Tuesday, January 31, 2012


At each year’s jugfest the subject will come up, usually around the campfire, but occasionally during a round of dominoes.  How would we handle a record class catfish in order to weigh and record the catch while keeping it not only alive but in good shape. Now, that’s as big of a challenge as catching it in the first place !

Here is a look at the Arkansas record Blue Catfish


Blue Catfish
116 lbs 12 oz
Mississippi River W. Memphis
Charles Ashley Jr.

Here is the story, narrative by a state wildlife officer.


Charles Ashley Jr. lives at Marion, just a short drive from the Mississippi River. On Aug. 3, 2001, he was doing what he often does: fishing for catfish in the “Father of Waters” – with two buddies, in this instance. All in the trio were using chunks of Hormel Spam for bait near a wing dike downstream from the Interstate 55 bridge between Memphis and West Memphis.

For half an hour, Ashley and his buddies had no bites. Then, suddenly, Ashley’s line started moving off. When he set the hook, he knew immediately that he’d hooked a huge fish, and worried that his medium-weight fishing outfit wasn’t going to hold it. The reel was spooled with 20-pound line – and Ashley was sure that this fish was bigger than 20 pounds.

Line and pole held up, though, and after 45 minutes of fighting, Ashley managed to bring the cat to the top. That’s when his buddies got excited. The one holding the landing net just laid it back down; he knew that the cat wasn’t going to fit.

Ashley finally wore the monster catfish down, pulled it alongside the boat and wrestled it in. Then he and his partners headed for shore. Several hours later, when the fish was weighed on a certified scale, Ashley knew he’d caught an exceptional fish. The humongous cat weighed 116 pounds, 12 ounces.

The next day, I certified Ashley’s cat as a new Arkansas rod-and-reel record. A few months later, it was officially recognized as an all-tackle world record.

Since the Arkansas wildlife officer weighed in the world record, it  has been eclipsed by a larger catfish ! Hey, there is always a larger one out there, let’s go find him !

Saturday, January 21, 2012


It is just a short ways to either of the lakes ( Greeson or Ouachita ) from our current location.


The look of the turn off into Kirby landing has changed a bit. Click photo for a better look.


Weston point site 89 was our last years campsite. It is just above the small sheltered inlet where the boat is protected from the powerful Spring time winds that come out of the East from time to time.


The site has full hookups including sewer.


50, 30 and 20 amp plugins at each pedestal.


There is a set of steps that lead down from site 89. The large old Oak that was dead last year has been sawed down for safety by the USCOE contractor. Lots of just the right size limb wood for all of those evening campfires !

It’s early yet, but, we’ve got it on our minds and we are a’ lookin’ !

Sunday, January 15, 2012


A day on the lake enjoying each other’s company. We scouted for signs of bream in the pre spawn. It was just too early yet. No visible signs of pre spawn. The water temperature on the sonar.


In mid January, it’s just too early yet for the bream to be thinking about spawning. We also put a bait trap out to get a look at the bait fish.


Here we are getting ready to launch the boat. Note the sobering sign in the foreground.


While cruising through Mountain Harbor marina we took this photo of the fuel islands.

Here is a short video of passing under the bridge into the marina.

Joplin campground bridge

This picturesque bridge is over a narrow, shallow cut that is sometimes difficult to navigate.

After a great day on the water, we went into Hot Springs to celebrate our anniversary at the Outback steak house.


Followed by purple shakes at the Purple Cow.


Yep, it was a pretty wild night out on the town for a couple of old geezers !



After such a wild night of revelry, we finally came dragging back home at the very late hour of 7:30 PM.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Bright sunlight made working on the bait traps and fishing jugs on the tailgate of the pickup most pleasant.


The weather forecast for tonight however, didn’t sound too good.


The bait traps had came back from the lake last year in pretty rough condition.


Even after considerable straightening, they looked somewhat bent. Yet, we know that they will work just fine, when we need them.


Some of the jugs needed minor repairs and hooks replaced. Note the offset in the above hook’s shaft.

But, a couple of hours in the bright sunlight and we are all set for our next trip to the lake.

It won’t be long now ! We’ve got catching large catfish on our minds !

Monday, January 9, 2012


As our time at Amazon came to a close, we knew that we were tired. But hey, we were supposed to be, for we had been working long days.

What we didn’t have a good handle on, was that we were also coming down sick. We had similar symptoms, so we thought that we had picked up a bug somewhere. And, that in a couple of days, it would be gone. Wrong.

Hooking up the fifth wheel in the rain didn’t help any, and a clue I should have picked up on, was that I was running too warm while working in a tee shirt, though it was raining. Now, you would think that at our age, we would know better. But it had been a year since we had been home and we were ready to get there before CHRISTmas.

The first day we only made it to Jackson Tennessee, thinking we might overnight on the Gander Mountain Parking lot. Something that we had done before. This evening, it didn’t work out though. After a couple of hours we realized that our congestion was much worse when laying down. By then I knew that we should have changed into dry clothes instead of turning the Kawabunga truck’s cab heat on high and drying out on the road.

We hit the road again, though we were just absolutely dragging by now. And, by then, we had figured it out, we were sick.

To make a long story short, we made it on in to Arkansas and parked in Betty’s Sister’s driveway.

The next time the Doctors office was open we were there.

She had a severe sinus infection and I had pneumonia. No wonder we were just dragging around !