Bob Mendel: Awaiting to record a blue catfish caught in Lake Belton | outdoor sports

While at Lake Steelhouse Hollow in the middle of the morning on August 6, I got a phone call from a fellow fisherman at Lake Belton.

Randy Bean was calling me because he got what he thinks is a blue catfish registered in Lake Pelton in the catch and release category. Records for fish in this category are based solely on the length of the fish, not its weight.

Brian Worley, Belton Lake catfish guide, suggested contacting me for details on submitting a complete application for a potential record.

As I talked Bane through the process, I explained the three crucial elements: a clear picture of him holding the fish, a clear picture of the fish on a measuring plate with its mouth and tail lobes closed together and clearly displaying the units of the scale and witness to the scale.

With that, we end the call so Bane can work to get these items and get the fish out of his boat’s living well and back into the water. We agreed to contact the base later so I can help him complete the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department application.

Bane has been fishing since he was 8 years old. Ben’s father introduced him to the sport. The two usually traveled to Lake Somerville to fish from the family boat. Bane remembers catching catfish at such a young age, and is really interested in keeping track of this type of fish specifically.

Fast forward 52 years and Bane, now 60, continues to pursue catfish recreationally.

This particular Saturday morning, Bane was created in the shallows. He deployed seven rods, each covered in a cut-off shad, with shad impaled on red Gamakatsu 7/0 hooks on the end end of the Santee-Cooper platform.

The Santee-Cooper platform uses a weight to bring the bait to the bottom, and a small float on a short leader strapped between the weight and hook to lift this bait slightly off the bottom. In Bane’s setting, about a foot of line is left between the weight and the buoy, and about five inches of the line between the buoy and the baited hook.

Bane gear selection included a B ‘n’ M Poles Silver Cat Elite rod mated to an Abu-Garcia 6500 series casting reel. All rods were housed in Monster brand rod holders.

With so many rails spread out, keeping the boat steady is a must. For this reason, not only was Bane attached to a trunk, but both Raptor anchors were deployed in shallow water.

At 9:27 AM, Bane heard a commotion in the nearby shallow water and suspected that a catfish had picked up one of its baits. As he inspected all the rods, quickly determine which rod the catfish was attached to.

During the battle of about 20 minutes that followed, Bane had to constantly pass his stick over or below the other six bars to avoid getting tangled, which he did flawlessly. As the feud continued, the fish were temporarily suspended on a submerged torso, but the 65-pound test cue and the 50-pound test leader were suspended.

Eventually Bane fished the fish out to the side of the boat and put them in the brand’s heavy-duty R ‘n’ S net. However, the game is not over yet. Bane turned out not at his best, and as a result, he made several unsuccessful attempts to get the fish into the boat. On his fourth attempt, Bane finally managed to get the fish over the cannon, only for the nearly straight hook to fall out of the fish’s mouth onto the boat’s deck.

Bani telephoned his wife, Tanya Bani, and told her he had landed a large fish he suspected might be a record; Tell her he’s going to need some help. By the time Bane reached the rendezvous point with his wife, she had enlisted the help of wild hunting guide Brian Worley, fellow huntsman Jerry Dillard, neighbor Keith Morales, nephew Todd Lissenby, and friend Jason Cummins.

The Bane 22ft Flat Bottom SeaArk Aluminum Fishing Boat is made specifically for this species of fish. The boat is equipped with a Suzuki SS 250hp outboard motor and a 36v 112lbs GPS-equipped Minn Kota trolling motor.

The quality of the boat, which has a capacity of 100 gallons, did a great job keeping the fish healthy. The fact that the fish was taken in shallow hot water also means that it has acclimatized to such conditions, unlike fish taken from deeper and colder waters, which can die in the summer months when kept in hot waters.

The assembled crowd helped Bane get the desired photos. Bane blue catfish are 47 inches long. This was only a quarter of an inch longer than the current record for blue pelton catfish.

Later that evening, Penny and I completed his order via a phone conversation. Then you email the unsigned document to him to sign. Bane then emailed the signed application and the requested photos to TPWD who subsequently acknowledged receipt of the application.

If all goes as expected, TPWD will issue Bane certification making him the new holder of the water body record for catching and releasing blue catfish in Lake Pelton.

Contrary to what many fishermen believe, fish that are entered in the catch and release category do not have to be weighed. TPWD specifically eliminated weighing as a requirement for this category so as to reduce the handling time and out-of-water time required to transport fish to an approved scale, place it on that scale, weigh it, and then return it to the water.

Local anglers who need assistance with logging applications or weighing farmed fish can call the Holding the Line Guide Service at 254-368-7411. It has certified scales with a capacity of 60 pounds.

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