East Tennessee Outdoors: How to catch a giant fish

Published 10:21 am Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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We all have dreams of catching a state or even a world record fish. We want to see our names in the record books and know that we have done something no one else has been able to do.

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While most of us will never get that chance, David Anderson did just that recently in the Nickajack Reservoir.

Mr. Anderson caught a 103-pound blue catfish that was just nine pounds short of the state record of a 112-pound monster caught in 1998 by Robert Lewis in the Cumberland River.

Anderson’s fish was a giant, and there are some facts that make this fish even more unbelievable.

First, he caught it with a seven-foot fishing rod and a spinning reel with a 12-pound fishing line on it.

Second, he caught it from the shore, not from a boat, and ended up breaking his net trying to land it.

Third, he caught it using a nightcrawler for bait.

Finally, he was able to catch the fish by himself after fighting it for over an hour.  There was no one there to help him land it.

In order for Anderson to catch this fish, he had to do a lot of things right. That is where you and I can learn from his catch.

It is the perfect example of someone doing almost everything right to catch a giant fish.

First, Anderson was fishing at the right time of the day. He caught the fish around midnight when the water from the lake had cooled for the day.

This is when the monsters come out to feed.

Most of us fish during the heat of the day and most of the time we are wasting our time. Most giant fish are deep during this period of the day as they move to cooler water.

Then, after the sun sets, they will move to feeding areas. Water temperature plays a very important role in any fish, especially the bigger fish.

Second, though he was fishing with medium-weight equipment, he knew how to fight a large fish. Anderson fought this fish for over an hour until he was able to get it into a net and get a rope through its gills.

Anderson let the drag on his reel do most of the work, and he was patient. That is key to catching any large fish.

Keep pressure on the fish, and let the reel and rod do most of the work.

Finally, Anderson fished in a hole that gave him confidence, and he used a bait that he knew could catch a large fish.

He was fishing on Suck Creek on Nickajack Reservoir, one of his favorite fishing holes. He had caught a 60-pound monster on Memorial Day from this same hole with the same equipment and bait.

He knew there were big fish in that hole, and he knew how to catch them.

Confidence is important to an angler because the more faith you have in your bait and fishing area, the more likely you will fish just a little longer. You expect to catch fish and this keeps you at that fishing hole.

I would like to know how many big fish I have missed because I did not remember the things that Anderson did right.

We can all learn from this young man and maybe one day land a monster ourselves.