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Author Topic: Catfish time in WV again  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Catfish time in WV again
« on: September 12, 2018, 10:45:10 PM »
   My son called earlier this week to see if we had enough catfish for his church's annual fish fry later this month. I normally provide them but they have always given me enough notice before this. We checked our household supply and it looked like we were a little short so I went out today and put out about 40-50 limblines (Sometimes called bushhooks or drop lines). I first put 5 minnow baskets out in the creek a couple hours before I planned to go. I think I had about 60 minnows from crappie minnow size up to 6-8 inch chubs (Which is what I really wanted).

 We are worried about all the water coming from Hurricane Florence as our river, The New River, runs north and is fed from rivers in that direction. When I got to the lake there was one truck and trailer there and a couple of people around the bank. The lake level only looked to be up about a foot and not too bad but I did see lots of grass breaking free and limbs and logs starting to float free. I put out lines for a couple hours and used up most of my minnows. Sometimes I'd put 2 minnows on a hook. I hook them through the eye sockets and they seem to live well even with but 6/0 to 10/0 hooks I am using.

 I started over to a shallow rocky area where I catch my bait and used 2 10' long crappie poles with #10 cricket hooks and half inch pieces of worm for bait. One the way i saw 2 lines shaking. One had about a 2 lb Blue catfish that was not legal length (24") so I threw him back. The other was about a 4 lb channel cat. I caught about 50 or so little green sunfish for bait from about 3"-6" long then went back and checked, rebaited as needed and put out 5-6 more lines. I had another channel cat about 3 lbs then it got nearly dark as I headed back. I caught 2 more channel cats about 3 lbs and one 7-8 lbs where I had caught the 4 lb fish earlier. I thought about running them one time after dark but decided I should be able to catch all the fish I need tonight. I came home and cleaned the 4 I had. I guess they weighed 17-18 lbs total and I got about 10-12 lbs of boneless fillets. That plus what I already had would almost feed the multitude but I have high hopes for more in the morning.

 Sampson was with me and did a good job barking at the catfish.


 No earlier pictures but here are the fillets.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2018, 11:19:19 PM »
That's a nice haul for that time frame - sweet spot to fish.  
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2018, 08:59:08 AM »
Sounds like you know what you are doing. Glad Sampson had a good time too.
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Offline samandothers

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2018, 11:13:01 AM »
Sounds like you had a lot of fun and sure beats working!  Good haul and I look forward to hearing about todays haul.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2018, 03:58:12 PM »
   I went down about daylight. Stopped and filled up my spare fuel tank. I run 2- 6 gallon tanks. When one runs dry I add a pint of 2 cycle oil and 6 gallons of gas to make a 50:1 mix. Keeps it easy.

   Launched the boat then Sampson I took off full speed to try to drain the water that came in when I forgot to put the stern plug in. Of course, I have "never" done that before. At least this time I caught it early. 

   I caught 9 fish and took up the lines at the same time. Last one was a 10 lb channel which was biggest of the day. He soaked me getting him to the net. If you watch an inexperienced catfisherman they chase the fish with the landing net trying to scoop him up. If you know what you are doing put the net down deep then lead him into it then lift him in. Total weight was 38 lbs. Most were 3-4 lb channel cats. One 7 lb flathead. usually it is 50:50 channel to flathead.  Sampson was hoarse from barking at them by the time we were done. I love to watch him bark and snap at them.

   Loaded up and found a near flat trailer tire so stopped and disconnected the boat and aired up the tire with my little $10 compressor I keep in each vehicle. Stopped at the shop on the way home but they could not find any leak. I got home and cleaned fish till noon. Filleted them all. For ones over about 4 lbs I also save the steaks/cheeks off the heads. Makes a nice little fillet or large nugget and no reason to waste it. Total yield was about 55 lbs of fish or probably 40 lbs of fillets which is a 5 gallon bucket of boneless fillets full to the gills. That is plenty for the church's fish fry so even though it was a mediocre catch IMHO it was a mission accomplished. Usually I'd have caught a 20+ lb fish or two and about a 6 lb average. For those planning a fish fry I always use the ratio of 30-33 lbs of fillets to feed 100 people. This was still about 1 fish per every 5 hooks and without running them at night. Nearly all baits had been knocked off so either small fish got the bait or fish got off overnight. Running the lines at night during peak feeding would have increased the yield. With the fixings (Grits, Baked Beans, Hush puppies, Cole Slaw, dessert and such) that is a big plenty with enough to take a few plates home to the shut-ins and for lunch the next day.

