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smallfry

I was sure I had a new state record on the line...

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One day after landing a 6 lb smallie (OK, 5.9 lb weighed and measured, but who's counting? ;) ) I hook another good fish.  I had just caught several dink largemouth, so I'm thinking a really good largemouth.  Then it gets a little closer and I see a bronze-ish flash, not a green flash.  Not only that, but the flash looks and and the fish feels much bigger than the fish the day before.  I'm getting really excited as it gets closer and I know this fish is significantly larger and most likely a new state record.  There's a pretty good chop on the otherwise clear 47 degree water preventing me from getting a really good look at it.  And then, just as I get excited thinking "this fish is mine" I work it close enough to see that it is a catfish.  AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaarggghhhh!!!!   I don't fish for cats, so I can't judge accurately but I'm guessing a 10-15 lb cat, which sucks when you thought you had a huge smallie.  I was so distraught that I didn't even do the right thing and bring that catfish home to eat  :-[....

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It happens a lot on the Tennessee river, but you can usually tell it's a cat about half-way through the fight. What's far more exciting/ disappointing is catching a monster buffalo. Buffalo run AND fight just like a smallmouth, except they don't jump. I've caught a few World Record Smallmouth that morphed into buffalo at the boat.

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We have buffalo, but I've only ever hooked one.  Sheephead, AKA freshwater drum, are the usual "darn it" fish around here.  They are more common and will eat tubes, jigs, etc. etc.  I can usually tell if it is one of them right away by the fight.  In 8 yrs. fishing these lakes, that was the first catfish so it took me by surprise.  

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Yep, 90% of our "big fish" turn out to be drum, too!

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I had a somewhat similar thing happen to me.  I was on the Middlefork River (Near Danville, Illinois) and I was fishing for smallies with a small Rebel crawdad.  I had made a cast near some falldowns and after a hald dozen turns of the reel handle had a solid hit.  The fish ran with it and I had to strip line with my left hand to keep from breaking off.  Anyway, I thought for sure I tied onto a record smallmouth (or at least a personal best) when after a good battle, I realized what I'd hooked wasn't a smallmouth but, instead, a muskie.  I wasn't disappointed at all, however.  It was no record, by any means, but catching a 30 inch muskie in some strong current, using a medium action spinning rod with 6 lb line made for a very memorable day.  I realize this is a bass forum and some bassers disdain muskie but I just had to share this anyway.

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I thought I may have had a trophy small stream smallie on about a month ago. I did not have him long or ever see him. But, you've talked me out of it. I was slow rolling a mepps, and catfish will hit that on occasion.

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