MAYFLOWER, Ark. – Do you have a big fish story? A brother-sister central Arkansas duo may well have you beat.
Arkansas Game and Fish is reporting Aug. 17 that Haylee and Logan Applegate caught two huge flathead catfish, each over 50 pounds, while night-fishing in Lake Conway. Their father Roger does not think these two fish, each as long as the young fishers are tall, are not the largest in the lake.
The bait for catching this size catfish? Fish.
Logan Applegate explained to Game and Fish that he and his sister start their fishing trip by fishing for baitfish, bream is preferred. They try to catch hand-sized bream to bait the catfish hooks. The hooks used for this size cat’ are nearly as large as an adult’s hand, just like the baitfish.
Big fish require big equipment, so the hooks are attached to ¼ inch rope which is suspended below a small jug, more like a buoy, which is floated in the lake.
The rope is not especially long, with Lake Conway running about 4 foot deep.
Then they wait, watching the jugs, marked with reflective tape.
Sometimes a jug disappears. Sometimes catfish in this class will pull a jug underwater when it is hooked. Sometimes, Logan told Game and Fish, a catfish will pull a jug under a boat and come up on the other side. From there you pull the jug in, slowly. Too fast and a hook will straighten out. Better to let the fish tug against the buoy until it is worn out.
Roger Applegate, Haylee and Logan’s father, is an avid fisherman. He told Game and Fish he had gotten what he assumed would have been a record-setting catfish up to his boat in the past, before it straightened the hook and swam away.
The record for fish caught on unrestricted tackle in the state is 85 pounds, 6 ounces.