   I have the trailer backed down a steep slope where it will drain good and will wash it all out good before I put it up.


 Getting ready to launch. 18' Johnboat, 25 hp Johnson, Foot controlled trolling motor on front. I tie a long anchor rope to the winch stand then disconnect all straps and hooks and back in and float it off the trailer. Note slack tire showing here.


 Comfortable but cluttered. I removed all poles and such today as they get in the way when putting out or taking in lines.


 Fish on the line. I often tie to a pencil sized green, limber limb and they can really put up a show especially fresh caught channel cats. A very big flathead will often just be laying there with a tight line or moving in slow circles.


 My typical bushhook. About 10' of #21 nylon cord, a 6/0 to 10/0 circle hook and a half ounce sinker tied about 6-10 inches above the hook. Flagging with name to comply with WV regs. Loop in the end to slip next hook in and wind up on a board for storage till the next trip. I tie them out with a quick release knot and adjust the height based on depth of the water and height of the limb above. Often my sinker is not 6" under water so pretty much fishing on the surface near the bank or shallow water. I always try to tie one close to a big log or tree in the water as guaranteed there is a big one or two resting there.


 My big blue buddy waiting on my trailer at the landing for me to get back.


 Total catch for the day. Biggest of 10 lb channel. One flathead is 7 lb. All weighed 38 lb total.


 Two big pans full of fillets waiting for a fish fry.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline barbender

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2018, 04:14:26 PM »
Nice work! I hear you on the landing net, I always tell others that are running the net to just stick it on the water and lead the fish into it. Some fish, especially northern pike, save one last explosive run and if you go jabbing a net at them they'll take off and break the line. Up here, we save walleye cheeks when the fish are big enough. They are a true delicacy👍
Too many irons in the fire

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2018, 10:07:15 PM »
    Catfish, and I suspect, most fish are like that when netted. I guess we'd be the same way if we saw our life and freedom ending. It is a pain sometimes to untangle the line, hook and lead from out of the net but I find it is less of a pain than watching the fish flop off the line back into the river or lake.

   Lots of people use a swivel on their bushooks or trotline leads and they do save some fish. A channel cat will often twist so much they work the hook out of their mouth. I really think that is mostly the smaller fish and the bigger ones don't twist as much.

  I just changed to circle hooks a couple season ago and they have made a big difference in my catch rates. Another real plus is they generally hook the fish in the mouth instead of them swallowing the hook which really makes it hard to get them off the line.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WDH

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2018, 08:14:32 AM »
Now I am going to have to go out and get some catfish to fry :).
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2018, 10:01:08 AM »
Danny,

    I know where you can get a good mess. Come on up and we'll feed you.

    Last year my son had a young friend from church who wanted to learn how to set bushhooks so I told him tell him to meet me at the landing the next morning, a Saturday, as I was taking up some lines and he could see the technique. Usually I'd put out lines on Monday and take them up Thursday or Friday so they did not annoy weekend fishermen who could not fish during the week like I could. I'd left these out an extra day so I could show the guy how to place them. We landed a fish on the first line or two then 2-3 lines further we had about a 5 lb fish on it. He took the fish off but was holding it in his hand as he was talking and untying the line with the fish over the lake. Yep, it gave a good flop and back in the lake. The guy had a real sick look on his face and looked back at me then I told him "We're not practicing Catch and Release here. We're going to eat those fish." I told him first secure the fish in the boat then worry about the line. I think we had about a 20 lb fish a couple hooks ahead on a real small limb and he was really raring and the guy was really impressed as was biggest he ever been along when caught. I think he took all the fish home with him including the big one, but one or two I saved for an old neighbor.

   I hang anything over a couple pounds on my deer skinning rack to skin as it is much easier to pull the hides straight down. It is hard to pull the skin off a big fish laying flat on a counter. I have an old cast iron sink hooked to the back side of my skinning rack and it makes a great place to clean and process fish and game. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2018, 10:27:06 AM »
    Well, my wife cut up the fillets into smaller pieces suitable for cooking last night while I rewound and organized my lines into three rolls based on hook size. We ended up with 6 gallon and 2 quart freezer bags full. She probably did not pack them too tight.

