View Full Version : To Wish Upon a Star

09-07-2008, 09:45 PM
Took my nephew Chase out to Clear Lake for his first overnight fishing trip. *On the water by 1:30 and lines in the water by 2pm. *Water temp was a balmy 80.5 degrees. *

Here's the first fish of the day caught on the drift in 30 feet of water. *This is about the biggest cat Chase has ever caught. *He would break his personal best several times on this trip.

The drift bite was very tough on this trip. *We drifted for almost 5 hours with only one small fish to show for our efforts. *Not the way I wanted to start this trip. *I hoped we'd do better on anchor after dark.

It was very quiet until about midnight when the first fish was hooked at anchor. *I let Chase fight the fish and just as I netted the channel cat, another rod goes off. *No time to even bring the net in the boat. *Chase grabs the other rod and pretty soon we have two in the net. *

In the matter of 10 minutes, Chase had broken his personal best two times. *Pretty cool stuff.

A little later it was my turn to bring a fish to the boat. *Not the best picture, but it's the only one I have.

As usual, we caught numerous fish with sores, abrasions, and parasites. *

The little brown thingys are parasites. *I've been seeing them more frequently the last 18 months or so. *They typically seem to gravitate towards the underside of the mouth. *Once in a while I'll see them on the fins. *They never seem to appear on the top side of the *body.

We were anchored in the middle of a giant mass of baitfish all night long. *It's no wonder the fish get so big at Clear Lake, they don't have to work very hard for an easy meal. *All we could hear all night long was the sound of baitfish breaking the surface all around us. *I've seen this type of activity before with submersible lights in the water, but never in pitch black conditions. *I would estimate that the swarm of bait was 1/4 mile wide. *Here's a pic of me looking over the side of the boat. *The reflection is the clip-on light on my hat combined with the camera flash. *

I hooked into a VERY BIG fish around 1:30am. *After setting the hook, and playing the fish for about 15 seconds, I decided to hand the rod off because this trip was all about my nephew and I wanted to get him on big fish. *I've caught a lot of trophy fish at Clear Lake, and this one was equal to or bigger than anything I've landed. *I had visions of a lake record as Chase and I fought this fish in the dark. *I proceeded to reel in the other 3 rods so that we wouldn't have any line cross-ups and the only other thing to be wary of was the rear anchor line. *I'm coaching Chase the whole time and for a while, all he's really doing is just hanging on. *Several times he said that he didn't think he could keep fighting the fish and when he needed it, I would help him slowly raise and lower the rod so he could make ground on the fish. *We eventually had the fish near the boat, but it wasn't ready to be tamed and didn't want anything to do with us. *Right near the end, on one of it's many runs under the boat, the 7/0 circle hook tore through the flesh of the mouth and the fish was gone. *The line didn't break, all the terminal tackle came back intact, it just wasn't meant to be. *For the rest of the night I thought about that fish in the quiet darkness of my boat. *But to shine a positive light on the moment, it's defeats like this one that keep me coming back for more, that keep the desire buring inside, that make me look forward to future trips. *I'll keep paying my dues and someday I'll hook into that fish again. *Hope is eternal. . .

Early in the evening, we saw two shooting stars in the dark sky. *We each made a silent wish and vowed that we'd talk about our wishes in the morning. *My nephew's wish was that he would catch a new personal best. *His wish came true several times. *

My wish upon a star also came true. *My exact wish was: *"Please let me hook into a REALLY REALLY BIG FISH tonight". *The next time I see a shooting star, I'll be sure to change the wording around a little to include "Please let me land a really really big fish tonight". ;) * *

That's the end of my journey for this trip. *I'm looking forward to the next chapter. . .

09-07-2008, 10:02 PM
Cool story and again a great report. Is your nephew from red bluff? That is where I was born and lived until I was 7. My dad and other family still lives there.
To bad you missed the big fish but still sounds like a great trip and like you said will keep bringing you back. 8-)

09-07-2008, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the cool story and pics. I bet watching your nephew catch those fish was way more rewarding than catching them yourself. Keep up the good work!

P.S. Red Bluff born and raised :)

09-07-2008, 10:39 PM
I was thinking of you prowler when I made the post. We might be getting alot of us red bluff angler's in here. :D ;D

09-07-2008, 10:43 PM
Now that's a scary thought! ;D

09-08-2008, 03:19 PM
Excellent report as always. I Truely enjoy reading your post all the way over here on the east side of the Sierras, where the catfish are small and unplentiful. *Keep up the good work. *To bad we don't have flatheads and blues in Northern California, you'd have some true heavyweights to contend with. *Have you ever fished for blues in Southern California? *What is the northernmost distribution of this species, what about flatheads, are they found in California? *Colorado River? Oh, by the way, I believe those parasites might actually be leeches. We caught some kitties out of the Humboldt River a while ago that had them on them. We pulled them off, and to the best of my identifying skills, they looked like leeches.

09-09-2008, 11:27 AM
Yes, my nephew is from Red Bluff.

I've never fished for Blues. I know they are common in S. Cal lakes. The Pardee website used to say the lake held blues, but I speculate it's a misprint. A 50+ pound blue with pics was reported to be caught in the delta a few years back. The fish looked funny, almost like it had freezer burn. I would love to see blues planted in the delta. It would be a great area for them to grow.

Flatheads can be caught on the Colorado.

09-09-2008, 06:08 PM
I wonder why Flatheads and Blues haven't been more widely spread. Flatheads would be awesome fish, and they are supposedly great for the table. I heard the same rumor about that blue cat, I wouldn't believe it unless it was verified by a biologist.

09-09-2008, 08:17 PM
To bad to see those parasites on the cats in clearlake.

09-10-2008, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the great post and details. It's dedicated people like you that makes this forum worthwhile. Great writing as well. Keep up the good work and may your wish upon a star be true in your next outing.

09-17-2008, 10:05 AM
Hey KnotGillty, I was wondering if you have any stories like that happen at Folsom Lake, or Camp Far West? You have some good catfish adventures!

09-18-2008, 08:00 AM
I have lots of good overnight catfishing trips from Folsom & Camp Far West as well as Lake Camanche & Amador. Those 4 lakes were my stompin' grounds back in the late 80's to late 90's. I saw some big catfish caught out of those places. But that was back before I had a digital camera and posted on fishing forums.

Now, pretty much all my catfishing trips are to Clear Lake. I do salmon and stripers in the spring / fall as well as some spring / fall trout trips up north on small streams and area lakes. I need to get out and troll more often as I've slowly gotten away from that over the last couple years.

Tight lines. . .

09-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Hey KnotGillty,

I do so enjoy reading you posts. *I too am an avid catfisherman. *I'm just dying to get to Clear lake and have a go at some of those beasts. *For the last couple of months, I have been putting all my efforts into Amador with little to show for it. *I was hoping you might be able to help me out a little. *I see you are a daytime drifter. *I have never drifted for catfish nor do I know how. *Do you think drifting my entice some of those monters out of thier holes? *I would appreciate any tips you are willing to give up. *


Gville Honker.

10-05-2008, 10:33 AM
Right near the end, on one of it's many runs under the boat, the 7/0 circle hook tore through the flesh of the mouth and the fish was gone.

Ah yes, the "whisker hook" strikes again. I've lost some good ones to it, but I've also landed quite a few that were just barely hanging on.

Chase will remember this trip for the rest of his life. Great report and pics, as always! :)