Trinity River Catfish

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My wife reminded me of a story I once told her about a trip I made to the Trinity River when I was a teen. My friend Andy's parents had a small cabin, waterfront to an oxbow lake south of Lake Livingston along the river. There was a pot-belly stove, but no air conditioning. There was a little pier, and they had a small john-boat with a 12 horsepower motor. We would get up early, and drive the boat down to the river. We would go up the river for a couple of hours, set a trot-line across a fishy looking spot, then drift downstream back to where we started, fishing along the way. We would make it back by lunch-time, then head back after lunch, and do it all again. By the time we would get back to the trot-line, there would usually be several fish on the line.

This one time, we made it up to the trot-line to find it sagging deeply in the middle. I thought we had a snag, so I started working my way down the line from the outside to the middle, pulling off small catfish along the way.

Like a fool, I was standing up in the john-boat, with two hands on the line. This was not a very large john-boat, so it was not very stable. As I stood over what I thought was a snag, I pulled up with both hands to see if I could get it un-snagged. As I looked down into the water, and pulled the line up to the surface, I saw these two huge eyeballs come up from the deep. It was a giant catfish! This scared the u-know-what out of me, and I dropped the line. This was too much action and reaction for the little boat to handle, so I fell in. Right on top of that huge catfish! Now I know that Jesus walked on water, because I am positive I did at that moment! I was back in the boat in less than half a second.

We did not lose the fish -- it was a 45 pound blue catfish. I know blue cats get much bigger than 45 pounds, but that was the biggest fish I had ever caught. With the exception of a few large sharks, it is still the largest fish I have caught to this date.

About me

  • I'm Scott Gaspard
  • From Austin, Texas, United States
  • I really like to fish. I go every chance I can. You can pretty much bet that at any given moment, I'm using whatever spare cycles I have to plan my next trip.
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