  We'll send them over to Lick Creek Baptist Church in Green Sulfur Springs WV for their fish fry a week from today. Those guys really put on a feed. They have chicken for the kids and the last couple of times they had oysters and even snow crab legs so its pretty hard for someone to say they can't find something they like. We will likely take a big pot of cheese grits since they are in short supply up here and most WV natives aren't cultured enough to eat them regularly. When we have our home fish fries of a retired teachers bunch lots of them will eat 3-4 helpings of them.


 A typical roll of biushooks. I usually keep about 30-50 lines on a board with each one connected to the next to make a reasonably neat package.


 My old fish and game cleaning station. Drains to the creek behind me in the picture. Old bucket for heads and guts. Water hose is about 25' away.


 
Back side is my skinning rack which works great for skinning deer or big catfish. Old 2X10 on the back side makes a great shelf to put pans and knives and such on when working. In far back is a big flat rock made into a picnic table where we have our family cook outs and fish fries for parties. We've had a lot of real good times there.

   Looking at the skinning rack and fish cleaning sink I may have to think about adding a roof over it for shade and in case it is raining. I know where I can get plenty of wood real cheap.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline samandothers

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2018, 11:51:47 AM »


  Looking at the skinning rack and fish cleaning sink I may have to think about adding a roof over it for shade and in case it is raining. I know where I can get plenty of wood real cheap.
I bet you do!  :D
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2018, 12:05:35 PM »
Sam,

   Yeah, married life will do that to you. I hope you aren't in a low area. Looks like you guys are going to have lots of local flooding. Hopefully the wind won't take down limbs and trees. We checked with our daughter down there and she seems to be doing okay. Her house and area are pretty high and dry but I bet the low spot behind the school in front of her house where she takes our grandson and their dog to walk and play gets flooded. We will be coming down Tuesday to pick up an AZ friend who is arriving on Wednesday for a couple weeks with us. Looks like the weather should be about over by then from our local weather reports. 

   She is a bird watcher so hopefully we can take her out on the lake and she can watch and photograph the eagles, herons, ospreys and such we generally see up there. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2018, 01:09:23 PM »
Now I know where to go to get some food.  ;D  I will keep my distance from the grits. Not the first time I had to do that.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2018, 02:15:39 PM »
    Well, come on down. You probably won't be the only one not eating the grits which is good or there would not be enough for the highly cultured among us. :D
I bet there will be some French Fries or Tater tots or something there for a side dish so you won't have to go away hungry.

    We've got fish thawing now from last year for dinner. Want to make sure they are still good and may use them all up while we are at it. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline samandothers

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2018, 03:29:10 PM »
WV, If she needs something let me know.  Wind and rain appear to be the highest starting at 2 pm ish today until tomorrow morning.
Travel safe Tuesday, we will be heading to Winston.

Heard from my brother who lives in Sea Trails at Sunset Beach NC. They lost power yesterday around 4pm.  He was riding around this am looking for a place with a cup of coffee!  ;D

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2018, 03:37:18 PM »
Sam,

   Thanks for the offer. We talked to her a couple hours ago and they were doing fine. Had not lost power though some in the city apparently had. Have a safe drive and a good visit up in W-S.

   Now to settle down and watch AU and LSU. I know the Tigers are going to win. Of course I'm hoping it is the AU tigers.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2018, 06:02:16 PM »
Sometimes the side dish will take up valuable room on the plate for the real food. ;D  Meat,the other food group.
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2018, 10:57:13 PM »
WV -

Are those hand hewn logs making up the wall of the building behind and to the right of the cleaning sink?
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2018, 12:08:42 AM »
   Yes they are. When I moved here we had a big 2 story hand hewn log barn/shed in front of the house. Dirt and leaves had washed in and the bottom logs rotted out and the building collapsed. My son was about 15-16 and I was working overseas so he and his buddy dismantled it and took the usable logs and rebuilt it on the current lot which we bought 4-5 years after we moved up here and rebuilt it as a sing story barn. They did a very respectable job for a couple of teenagers IMHO. They put a 5 ridge tin roof back on it so they had to do a good job getting it square and plumb for the roof to fit as well as it does.  They poured a concrete floor and he tried chinking between the logs with cement and he put foil insulation in the roof. He had a friend of our wire it so I have power and lights in there. I use it for a tool shed and in wet or below freezing conditions during the winter I have hung deer in there to keep them dry and from freezing. I could keep a couple of lights on in there and it would stay just above freezing. I will try to take some more pictures of it and add tomorrow if the weather permits.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2018, 08:10:02 AM »
WV, I enjoyed reading your catfish tutorial.  We used to fish for them in the spring in a river not too far from here - the Withlacoochee.  We would use cut up mullet or cut up shiners for bait, both are oily fish.  The channel cats we would typically catch would be small and we would stop when we had a bucket full or the mosquitoes would convince us it was quitting time.  In stead of filleting the small ones, we would peel the skin off, fry them whole and would leave the table with a pile of bones stacked up on a pan. 

