News from the Tennessee Valley Sports
MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007

If you like eating shrimp, here’s the event for you

Fresh shrimp will arrive in Decatur on Thursday morning from the Gulf of Mexico, but it won’t be going to a restaurant or roadside stand.

This shrimp is destined for the sixth annual North Alabama chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association fundraiser and membership drive to be held at Riverwalk Marina that afternoon.

The shrimp boil fundraiser will provide much-needed resources to help preserve the health of inshore and offshore fisheries in coastal Alabama and surrounding states.

“Because many of us here in North Alabama enjoy the coast so much, we have a responsibility to support the CCA’s efforts to maintain and improve our coastal marine resources,” local chapter president David Thomas said.

Statewide, CCA has approximately 2,500 members.

The CCA is a non-profit organization comprised of 15 coastal state chapters spanning the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic seaboard.

The CCA began in 1977 in response to what it considered drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast.

Beginning at 6, the shrimp feast, raffles, and live music will begin. There will be silent and live auctions plus door prizes.

One of the auction items is a four-night, two-day fishing trip to Mazatlan, Mexico, where the winner and guest will stay at the Balboa Club.

Tickets for the event are $45 per couple, and that includes one annual membership to CCA.

For more information, call 256-476-1477 or 256-998-0057.

Catfish rig

After writing a question-and-answer column recently, I was flooded with more questions the next day from local outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the more interesting questions involved how to rig a catfish Carolina-rig. This rig is designed to catch catfish 10 pounds and under but on occasion it may handle some of the larger cats that swim the Tennessee River.

The 10-pounds-and-under anglers are generally what I call casual catfishers. But you will find that there are plenty of fishermen who go out with hopes of setting new catfish records, which could go well beyond the 100-pound mark. The equipment they use normally is designed for catching large saltwater species.

There are many different ways to put together a catfish Carolina-rig.

The one I used is generally tipped with live minnows for bait.

The size of your weight depends on the depth of current of the water you are going to be working.

I prefer to use flats weights or elongated or curved tube weights as they don’t seem to hang-up as much, and if you are fishing rock or concrete structure, chances are that you will hang-up several times.

The catfish rigging I use is designed to lose only the weight instead of the entire rig if you become seriously snagged.

I attach my line (20-pound test monofilament or stronger or fortified braided line) to a three-way swivel. On the other two swivels, I attach my weight and my bait.

On the weight side, I usually tie on about 12-to-18 inches of 10-pound test mono. I then attach my weight which is again chosen with current conditions in mind. If the weight gets snagged, you should be about to break the 10-pound test line fairly easy, keeping everything else in place.

On the last swivel loop, I attach about 36 inches or longer of heavy-duty leader line (usually the same as my regular fishing line in strength) and a heavy-duty live bait hook.

A lot of people think you have to use an enormous sized hook to catch catfish, but that just isn’t so.

Smaller live bait hooks work well as does long-shanked hooks which allows for easier hook removal. I like the live bait hooks which allows the live minnow to swim about in a more frantic mode.

With the minnow swimming this way, it attracts the attention of catfish, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and other aggressive species.

You want to be sure and have extra terminal tackle on hand in case you break off your entire outfit.

Also, a good pair of needle-nosed and regular pliers and a large net can come in handy as well as a few towels and a pair of work gloves.

Something else I like having around is a small radio as music and catfishing go hand-in-hand.

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Paul Stackhouse
Paul Stackhouse

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