Oklahoma Catfish Report – Fishin’ with friends and family

A great day on the Washita River

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The next generation of fishermen – Jeremy Pyle’s grandson, Elias Reed. (Photo by Hanna Pyle)

By Jeremy Pyle, Fishin’ Editor

For a lot of people, the thought of having to travel long distances with a lot of gear to go on a fishing trip sounds like more work than it is worth.

But fishing in Oklahoma doesn’t always require taking long trips. With its many lakes and rivers, our beautiful state offers plentiful places to take the family out, not only to fish, but also to enjoy the wildlife, all while getting some fresh air and some sun on your face.

We decided to try a spot on the Washita River near Chickasha. Located only 40 minutes or so from Yukon, it was a quick drive to get to the spot, and as soon as we got there we could tell the fishing would be nice. Jay Hubbard, one of my best fishing buddies, caught the first two fish on “cut perch” within the first hour of being there. Each was a blue catfish, weighing around 3 pounds apiece.

Using “cut perch,” according to most Oklahoma fishermen, means basically using any sunfish that you can get your hands on, perch or not. From my experience, this usually refers to green sunfish, bluegill, pumpkin seeds or redear sunfish – but I have seen people use carp as bait and call it “cut perch,” so when figuring out what kind of bait any particular fisherman is using, it’s kind of a mixed bag.

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When fishing, try different types of bait to see what they like. If you don’t have a way to catch fresh bait, worms are always good, and also usually easy to find whether by digging in the back yard or at your local bait shop. Just about every fish in the waters of Oklahoma could show interest in a worm.

Another good bait easily purchased at the store is shrimp. On this trip, the medium sized channel cats were interested in the shrimp. We got a lot of bites and several small fish on the shrimp.

If you don’t want to try either of those, even a small chunk of hotdog is enough to get a catfish to show interest, so no excuses on why you can’t get bait to go fishing. After many unsuccessful fishing trips, my son-in-law, Ryan Reed, caught his first fish on rod and reel, and then he also got his second on the same trip – one channel cat and one baby blue cat. Both fish weighed about a pound, both caught on shrimp. He sent them back, after kissing their heads, to get bigger.

My daughter, Hanna, caught a couple of fish on shrimp, including a 2.5 pound channel catfish that we sent home with Jay for the fish fry. My grandson was there with us, toy fishing pole in hand, and at just shy of 2 years old, he is already well on his way to being the next generation of fisherman.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what it is all about – good times, good friends, good family experiences. Oh yeah, and we caught some good fish too.

As the sun began to set, we couldn’t help but notice a river otter playing on the bank a little ways up. I had never seen a river otter in my 14 years here in Oklahoma, so it came as a bit of a surprise. Upon doing some research, I found that they are actually somewhat plentiful in areas of the state.

Although historically they were abundant, their numbers severely declined in the early 1980s until the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation launched a re-introduction program starting in 1984 and continuing through 1985. In the years since their re-introduction, they have spread throughout eastern and central Oklahoma. They are widely known to be a shy, elusive creature, so fishing with an otter so close by was exciting, and I won’t soon forget it.

Once it got dark was when Jay really got to work catching fish. In the span of 2 hours – from 7 until 9 in the evening – Jay’s pole bent down three more times, and each fish was beautiful. 7, 8 and 10 pounds, all blue cats, all on “cut perch.”

By the end, we piled up 6 keepers weighing from 3 to 12 pounds each, found a new spot to fish and got a new fisherman his first catch. We got to see an otter do otter things, got some fresh air in our lungs and relieved the stress of the week. If you haven’t been fishing in a while, take the time to do so. And take the kids with you. They need it just as much as you do.

Until next time, keep on fishin’ in Oklahoma. Take the kids out and get them some fresh air. The next generation of fishermen and fisher ladies depends on it. Thanks for reading the Yukon Progress and for taking the time to check out the Oklahoma Catfish Report- Fishin’ with friends and Family.

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