I was wondering if you used circle hooks and saw in your posts that you do.  Several years ago we started using dehookers when fishing in saltwater.  I was skeptical about their effectiveness at first but they are the ticket for removing deeply hooked fish with little harm to the fish, removing hooks from toothy or poisonous spined fish, or just removing hooks from fish without touching the fish.  I make the dehookers out of stainless steel and in a variety of sizes based on the targeted species.  The ones we use and make are like the ARC dehookers with the circle end.

That skinning station and the old building are nice, almost like a historical park.  I am glad that you appreciate the craftsmanship of the old structures.  It is amazing how fast they will deteriorate when the roofing is compromised.  There are not a lot of the old buildings around here anymore.  I look forward to more of your catfish posts.
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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2018, 08:33:01 AM »
I'm hoping it is the AU tigers.
I thought that they was Plainsmen?  Or War Eagles?  Oh, so confusing.  Maybe it is just a bunch of split personalities :D
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2018, 11:01:17 AM »
Danny,

Yes, we are a multi-purpose team. We are the Plainsmen (Auburn has been referred to as "The Lovliest Village on The Plains"), the Tigers and War Eagles. I think the reason we picked a war eagle as a mascot is they are a lot cheaper, safer and easier to maintain than a live Tiger. Also the world-wide tree huggers and such do not complain as much about someone maintaining a rescued eagle instead of an adult Asian Tiger.

What we are not right now is the 2018 winner of the Tiger Bowl. i think we got careless and LSU got lucky/capitalized on our mistakes and definitely played out the clock well in the 4th quarter to beat us with a last second field goal. Well done LSU (I can't believe I just said that!).

Cavey,

We mostly fished for catfish on the Suannee where Dad was raised. When I got older I fished with my mentor on the Escambia River where I grew up. We mostly used Camay soap. Ivory was okay but was more brittle and harder to cut. (Don't try softening it in a microwave - don't ask how I know.) When we used mullet we'd catch too many gars, eels mudfish and turtles while soap only caught channel or blue cats. Also it was easier to keep bait in a sealed coffee can than having to cut fresh each time. We never heard of flatheads when I was growing up but I hear they are plentiful there now. Fla would not let us use live bait so maybe that is why we did not catch more of them. Post a dehooker picture if you can so I can see what they look like. I have one I used to use on deeply hooked catfish. It has a handle you pull to close the small jaws on the other end. An old style folding fish knife with a blade and a separate scaler works well on small fish. The scaler has a small notch you can slip into the circle of the hook, push down and free the hook. I sometimes use that to free my baitfish and use it all the time when using a cork popping bug on a fly line. I spent a week fishing with my old mentor down on the Apalachicola River one summer in my teens but we picked a pretty poor time to go and did not catch much.

**Add-on*** We never filleted catfish when I was a kid either. Small ones with bone in are not a big problem. Dad used to freeze catfsih over about 4 lbs and up and take them to our local butcher and he'd cut them crossways on his meat cutting band saw making bone in steaks. The backbone and ribs just popped right out when we cooked them. Since I moved here and was catching some much bigger fish I started filleting them and realized even a 1 lb catfish is not that hard to fillet so now I fillet them all. If I caught a half-one lb catfish here I'd probably put him back on the line for bait. In fact, I'd love to have a bunch of half lb channel cats for bait.

  When I was in Jacksonville NC (Currently under water from Florence) I'd put my canoe in the headwaters of the local river and fish bushhooks in the backwater with cut bait. First night was mullet. After that i cut up the gars and mudfish I caught for bait and put them back on. I fished till filled the freeaer then quit. Wife borrowed freezer space so I put out more lines and repeated. Once the water went down they quit biting. I sometimes had to get out of my canoe to take up my line which were hanging high and dry.

