Where I live out here on the Upper Mississippi, the local French name for the flathead catfish is “goujon.” An awesome creature, the goujon has a heavy head, tiny eyes and several pairs of the fleshy whiskers that give the catfish its name. Its rubbery skin is a mottled, yellow-brown color. Unlike some other catfish that are content to scavenge for much of their food, this one is said to be primarily a meat eater that prefers living prey. big ones, and the goujon may reach 100 pounds or more, are usually loners. They hang out in deep holes under log drifts or cutbanks–lurking there during the day and prowling into shallows at night to hunt other fish.Continue reading
When the weather is freezing but the water is open, bait presentations have to be perfect. Of course, icefishing tactics would work, but they’re out of the question…or are they?
Some phone calls have a way of getting your attention, and this was one of them. “No, I mean big pike,” my friend Pete Bellinger said one December night after fishing in the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, so excited his words nearly ran together. “It was really warm after work so I went perch fishing off the docks. The perch bit, but the northerns bit even better. I landed a couple that went seven or eight pounds, and then broke off a really good one. You ought to come up.”
Three days later I did. But near-zero temperatures had turned the river surface to slush ice. We stood there, staring gloomily at the river, as blocks of ice passed by. Angling was out of the question.Continue reading