It always seems that some of the best experiences in life are the ones that were not planned. This past week has been just one of those unplanned experiences. Two weekends ago the temps were in the 70s and while most were hunting I had fishing on the brain (of course.) My original sights were on Devils Lake but some other things came up that were going to keep us in Grand Forks.
Friday afternoon I drove down to the boat landing just to see how the river was looking after yet another 2010 flood. There was a couple of old timers shore fishing that said they had caught a nice catfish. They also made mention of a young man who was out in his boat doing very well. I managed to run into the guy and found that he had been catching some nice cats. It was that report that got my blood flowing for some bonus cattin.
In a normal fall on the Red River the catfish start winding down the fall temperatures and by October 1 and the door for some Red River trophy walleye fishing would open. Just lighten the gear up and change tactics a bit and another four to six weeks of fall fishing is ready.
I have been trying to sell my catfish boat so I can order a new one and a buddy with an outdoors business was letting me keep it at his lot for people to look at. Saturday morning I drove over and picked up my perfectly cleaned up for sale boat, pulled it home and got it rigged back up for a catfish outing. I called a friend to join me for a few hours of fishing for the rest of the wonderful 70 degree Saturday.
The first three spots were total busts and I was beginning to wonder if I was just following a dream or a bunch of bunk in reports. It was not until spot four that I noticed there were catfish jumping all around my anchor spot feeding. Within minutes we were reeling in fish and not just fish large, healthy, trophy fish. All of a sudden instead of looking for fish we found ourselves looking to fine tune a pattern. No matter where we went we were finding nice fish. After only three hours we had two fish over 22 pounds (something that had not been done in my boat yet this year.)
I could not let a bite like that get away so I gave it another shot Sunday, which told me more about the pattern and that things were going to get better before they got worse. Monday, I could not help but take the afternoon off from work to see just one more time. Armed with what I thought was a great pattern I went out and put together the best day of 2010. Amazing fish kept coming in the boat including my new personal best catfish in the US a monster 28 pounder.
Just before I came in to write this piece I was out for one last go at the cats only to find that the end has come for another year. The water temps are hitting 50 and falling fast telling the fish to head in for winter. It signaled to me the end of the season which is kind of sad but then again it was not even supposed to have happened this late in the year so all I can say is I was lucky to get in on the bite and experience yet another unplanned memory that will forever be known as “Bonus Cattin.”