Southside,

Here is the rebuilt log barn. It was 2 story but this is what survived and was rebuilt.


 I should cut that little redbud but my wife and oldest graddaughter like the purple flowers so I mow around it. Sampson marks it as his property.


 Another redbud on the front. Front is a little low so you better duck. I recently scraped to divert anticipated flood water. The drain behind me stops up and the water overflows the county road and if I don't catch it will get a couple inches deep inside.


 Other side. Buckets of melted tire weights for muzzleloader balls or fishing weights. Black hose on right is conduit for the power inlet.


 Back side. i should straighten or remove the stove pipe. Son scrounged an old wood heater and hooked it up but a neighbor's heater died and they removed it and took for her to use during a hard winter and we never replaced it. It is more useful where it was moved. The big pot on the wall is like a wok. It hold about 7 gallons. I bought it in Saudi where they use them to make Falfels and such. I have heat water to dip turkeys to remove feather, boiled hot water to wash dishes during power outages (Before I installed a whole house standby generator), and we've made big batches of chili for functions. Rabbit box for squirrels and chipmunks on the left over an old drain hose.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WDH

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2018, 07:27:29 PM »
That rabbit box really brings back some old memories.  How many kids these days know about a rabbit box?
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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2018, 08:00:34 PM »
   I made one in Saudi to catch feral cats that were tearing up my roommates flowers. He was big into gardening and ran the waste treatment plant so would bring dried sludge for fertilizer. He had some nice plants.

  I'd use sardines for bait, had a heavy burlap bag I'd put in front of the trap and the cat would jump into it. I'd tie it shut and stop at a dumpster site on the way to work and release the cat. One morning I'd caught a real big ugly tom cat, bagged him and re-set my trap. I turned around and my bag was flat and no cat to be seen. I thought my knot had come loose but when I looked it looked like someone had sliced that bag wide open with a razor blade.

  I found I could not get squirrels to go in till I removed the solid end board and replaced it with heavy wire. Then they would go right in.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2018, 09:05:18 PM »
This is similar to the ones I make/use.  To use, you hold the line  above the hooked fish, slide the dehooker's loop over the line and pull your hands apart. The fish falls off.  It does a good job on gut hooked fish too.  For those cold days or spiny/toothy species this device will make the trip more harmonious.  For many years, we have used Black and Decker electric knives to fillet most fish that we catch.  They do a good job on everything from speckled perch to good sized grouper.

On a side note.  When we used to gig Nile perch (tilapia), we would take a plastic drum and cut a 1"x6" notch in the top of the drum.  The gig with a fish on it would be pulled backwards through the notch and the fish would be removed into the iced drum.  

We have a short day (hopefully) at work tomorrow and one of my best friends, who I work with, are going to go bass fishing in Hydrilla Lake.  It is an old phosphate pit located in Tenoroc Wildlife Management Area.  
Caveman

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2018, 09:37:06 PM »
Cavey,

 Thanks for the diagram. Looks like that should sure help get a hook out. I may try making me a small one of those to unhook my baitfish and help keep them alive. I get very few gut hooked catfish now since I started using circle hooks.

  BTW - a Nile Perch and a Tilapia are very different fish. Tilapia remind me of a bluegill and are very good eating. In Africa we got lots of Nile Perch too and the French name was usually El Capitaine when you saw it on the menu if I remember correctly. Nile perch can be very large fish and are lots longer and more like a sea trout or striped bass or such.

    Good luck in Hydrilla Lake tomorrow. Send pictures.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline caveman

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2018, 05:52:22 AM »
Locally, a lot of folks erroneously refer to Talapia as Nile perch.  As a young boy, while visiting my maternal grandparents in Mulberry, we would snatch hook them using surf rods.  As a teenager, we found that they would eat floated pieces of bread, especially around residential docks where the residents fed fish.  These things pull like five pound shell crackers when they are hooked on 6lb test line on an ultralight reel.

