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Thursday, 27 June 2013 11:11

Catching Midnight Cats with the Kiddo

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CJ with his big kittie! CJ with his big kittie! Marty Hughes

Fishing at night can sometimes be a bit eerie. Especially on a kayak in the darkness with your youngster at bay on his maiden voyage, in search of a monster catfish. We loaded up around ten o'clock in the evening and traveled the twenty five miles to our remote destination.  It started out very dark until the moon rose just a few minutes later to light up our late night world. Bugs flew at us from every direction as we needed to use our headlamps to get our equipment and kayaks ready for the midnight run.  There was no breeze at all and the air was still very warm from the previous days 101 degree heat.  

     After unloading and baiting our hooks we departed and paddled around 30 yards off shore and latched on to a protruding branch from the water. My 11 year old CJ paddled next to me and latched on to my kayak with his "fish grips" attached to a lanyard.  We casted our heavy duty "cat" rods out into the abyss and waited. While we waited the moon rose and lit up the lake which shone like a sheet of glass.  The water is very shallow at this spot but the catfish roam these waters late at night for scraps of food or small bait fish.  We were using bluegill for bait which they love to devour. 

     We waited patiently talking about fishing and what to expect if we had a cat take our bait.  After a wait of nearly 15 minutes CJ had a bite and tried to set his hook.  He had a fish on! I reeled my line in to aid in his landing of this fish. In an instant, it was gone.  Just feet from the kayak the fish had disappeared into the darkness. But all of a sudden my idle rod with bait dangling in the water just in front of the kayak starting bending vigorously!  We don't know if it was the same cat but one had come up right below my kayak in two foot of water and clamped on!  It didn't take much to reel it in since it was already there. We netted it and brought it to shore for measurement and photos.  It was a pretty nice sized cat with a measurement of 25 inches. 

     We baited our lines again and headed out for round two. During the next hour or so we both had a lot of "hits" but nothing to show for our efforts. Then, just past 1 AM I asked CJ if he wanted to change to a new location.  Just as I finished my sentence he shouted, "I've got one!"   He held on tight and reeled it in perfectly. I netted the fish for him and paddled once again to the shoreline where we took a measurement of 26.5 inches which he would later enter into the "Kayakapalooza IV" monthly challenge.  I asked if he wanted to stay longer and he said he was ready to head home.  After loading up we made the trip home filled with excitement and joy of our catches for the evening. It didn't take long, maybe 2 or 3 minutes and CJ was out...asleep possibly dreaming of another adventurous night in the future catching monster cats with his Dad. 

Read 5694 times Last modified on Thursday, 27 June 2013 11:52

Kayakjak’s passion for fishing started as a youngster fishing small freshwater ponds in Southern California and combing the area beaches with a surf rod. Growing up as a military child often put him in new environments with unique fishing challenges. He has lived in Nebraska since 1976 and graduated from college with a teaching degree of which he has put to use educating youth the last 31 years there. He also holds a Master Degree in Educational Administration. Marty is very active helping the youth of his community with various programs including a before school program called, “Early Birds” and other various activities including a State Championship Archery team, youth football, basketball, and fishing in schools program. As Nebraska’s only kayak fishing guide Kayakjak will work hard to provide his clients with a “unique” fishing and learning experience.

Marty Hughes (Kayakjak) is a highly respected and very experienced guide with over 42 years of angling experience. He has fished from a kayak for the past 15 years in Southwest Nebraska lakes and ponds. He has been Featured in NebraskaLand Magazine April 2003 and the Omaha World Herald in June of 2005. Kayakjak’s objectives include events for wounded veterans, environmental improvements, and promoting the interest of kayak fishing in the Midwest. He has organized many kayak fishing tournaments throughout Nebraska. Kayakjak's Outfitters offers professional kayak fishing instruction for any experience level. He can tailor guided trips to meet the needs of a complete novice or more advanced kayak anglers. Guided trips include Emotion Kayaks and all the equipment a person would need for a fun, adventure filled trip! Our goal is to provide for advanced kayak fishing instruction and an excellent outdoor experience for our clients. We are very blessed to offer these services in some of Nebraska's most scenic backwaters. "A Unique Experience, Everytime!"

What others have said:

Spring time in Benkleman has its challenges when it comes to fishing. kJ, Marty or KayakJak, take your pick, he'll answer to any of these names. I'm partial to KayakJak. This is a guy who's passion for the world of kayaking and especially kayak fishing is unsurpassed!
I've had the honor and privilege to have spent 2 days kayaking and fishing with KayakJak. As noted above, spring time fishing has its challenges. I've never met KayakJac live and in person. Talked to him a couple of times on the phone and pestered him for information by email and watched several videos of him on Utube. From the first minute of meeting him, I had the feeling that we had been friends for a lifetime. That's what type of guy he is. No hype and no air about him. KayakJak is the real deal, the Indiana Jones of kayak fishing.
Being new to the sport of kayak fishing, KayakJak's approach to the "newbie" was terrific. He's very professional without the stuffyness that sometimes follows a professional guide or instructor.
Talk about going out of his way to make your trip into a lifetime memory, I swear this guy planted some fish so I could experience what it's like to catch a fish from a kayak. While giving me space to practice some of the tips he had for me, KayakJak scouted ahead and found the hiding places of the ever elusive LMB.
Geez- I've just read thru the above, kinda sounds a little hokie and like he paid me to say the things above, no I paid him! And not near enough for what I got!

Jim B.



# smj190 2013-06-27 15:04
Great article! It's great to see you and your son fishing together!

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