This is a little longer that i had planned but i had to tell the whole story.
As mentioned in our post Bo on the river, I got a boat last November. I grew up on The Pee Dee river, so now that I have a boat I try to stay on it as much as possible. I have many good memories on the Brown Lady and hope to make many more. One of the activities that I am working on mastering is setting bush hooks.
For those of you who do not know, setting bush hooks is a way of catching catfish. You tie a line and baited hook to a tree at night and check it in the morning. I prefer to use Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hook-6 Per Pack (Black, 8/0). But your favourite circle hook will work. But that is not what this post is about.
I have set bush hooks before with my cousin Ray, but i was always the helper. If you know Ray, you know that he could catch fish in a mud hole, so i paid attention and learned what i could. However this was my first attempt at placing my own sets.
I went by the local wild game processor and got a fresh shad for bait. I filleted it out and salted it to help firm the meat up and put it in the fridge. Then i had to go to a carnival with my wife and kids since they were leaving to visit her sister in Mississippi for a few days and wanted to spend some time with them before they left. This put me getting back later than I needed to, but I had all night, and lets face it, family is more important.
When i got to Bucky's he was finishing up supper so I went and got the final preparations ready. A soon as he was done we headed out. Now anyone who has set out hooks knows that you want to do it as early as possible. I knew this but never fully understood why. Now I know. Setting in the dark is a pain in the (place you word of choice here). Not only do you have to find the right spots to set in the dark you have to work the current and put the boat in the bushes in the dark. But with a little work some minor scratches and a broke stern light mount we managed to get them put out.
As soon as we were finished putting them out we got the boat straight and rode by them to look at them. As we passed i noticed the 2nd from the last hook we put out was bouncing. Excitedly we headed over to check it out. Unfortunately it was a bust. Bucky said he thought it was the current but i think one may have gotten off. A little further down another line was bouncing. This time we were in luck. We pulled a 5lb cat off that hook just minuets after setting it. Excitedly we re-baited it and headed on because he had to work in the morning.
When i got home the fun began. I realized that i had left the key in the boat ignition. This normally is not a problem but the ignition on my boat is a little lose and i am worried about loosing the key. When I went out to get the key I noticed that just as i feared it was missing. This sent me into a panic because you have until one hour after sunrise to have the hooks up. So there i was at 2 am learning how to hot wire a boat motor. I found a diagram and went outside to tear the throttle apart and find the correct wires. After i got everything tore down i had a horrible flare up of heartburn. As I was digging through the dry storage to find my emergency tums i got a little surprise. Apparently I pulled put the key in there out by instinct and had forgotten about it. Now at 2:30 relieved and frustrated I put the throttle back together and tried to go to bed.
6am came early. And well... I overslept. When i finally woke up at about 6:45 i called Tracy because he was going to help me check the hooks. But, I could not get him. As I was headed to the river wondering how I was going to do it alone, I came up with a back up plan. I called my sister Mindy and woke her up. I told her that I was on the way and needed help. She was a little sceptical at first but finally agreed. But i had to wait for her to finish getting ready when i got there.
We finally made it to the river at about the time that I should have been finishing picking up the hooks, but late is better than never. I gave her a quick run through of what to do and what not to do and we were off. The first two sets were bust and i was starting to get a little discouraged. But sets three and four turned it around. When it was all said and done we had about eight fish (I forgot to count) and one was over 13 pounds. I was happy and she was hooked (pun intended).
I spent the rest of the day fishing with her and my niece, but that is another post for another day since this one went way longer than I had planed. To sum it up. We have a new sport, Bush Hooking the Briary River Way.
The Fruits of our labor