Anyway, back to catfishing.  Thank you for sharing the tip about using soap as bait.  With all of the times I had my mouth washed out with soap as a child, I just never expected it to be an effective bait.  
Caveman

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2018, 09:29:43 AM »
   The best fish I believe I ever ate was in February 2008. It was some Tilapia cooked outside on an old tire wheel with local made charcoal with a heavy piece of wire for a grill. Was in a little fishing village next to a power dam lake in Cameroon in West Africa. The lady cooking and selling them had scaled and gutted the fish but left the heads on. She scored each 3 times with a sharp knife on each side to let the steam out and rubbed them with locally made peanut oil and a seasoning called Maggi cubes. They cost about $.25 each and she served them to us on a piece of old used cement sack. We sat on a raised concrete sidewalk till a storekeeper running the local pharmacy ran out with a little 3 legged stool for my wife. Becky spotted a local vendor selling fresh tomatoes so I went over and bought her several and she munched on them as her side dish.

 I saw local fishermen in Ethiopia catching them with cast nets. They were usually floating around on little Papyrus rushes rafts throwing to likely spots. One guy had what looked like a raft made from kids old styrofoam surf board and a truck inner tube with his feet dangling in the water. The lake was full of crocodiles and I always wonder how many did not come home. He'd throw his net, take the fish up and bite them hard in the head to kill  them then he'd put them in an old nylon feed or rice sack.

  I guess the catfish smell the oil in the soap. The soap will swell 4-5 times its original size and get real soft. Dad liked it because all he caught was catfish. I think old Octagon soap was the start. I don't even think they make Camay which was nearly all we used. It cut better than Ivory. A big bath sized bar made 45 baits. It did not matter what color it was as all bleached out. You wanted to buy it from a big grocery or department store who sold a lot so what you got was fresh. Dad made a soap cutter out of an old U-bolt and guitar string kind of like a cheese cutter to slice through it.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline samandothers

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2018, 09:49:53 AM »
Might be a bit challenging to be in the New River right now.

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2018, 11:00:30 AM »
   Yeah and the local flooding will fill the Greenbrier and the water from NC coming down will fill it above the dam. The New and Bluestone run together above the Bluestone Dam (COE type dam) then the Greenbrier joins the New about a quarter mile below the dam. The typically shut the gates to let the Greenbrier flow then, ideally, by the time the Greenbrier starts to ebb they can open the gates so they don't get water from all three at the same time.

  I know I am glad I got my lines out and recovered before all this got so we have plenty of fish for Saturday.

  Earlier you mentioned cooking the catfish whole. We were so used to eating 4" bream and getting a small pinch of meat off each side that if we had a 1/4 lb catfish he was easy to eat. In fact my mom and grandma would fry them real brown and eat bones and tails and all. I remember catching them on a small river out of a canoe between Beaufort SC and Savannah Ga when I was at Parris Island. We catch 100 or so on a pole with raw shrimp and nothing over 1/3 lb I'd guess. They were a pain to remove as small one always have sharper spines and easier to get hurt on a little one than a big one. They were very good eating though.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2018, 08:58:56 PM »
We left work early (teacher work day and we have worked about 15 days straight).  Jimmy, a long time friend and coworker was catching good fish flipping a blue crawdad.  I was enjoying the trip.  He nailed two that were in the 4-5lb range.  I caught a 2 1/2lb flipping.  Did I mention that it was hot?  The low last night was 85F and today it was in the mid 90's. 

 

 We got to the pit around 1:45 p.m. and fished until around 5 p.m. ( I had a call about a lame show hog and another with a rectal prolapse-day in the life of an ag teacher).  Jimmy caught a huge softshell turtle while flipping a crawdad.  Initially he thought he had a bass of a lifetime.  He has caught bass over 12 lbs. fishing with me.  This turtle probably weighed over 35lbs.  We let it go.  They taste good but are a pain to clean.

I caught a couple of fish on a chatter bait.  One was in open water and the other came right at the boat ramp as we were about to take the boat out.  I have caught a lot of good fish at the ramps over the years.  The holes made from folks power loading their boats seem to hold fish.  Jimmy took a couple of pics of some of the bass.  My phone is full and will not hold any without me deleting some.  Jimmy is in blue.  These were actually pretty good fish but the pics do not do them justice.  The five best ones we landed today would have been in excess of 20 lbs.
Caveman

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2018, 09:17:57 PM »
Good job and nice break from the work!

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2018, 09:20:57 PM »
Cavey,

   Looks like you guys had a good time. Glad to see it.

