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Late Night Shift for Flathead Catfish!!

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Seriously, my plan for Friday night was to sit at home and relax. Between work, moving, fishing, and taking a trip to Montana, I'm about worn out. But instead, LFC (Larry Haugh) rings my cell phone after work Friday and wondered what I was up to. Larry said he had an open seat and would be fishing alone if I didn't come with. Not wanting a guy to fish alone, I jumped at the chance.

I've known Larry for quite awhile now but this was the first time I've ever fished with him. We fish BP Cat League together, we fish the Moore's Contests together, we cross paths at the ramp, and chat on the river but I've never been in his boat before. Guess it was about time!

We pulled into our first spot, a calm water area positioned between two snags in the river. It didn't look like much but it was enough to hold a fish or two as Larry set the hook into our first run of the night. First fish in the boat was 12lbs and caught during the day as well! Bonus!

Then the waiting game started. We moved to Location #2 and set up right before dark. We waited, and waited, and waited and nothing happened. We continued to wait and nothing happened. As 11:00pm is rolling around, we're wondering if anything is going to happen. Time to move!

A quick boat ride brought us to Location #3. We almost skipped Location #3 as Larry had his heart set on our 4th spot. I said lets try this for awhile and see what happens.

What happened was more waiting, and more waiting, and more waiting. frown.gif But something was different about this spot from our last spot, our baits were uncomfortable in the water. Both our rod tips were dancing around, and we were getting short clicker runs either from fish or extemely excited bullheads. There were baitfish all over in this spot as well with larger fish chasing bait up against the shore and splashing around. We both thought something was going to happen, but when?

Somewhere around 12:30pm to 1:00am, my rod got hit. I picked up the rod and started feeding him line when he dropped it. Doh! Heartbreak! We've been waiting for 5 hours now for something to happen and the flattie dropped the bait while on a good run. I should have hit him earlier. But shortly after that, it was redemption time as the telltale 'twang' of the rod holder jolted me into action. Once again, same story but this fish was moving good, I reared and set the hook into a fish that wanted to swim straight at the boat. I couldn't pull line in fast enough and it came off after about 5 seconds. Not good, I was getting frustrated now which is never a good thing.

So here we sit on the river at 2:00am. I'm tired, Larry is tired, we're talking about how the night went and discussed our exit strategy. I told Larry I was happy because I had 2-3 good opportunities to hook a fish, and lost one as well. It could have been much worse than that I figured.

But sometimes it pays to stay for the Late Night Shift, and at 2:15am, we hit paydirt, 20lbs (34" x 22") was playing tug of war with me on the end of my 80lb PowerPro. We really thought this fish was bigger than it ended up being as it bulldogged around beneath the boat.

Hanson with 20lbs (34" x 22") of Late Shift Flathead


Was this one fish a sign of things to come? You betcha!

3:00am - 19lbs (33" x 22") found its way into my arms.

I think this one likes the camera, look at that tail curl!!


Larry wanted a couple release shots and I actually screwed this shot up by adjusting my hat while he was snapping the photo. Guess what? I like it better than the one that turned out. I'll call it...

A Tip of the Hat!


But we weren't done yet...

3:50am - Larry pops a 9lb (29" x 16") Flathead Cat, his 2nd fish of the night, and 8 hours since his last! blush.gif

3:56am (6 minutes later!) - I pulled in a little 6lbs (28" x 15") for my 3rd fish of the night!


Well... I don't think I have to mention that Larry and I are now flipping cartwheels in the boat! Excited is an absolute understatement!! The night went from a bust to a stellar night just like that! But just when you think its over, Larry had to go and catch another one as the sun was coming up!

4:57am - Larry with 15lbs (31" x 20 1/2") of sunrise Flathead Cat. The camera flash blackened out the background but it was definitely twilight when this fish hit! Larry was pumped, it was his 1st sunrise flathead cat!


When the night was over, Larry kept asking me why that spot was so good to us. All I can figure is the flats had been using that area to feed big time. There was a huge concentration of bait in this spot and they were moving up in there to eat, and apparently mealtime was between the hours of 2am-6am on Saturday morning! This was the type of spot most anglers would move right on by, so you don't have to fish the "sweet spots" that get fished every night of the week to have a good night flattie fishing.

Larry- Not sure what to say man but what a night! Thanks for inviting me along and we'll do it again!

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Scott M

Cool story and great pictures. Just remember folks, never let a buddy fish alone...you might miss out on all that great fishing! grin.gif

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Sounds like a fun night!

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What a fine story! Thanks for sharing it. Good for you!!!!!!!!

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I have never caught any cats that size and would never plan ahead enough to use 80lb line but nice work! I went out a couple weeks ago from a friend's pier and as I drove there I had the feeling that I somehow lost my headlamp. Sure enough I got there and searched the car to find nothing. It was the middle of the night and I just drove 35 minutes to get there so now what? Well, I had two lite up bobbers so I went for it in the dark and ended up catching 3 in 3 hours and had the best fighting fish of the year so far. There is nothing like cat fishing, you go from enjoying a warm still night to a rush of excitement in no time.

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