing the areas I couldn’t get to as a guest. I found the BOC was not only run by Paul Lauderback but there are moderators. I found Tony Leston; Darrel Miller; along with James Phillips (Scifi) as moderators. It was like “old home week.” I was greeted as I had just been away for a while and came home. The guys and gals on the board treated me as family. As a matter in fact, they told me I had found family. I found out soon that was true. Any question I had was answered. I was told the only dumb question was one not asked. I soon realized that not only was cat fishing talked about but everything from God (BOC prays for people) to the kitchen sink. Kids and women are safe at BOC as there is no vulgar talk allowed everything is family oriented. That is not to say that you can’t joke with each other and give people a bad time but it is all in fun.

    I joined the BOC in November 2002 which at the time only had something like six-hundred or so members. The BOC started in February 2002 so that almost makes me a “charter member”. I could not believe the fishing experience of the members. They tell you anything they know about old Mr. Whiskers. They would even invite you to go fishing with them at there honey holes. I never heard of such a thing. Usually when you saw a guy with a good fish and ask him where he got it he would say, “On the river” and that was it. I was told to check out the library which contains tons of information and not to forget the state by state threads, so I could find guys living close to me. That did it I was hooked (pun intended) on the “Brotherhood of Catfishing.” I thought I knew a lot about catfishing. After all I had been fishing my whole life. All I needed was some fine tuning on how to do better. Was I wrong, you bet? I found I was a babe in the woods on the fine art of catfishing. By reading the post; asking questions in post; checking the library I found overwhelming information. I had heard of using Blue Gill as bait. In fact I tried using them to no avail. Then I started reading about “cut bait” using Gills; Shad and other bait fish. They even talked about getting your own bait with a cast net. Then there was a new hook called the “Circle hook” everyone started talking about. I guess the circle hook isn’t really new. It has been traced back thousands of years to Indians cutting this type of hook from bone. The brothers were also talking about “Bait Casting Reels.” Now I remember those reels when I was a kid. Standing in the riffle; bait can tied around my neck; line cast out; huge birds nest in the reel; picking that line out and a fish hitting my bait. Nope, I was not interested in a bait caster. Then in 2004 my oldest son, Mike gave me a ten year old Zebco P220 bait caster.

    “They are different now days,” Mike and the guys on the board said.
    I couldn’t just let this reel set around. I WD 40’d it in all its openings (no way was I going to open it up) then practiced casting in the yard.
    At about this time I met Ed Katuz from the board that lives in Ottawa, Illinois, Just five miles from me. We became fast friends and fishing partners. We learned together how to throw our cast net; the use of circle hooks; bait casters and using cut bait. In September 2004 I bought a new Ambassadeur 5601C4 left hand retrieve and in blue.

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    Yup, I came to like the bait caster. I mounted the reel on a new “Ugly Stick” 7 ½ feet MH rod. Using cut bait and circles made my catching go up not only in quantity but in size of fish. In October 2004 I caught my best channel so far, he weighted eight and a half pounds. Look out 2005. I am looking for at least fifteen pounds.

    To really see what the Brotherhood of Catfishermen is all about one must attend a “GATHERING.” My first gathering was “Catstock 2004” at Carlyle, Illinois. A gathering can not be fully explained. A family reunion comes close but a gathering is just different. You get to meet the people behind the faces, behind the post on the board, you get to eat, you get to talk to real friends, you get to eat, you get to play, and you get to eat. At Catstock I molded my first sinkers. Heck, you might even get to fish. The people of the BOC are the greatest. You find that out at a gathering. A gathering is a must go to function. A gathering is an awaking of the BOC, it makes it personal.

    Catstock 2004

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    The BOC also has give-a-ways. Members, sometimes staff donate something to give-a-way and all you need to win is a profile picture posted and tell them to add your name. you have a chance to win reels, tackle all kinds of stuff.

    Did I mention that the “Brotherhood of Catfishermen” helps there members and others. Several members, Darrel Miller just to name one, rebuilds reels and gives them to the Boy Scouts and other kids. This way he introduces them to fishing. There are too many members to mention how they help people in there communities and else where. A couple of years ago our daughter Sandy (35 years old, married and two sons) came down with spinal meningitis. She was air vaced. To Peoria, IL. The fist chance we got to come home from the hospital I got on the BOC and requested prayer for her. It came to a point the doctors said there was nothing more they could do for her. When we got home again I checked the prayer post for her and the responses were enormous. This had only been a few days. After she had been in the hospital seven weeks she came out of it. She is doing fine now, there is slight damage (she limps) but she is fine. She came trough this because not only our church family but my BOC family and all there email friend and other friends were praying for her. We believe that after I posted request prayer for her that with in a few days people from all over the world were praying for her. June and I can not thank all our families for asking the Lord to intervene. We can not praise the Lord enough. There have been other prayer request on the board’ people have lost loved ones; people have lost jobs; people have been burned out; a ramp was even built for a brother who needed a way to get his wheel chair out of the house. Brotherhood of Catfishermen was there in time of need.

    A couple of years ago I was making pickets for a fence for the yard. While I was ripping the pickets I lost my middle, index fingers at the knuckle and damaged the thumb of my left hand. After I came home from the hospital and had a very long talk with my table saw and started using it again. I started fishing again but had a terrible time tying hooks on to the line. As I was surfing the BOC Darrel Miller (Cornhusker) had started a thread called “Gadgets”. There are some very smart people in the Brotherhood of Catfishermen. After I read a few post I realized I needed a gadget to help me tie knots. I made a post saying what had happened to me, they already knew, and the problem I had tying knots. Right off the bat Darrel, Bill Sipes (Rat) and several others started working on the project. Within a few weeks Darrel had come up with a knot tying fixture. He e-mailed me photos of it asking what I thought. A few days later it showed up on my door step.

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  2. Graywolf

    Graywolf New Member

    Messages:
    136
    State:
    Peru, IL.
    Continued from previous post


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    Darrel wanted me to try it out as it was a prototype (he said). I told him I loved it, it was a great help. I happened to mention to him about June’s niece’s husband, Dan, had lost his right hand twenty years ago. A couple of weeks later Darrel sent me two knot tying fixtures, (with a manual on how to use it) one for Dan and one for me. The fixture can be used either on top of our tackle box; table or strapped to either leg. What a great gift. Dan can tie knots with one hand and I have moved my knot tying from to five minuets, or better, to just a minuet or two and this is tying the simplest of knots.


    Why Brotherhood of Catfishermen, you may ask? Why not I say, there is more to this board than catfishing. After all, how may times does one need to hear that a flathead lives in holes under trees; likes live bait and bigger bait = bigger fish. If that were all the board is, it would not have lasted as long as it has. When I joined the BOC there were around 600 members, at the time of this writing (February 2005) there are over 9,000 members. When I first joined the board I asked the same questions as everyone does when they first join. What bait; how do I rig my pole; how do I cut bait etc.? This is how it should be, but after that then you get to know what the board is all about and what is that? Yes it is mainly focused on catfish; this is the common thread of BOC. Then family kicks in and the world opens up to you. If you are looking for fun, family, friends look no further than The Brotherhood of Catfishermen.



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