   I am drooling about that softshell turtle though. The last one I cleaned was many years ago and it was a piece of cake. I stuck my knife in the notch on the underside of the shell near his tail and wiggled a little from side to side till I hit the seam and it opened up like sliding a zipper then I just cut the meat out from the inside. We'd fry them like chicken. I keep kicking myself for all the ones I threw back as a kid but my mom did not know how to cook them.

   Mostly I fished for alligator snappers. They are a lot harder to clean but there is a lot of meat on one. 

    I usually keep a bass rod in the boat but rarely use it. Many years ago I decided bass fishing was getting to be like work so I went to ultra-light. A half lb bluegill on an ultralight rig fights like a 5 lb bass on medium tackle and there are a lot more half lb bluegills out there than 5 lb bass. If I had bass fishing like it looks like you guys have I might have to rethink that.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2018, 09:31:20 PM »
Really enjoying the posts WV.  Good stuff and Thanks!
Liking Walnut

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2018, 04:39:42 PM »
That is getting it done.
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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2018, 09:18:19 PM »
Your son did a really nice job on that building.  There were numerous buildings like your old barn on our place before we bought we bought it, I have seen a couple of photos and found some of the buried evidence.  But the place was empty for a while, went through a bankruptcy, and then a squatter, sold, re-sold, so the buildings one by one were dismantled, bulldozed, or just burnt.  I have a couple of roofs that were pushed off of the buildings just sitting along the edge of fields.  They actually make decent cow shelters so I have left them there for now.  The worst part was a year or so back I found out that several of the old buildings were filled to the rafters with circular sawn walnut lumber, been in there for decades, thousands upon thousands of feet of it.   >:(
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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2018, 10:17:43 PM »
 Southside,

  Thanks. Yeah, I am real proud of them and it makes a great tool shed. It is pretty well insulated so for several years I have used it to hang deer in the winter when it is below freezing so the meat can still be cut up.  I can leave a light or two burning in there and it knocks the chill off enough it won't freeze.

   Let us know how all that black walnut you found turns out for you. Sure sounds exciting and I know you were thrilled to find it.

   We went back on the lake yesterday to take our Tuscon AZ house guest out to see and photograph the birds and such (She is a birder - I tell her a bird brain). First thing I found was my trailer tire was flat again but at least I was at home with a handy jack and electric impact wrench so not a big job to change. Left at local service station and picked it up today - had got dirt and grit in the seal and they just cleaned and re-sealed it and seems to be holding air.

    First thing we spotted on the lake was the level had been up about 10' from Florence and other recent weather systems. Lots of floating grass hung up in the bushes that high and such. The flooding did help remove a lot of that. The lake is still up but was sure a lot higher.

   We spotted several adult bald eagles. One let us get within 15 yards to photograph. We left it on its perch. Lots of blue herons and we watched them catching fish. Several kingfishers, a couple of osprey, one young this years's eagle, lots of little green herons, and even an otter swimming the river. Coming from the desert Evelyn had a real good time and looks like we will take her out again before she has to return to Tuscon next week.  Saturday and Sunday look real good as to the weather reports.

   I did run along a rock wall on the Bluestone River just above where it merges with the New to make the lake. I saw a lot more green bushes along the bank than I thought were there and the next time I go catfishing I am going to experiment and put some lines out there. The rock bank is sheer and a couple hundred feet high in areas. It looked like it could have lots of potential.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2018, 10:36:22 PM »
Let us know how all that black walnut you found turns out for you. Sure sounds exciting and I know you were thrilled to find it


Maybe you missed the part about how they "were filled" as in past tense, and sadly before I owned it the status changed....There were also a bunch of antiques here too - my wife was bummed about that, me not so much.
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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2018, 02:15:03 PM »
   Our 6 y/o grand daughter Molly came and spent Friday and Saturday night with us and we had good weather scheduled so I scheduled a fishing trip with Grandpa. I caught a dozen nightcrawlers in the yard for us to use to catch some bream for catfish line bait. We got up yesterday and ate breakfast and went down and collected 50-60 minnows and chubs out of our creek from my minnow baskets. That was where the fun started getting Molly to help get the minnows out. We started for the Bluestone lake and before I got half  mile Becky called and said our friends and my fishing buddy from Jacksonville NC were stopping by so sounded like a perfect timing. Molly and I got down to the rock pile where we catch our bait. We used 10' crappie poles with #10 cricket hooks and small pieces of nightcrawler. I guess we caught 50 or so small green sunfish and bluegills. Fishing with a 6 y/o is always a hoot. Molly would throw out and get tangled in my line and if I caught a fish she would claim it since her line was there too. She caught one fish and I asked his name and she said he was Marlowe. I don't even know where she heard that name.

