Volume 1, Issue 2, February 2015 - Page 7

are busy erecting the boat’s bimini top that what will serve us well this day by shielding us from winds and temperatures hovering in the mid-20’s.

A quick jump start of Rusty’s truck at the launch (gremlins) and we have the boat floating. A propane heater is quickly pumping amazing heat through-out the cabin and my pants are threatening to burn unless I move away. We’ve got 6 guys crammed into the back half of the boat, and it’s cozy, but not uncomfortable.

We motor away from the launch and Rusty fires up his Lowrance HDS 12 Touchscreen GPS/Fish-finder and we’re seeing marks all over the screen, almost as if there’s very little open water below us. “Shad”, explains the guide, “lots and lots of shad”. It’s becoming pretty obvious that the water we’re on is incredibly fertile based on the sheer numbers of fish the graph is displaying. There are larger marks perforating the shad clouds and Rusty believes they are catfish. Blue catfish are very prevalent on this lake too and Rusty often guides clients to these fish with great success.

Today is all about spoonbills though and Tommy explains the setup to our ragtag crew. I’m

joined on today’s trip by my father-in-law Darryl Leidig, as well as my buddies Lance White and Mitchell Peitz who form Team Ninja Beagle, a bowfishing team that regularly competes in tournaments across Kansas and Oklahoma.

The spoonbill setup is pretty basic, but each part is critical to success. We start with Catfish Warrior rods, which are fairly short, e-glass rods with stainless steel guides and handles made of wrapped paracord offering a no-slip grip. Attached to the rods are Penn baitcast reels spooled with 80lb PowerPro braided line and 150# braided leaders. The 10/0 Spoonbill King barbless treble hooks are wound into the leader in such a way that orients the

hooks to face up the line. The

leader’s tag end is left long and on the terminal end weights are added to keep the line running at the proper depth and angle. We learn that proper weight and boat speed are the keys to success, as we’ll be snagging these fish while under power.

Tommy describes what to expect next, “the hookups will be hard and the line will peel off the reel. Resist the urge to set the hook though because that may produce some slack and allow the fish to get off. Keep the rod at a 45 degree angle and reel steady until the fish gets near the boat. When it’s close we’ll grab the line and bring it up by hand.”

By the time we get our instructions, Rusty has decided on our destination and the thick clouds of baitfish are dispersing. In their place we’re seeing larger marks, some are MUCH larger and you can see in Rusty’s eyes that these are the fish we’re after. A couple minutes later we’re fishing. I’m holding a rod off the port side, Lance has a rod on the starboard side and two more rods are perched in the center holders for Mitchell and Darryl.

I can feel the weights swinging in the water below the boat and every so often there’s a short tug

(continued on Page 8)

Catfish Warrior rods, Penn Squall 30Lw reels, Spoonbill King hooks, braided PowerPro line, and large bank sinkers make up the terminal tackle we used this day.

Blue Catfish were so thick that we occasionally picked up one (or two in this case) while trolling for spoonbills. All snagged catfish are released immediately.

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Obscure Adventures Magazine