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July was already here and the catfish season had been under way for a while and I had not managed to get much fishing done! Things had to change so It was time to book a session with the aim of hopefully landing my target fish for this year, a 30lb cat. After a quick chat with Steve at Churchwood i was booked on Jenkins to try for a cat or two.

I decided on leeches and lob worms for bait with the worms being fished over a bed of pellets mixed with salmon oil and tuna. I had just purchased some new Daiwa Specialist rods with 3lb test curve which I was hoping would give me a bit more control over the cats than my Armalite carp rods which are only 2.25lb test curve.

I rigged up the rods, one with my modified dumbbell rig for the Leeches and the other with a free running lead, 18" cat braid hooklength complete with a size 4 owner barbless hook for the Lobs. the gear was then loaded in the back of the forester and off to Brentwood in search of a monster cat!




The weather was perfect, it had been really hot for a while and the night time temps where really hot and sticky, perfect for the cats. I arrived at Churchwood early evening, unloaded my gear and went off in search of Steve to say hello and see how things had been going, as usual I was made to feel welcome and was offered a beer and a chat prior to getting the rods out.

A few cats had been coming out but the carp action had been a bit slow due to the hot weather so as i was after the cats and not the carp this did not dampen my confidence but gave it a bigger boost. As it I had a few hours before dark I decided to bait both rods with Leeches as the worms would be devoured within minutes of placing the rig. Back at my chosen swim i began to set the rods up, the Dumbbell rig as baited with a nice big leech and boated out to the far bank. The second rod was also baited with a Leech but disaster struck, as i pulled the line off the spool the tip section of the new rod snapped like a match stick! Not impressed as the rod was not even under any pressure. Luckily I had one of my carp rods with me so this was soon setup and boated out to the far bank again.

The light finally faded away and it was time to check the rigs and bait one of the rods with the monster lob worms. Time to wait for the action to start as the cats normally have a feed about an hour or so after dark. I did not have to wait long and the Lobs had been attacked by the first cat, the Delkim screamed off and line peeled off the reel, I grabbed the spool, lifted the rod and bent into an aggressive cat. Seconds later the fish shook its head and it was gone. I quickly reeled in and checked the rig, all looked fine and the hook was perfectly sharp so two new lobs on and out it went to the same spot.

Half an hour later and the leech rod was off at full speed, with the spool spinning and shedding metres of line I was on it in a flash. As i was using a circle hook i did not need to strike, only hold the spool firm and bend into the fish. The power of the take was so powerful all i could do was hold firm and walk back hoping I would be able to steer the catfish away from the overhanging bushes on the far bank. The fight was very fierce with loads of short powerful surging runs but eventually the catfish was in the net. I lifted the net from the water and felt the weight of the fish, 30lb for sure! The scales proved me correct as they where pulled round to 33lb, minus the weight of the sling and I had a 31lb wels catfish, well pleased! A few pics by Steve and the cat was returned.

Still shaking from the thrill of the first cat I rebaited and boated the rig out to the same spot ready for another take. An hour later i heard a few beeps on the lobs which made me jump as it does when you are not expecting it. I stood by the rod patiently waiting for it to scream off, after five minutes I returned back to my bedchair and poured a drink. A minute or so later a few more beeps then a screaming run, the drink was thrown in the air as i ran to the rod and pulled into another cat. Again I held on and walked back to encourage the fish to move away from the snags on the far bank, all worked as planned and the fish was in open water but constantly trying to get back to the safety of the trees! Half way through the fight as I was piling on the pressure I remembered what had happened to the other Daiwa rod and panicked as I thought the rod would snap if i pushed it too far! The rest of the fight was heart stopping stuff all the way, every last surge i was watching the rod tip praying it wouldnt break! finally the catfish was in the net and i could breath once more. This time the cat looked even bigger than the last with a very wide head and muscular body. the scales pulled round to over 36lb! After taking off the weight of the sling the cat weighed in at just over 34lb, two thirties and only a few hours into the session.

I rebaited and waited for the next fish, unfortunately no more action was had until 07.30 the next morning. The leech rod roared off waking me from my sleep. I shot off the bedchair picked up the rod and felt nothing! I reeled in and noticed the Leech had been bitten in half so the cat had missed the hook completely. I rebaited both rods with Leeches as it was now light and waited for another run.

An hour later and the rod tip started to twich and the hanger lifted a few inches, this happened three or four times so I decided to hit it and see if a cat was on, a cat was definitely on! I reeled in a perfect miniature cat of about 1lb!

The sun was soon high in the sky and it was time to call it a day and head for home to start on the new bathroom!

A very impressive session and one i will not forget in a hurry!

Mission accomplished

I sent the Daiwa rods back to Leslies of Luton and replaced them for a pair of Century FS 2.75lb test curve models. The rods look and handle as you would expect century rods to. I have since landed carp to nearly 20lb and cats over 20lb on these rods and I can say they are well worth every penny!















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