  I ran across the lake and put out a dozen or so bushhooks. I try to place them near sunken trees and had one on a vine right beside a tree. I know the tree top is full of crappie and bluegills and figured ought to have a big catfish or two there. I had to tie to a vine because no good limber limb. I was not sure I could even get one out of that spot but figured it was worth a try. I put a couple dozen lines along a high rock bank on the Bluestone river side where I had never fished for catfish as a experiment.

 After our friends got here and we had dinner Grayson and I went out checked and baited lines. We caught 5 fish that weighed 30 lbs total. Biggest was about 10 lbs channel cat. We got home about 9:15 pm and put the fish out in my creek on a stringer. I figured they were too big for a coon to haul off and hoped we were too close for  bear to get them.

 We got up this morning and checked our lines. My line tied to the vine had a 23 lb flathead catfish. We had 6 more fish that weighed 27 lbs total so we came home and cleaned and filleted fish for 2-3 hours. The 5 in the creek were all feisty and full of vinegar. So that was 80 lbs of fish in about 12 hours.

 When we got home and showed the 23 lb flathead to Molly I told her I put Marlowe on a line and look what came and ate him. She was real happy knowing her bait fish caught the biggest fish. When our son came to get her she had to tell him all about her trip.

  Tonya and Grayson had to head on back to Jacksonville and took all the fillets and Tonya took 3-4 feed sacks full of black walnuts with her. She is a blast to be around and Grayson is lucky to have her.


 
Grayson and I with 23 lb flathead on the hook and 27 lbs in the net with 30 lbs more in the creek behind us. Sampson did a great job barking at them all.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline samandothers

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2018, 02:26:14 PM »
Quite the fishing story,but a true one.  Glad Molly had a great time.  Sounds like the friends went home with some great viddles!

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2018, 07:17:31 PM »
That was a whack of catfish.  If I come see you, I will request fried catfish and hushpuppies ;D
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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2018, 10:10:09 PM »
Sam&,

    They were up for a weekend visit 11.5 months ago and I put out lines and Grayson and I caught  125 lbs of catfish in 2 nights with biggest about 19 lbs. Molly's older sister Abbie went with us on that trip. Time spent in the outdoors with our kids and grandkids, really any kids, is beyond measure. The little unexpected things they say and do constantly amaze me.This weekend was definitely diamonds for me.

Danny,

    I have an embarrassing confession - I don't make good hushpuppies and the few times I cook them they are usually the frozen ones. Our typical fish fry includes baked beans, cole slaw (Cabbage/onion/mayo with a pinch of sugar), and either grits (Plain or cheese) or sometimes tater tots. When you come to dine with us that will likely be the fare to expect. Tomorrow's menu is likely going to be a baked 3 lb smallmouth that was convicted of stealing one too many bream off my lines today. He has promised never to do that again. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WDH

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2018, 07:18:38 AM »
OK, I do good hushpuppies.  I can take care of that part ;D
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline samandothers

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2018, 10:33:10 AM »
Grayson and I caught  125 lbs of catfish in 2 nights with biggest about 19 lbs.

And the fish story grows!  :D
That is a whack of fish!  You are good.  

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Catfish time in WV again
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2018, 03:01:16 PM »
Sam&,

 Actually, I posted that trip last year on this thread as reply 63 too .  
any fisherman here? in The Outdoor Board

  I went yesterday and caught most of my bait with a fly rod hoping to catch a few larger bream for bait. I baited up and put out a few more lines near spots that had produced well and finished baiting up near dark then ran the lines in the dark one time and picked up a 5 lb channel cat I staked out in the creek overnight. I also caught a 3 lbs smallmouth bait robber which I cleaned last night and we baked and ate for lunch. About daylight I went back and took up my lines. I picked up 7 more fish that totalled about 52 lbs. Biggest were a 11 & 10-1/4 lbs flatheads. Biggest channel cat was a little over 7 lbs. Total for 2 nights fishing was 140 lbs with biggest being the 23 lb flathead.


 57 lbs that range from 4 to 11 lbs.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"


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