VisitMississippi welcomes guest blogger Mike Giles. With a unique perspective on Mississippi’s beautiful and diverse outdoors, Mike will share his experiences while helping us get to know some of the men and women enjoying an abundant outdoor life around the state.
Ken Murphy launched his Ranger boat on Okatibbee Lake recently hoping to catch a few deep water bass. Little did he know what was in store for him that fateful Saturday afternoon? This avid bass angler was joined by fishing partner Josh Cameron.
Murphy decided to try a submerged stump field along the old creek run smack dab in the middle of the upper end of the lake, and that’s when things heated up. “We went out on the creek where some stumps lined the creek channel and I started casting a Carolina rig,” Murphy said.
“I pulled that Carolina rig up to a stump, and WHAM, a bass hit it,” he said. “I thought I had a mammoth bass for a few seconds, and then after a bit I knew it was something else. “We were fishing in 16 feet of water and it thumped it just like a bass hit it. When I set the hook I thought I was hung on a stump, but I was really hung on a Volkswagen,” Murphy said in jest!
When that monster blue catfish started stripping out line like a cobia Murphy knew he was in for a battle and got ready for action. “After he started making those big runs and pulling off drag I had Josh raise the big motor and the trolling motor out of the water,” he continued. I knew that if I ever got him close to the boat it was going to be a factor, because he was pulling that 21 foot Ranger boat like it was nothing!”
After about a dozen deep water runs where he stripped line off and Murphy worked to gain some ground on him the big bruiser showed signs of tiring a bit. “I finally got him near the boat and that big joker rolled up on his belly and Josh said ‘Oh My Gosh, how’re we going to get that thing in here?’” Murphy related.
“I don’t know but I’ve fought him for 25 minutes and we’re going to get our hands on him if we can.”
But the cat was too big for a net, and wouldn’t even begin to go in the live well if they landed him. What to do? What to do? That was the big question for the two anglers as they certainly didn’t have a gaff on board as used by saltwater anglers.
After he circled the boat several times Murphy used every ounce of skill and knowledge that he’d honed over a lifetime of fishing to wear the monster cat down. Sensing victory was almost his Murphy implored Josh to get ready just as the catfish rolled over next to the boat.
“He rolled over one last time and Josh grabbed him on one side of his gills and I grabbed the other side and we wrestled him into the boat with all the strength we could muster,” Murphy said. Laying the fish on a towel on the boat deck was quite a feat as they continued to restrain the fish from tearing the deck and beating the boat up.
“We ran a rope through his gills and mouth and tied him off to a boat cleat until we subdued him,” he continued. One flop and he’d have been right back in the water.
That fish looked like he had crushers in his mouth,” Murphy said. The fish was estimated at 60 pounds plus as they didn’t have a scale big enough on board to weigh him. “Seeing that huge fish makes me wonder what else is out there, and how much does he eat every day?”
If you’re looking for some fantastic fall catfishing then head to Okatibbee Lake near Meridian, as the fishing will just get better and better.
Mike Giles is an accomplished outdoorsman and award-winning wildlife photographer and author who has gleaned a wealth of knowledge from a lifetime spent in the Southern outdoors. He is also a Life Member of The National Rifle Association and the Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society. Mike has been a columnist for The Meridian Star since 1992 and a regular contributor to the Mississippi Sportsman and various magazines with credits in Mississippi Outdoors, Louisiana Sportsman, Mississippi Woods and Waters, Mississippi Game and Fish, NWTF’s Wheeling Sportsmen and others. From bass tournament angler to seminar speaker, Mike is committed to the outdoor life and helping people of all ages and abilities enjoy it to the fullest.