On holiday in France I had organized things to be able meet up with the renowned “Pêcheur de Sardine”, a Gunki fanatic who spends all his free time fishing for catfish from his kayak. Never having caught a catfish before and let alone from a kayak I was really looking forward to experiencing this type of extreme kayak fishing for a very long time. It is the kind of experience that if you think twice about it can no longer seem such a good idea but, hey you only live once!
When we met by the river side, Pêcheur de Sardine had all the gear ready for me, we quickly got on the water and set off on our fully equipped kayaks. At last I was going to be able to cross off “catching a catfish from a kayak” from my crazy things to-do list! For the first couple of hours we didn’t fish, as my awesome guide explained to me exactly what to look for on the screen of the Humminbird HELIX 10 fish finder. Once we had found a few interesting detections it was time to put theory into practice and try to catch one of these underwater monsters.
Once the fish located, it was time to start using the ancestral clonk, this weird looking piece of gear can really make the fish go mad. But, it is not as easy as it looks and is a mixture of searching, hunting, calling and fishing! I learnt the hard way at first, experiencing frustrating refusals that I could only watch unfold on the screen of my HELIX 10. As you see the fish react to the underwater shock wave created by the clonk, it is essential to get things perfectly timed in order to get the cats to take your rig. The key is to use the clonk when the fish dive back down to get them to raise again and then to keep them coming by lifting and shaking the bait until they bite. Thanks to the precious advice of my guide, things started to get better and better and very soon my first fish actually took my bait, BAM... and, hell was let loose!
With its 1.54m the fish was no match for my PEZON & MICHEL TITAN CATFISH gear and after a short but powerful fight I had caught my first catfish! It’s weird how the first of a kind tends to lead to lots of others when just a few moments before it seemed impossible to catch just one of them. As the day continued I caught a few more cats, all 1 meter +. My friend Pêcheur de Sardine started fishing too and, just by watching him I was able to see just how he has fine tuned this style of fishing. Suddenly his attitude change and he turned to me and said: "Klaus... look just here" pointing at his screen, "there's a really big one, go on, it's yours, just remember, take your time". Now that's what I call a pro, letting the rookie have a shot at the biggest fish of the day... kind but not the best thing for your stress level!
Trying to remember all that I had learnt and seen since the beginning of the day, I positioned my kayak just above what looked like a massive tree resting on the bottom. I let my rig sink to the correct depth and as my guide started clonking, the tree started moving... All of a sudden it made contact with my rig and the shock that vibrated trough the rod almost tipped me over. I made the hardest strike I ever think I have done and braced myself as the braid started ripping off my reel. My combo of the day worked perfectly, enabling me to steer the monster away from the snags and after 15 long minutes, to bring it along side my kayak. All trough the fight, Pêcheur de Sardine coached me and when the cat finally gave up, guided me to a shallow place where I could beach it in order to take some photos.
I knew I had a new personal record but, just by how much had I beat the previous one that I had set earlier that day? After quickly measuring it, my new PB was 1.84m for approximately 70kg, not bad for my first time kayak fishing for catfish!
A massive thanks to my friend, Pêcheur de Sardine for his knowledge and patience and the quality of the PEZON & MICHEL TITAN CATFISH range. I may have crossed out “catching a catfish from a kayak” from my to-do list but, I have added "beating my catfish PB catfish from a kayak”! I will be back soon, very soon and I hope to beat my PB once again!