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All Things Fishing

The best of fishing and everything related.

Ocoee River Rafting - The Thrill

This isn't fishing but it is on the river. I went on an amazing Ocoee whitewater rafting trip with my sister, nephew and wife. Just wanted to share some of the experience.

Ocoee River Rafting - Info

First just a brief intro and a bit of info on Ocoee River rafting. The Ocoee River is a great place to go whitewater rafting. The water flow is controlled by a series of dams. There is a 10 mile stretch of rapids that you can raft. You can take the full trip or you can take an Upper Ocoee Rafting Trip and a Middle Ocoee Rafting trip. The Ocoee River Rapids are Class 3 and 4. The Upper Ocoee River Rapids is a 5 mile stretch where the 1996 Olympic canoe, slalom and kayak events where held. If you are just starting out you should go for the Middle Ocoee whitewater rafting trip.

Ocoee River Rafting - Getting Ready

As first time rafters we decided to book the Middle Ocoee whitewater rafting trip. Good thing because it was also the only one available for the day that we were going.

On the way to Cherokee Rafting, the guide we used, my sister was a nervous wreck. She was worried about getting tossed out of the raft or something else that could possibly happen. My nephew and I were ready to get there and get going. My wife, I was still a little unsure about how she felt. She had always wanted to go but it appeared she was getting a little worried.

So we made it to the Cherokee Rafting Center and decided to go in and check out the store and get signed in. After signing in we looked around the store. My sister became even more nervous as she started reading the shirts. One said something like "You could die going over the waterfall in a raft, You could die falling out of the raft and hitting a rock, or you can die falling off the couch sitting at home. Looking at the Middle Ocoee whitewater rafting information there are 20 different sets of rapids in the 5 mile stretch. You start reading the names like broken nose, table saw, hell's hole, grumpy, roller coaster... Well I think you get where I am heading. My wife and sister both started to get even more nervous.

Now that we signed in and it's almost time to go we head out to get the gear. Life Jacket... Check Helmet... Check Paddle... Check. Time for the safety spill before we load the buss and head out. This is were it got even more interesting as they explained all of the things that could happen and the ways to save you. Now you can see the worry in their faces. 

Ocoee River Rafting - The Bus Ride to Launch

It has been a long time since I have gone for a ride on a school bus. The seats and aisles are a lot smaller than I remembered, especially with all of the gear on. Off we go headed to put the rafts in the water and guess what? Yep that's correct you can see all of the rapids that you will be going down on the bus trip to the dam where we put the rafts in the water. Plenty of whitewater, protruding rocks, drop offs, stuck rafts, flipped rafts, everything that they were worried about you could see it. I was just waiting on them to bail on the trip now.

Ocoee River Rafting - The Journey

We reach the dam and the guides start unloading the rafts while we sit on the bus and the leader assigns us to a guide. There are seven total groups that will be headed out on this trip.

Our guide, Ryan, takes us through the rules and instruction. We pick up the raft and carry it down the ramp at the dam and prepare to enter the water. The first rapid is named Grumpy. Grumpy is the most dangerous rapid for the entire trip. We were chosen to go first out of the group so we can set up the safety point for our guide to throw the rope to anyone that falls from the raft.

Of course at this point you could really see the worry on the face of my wife and sister.

Off we go into the water and paddling hard to beat the rapids and make it to the safety setup area. My sister starts to scream with excitement as we head down the rapids and my wife begins to chime in. After making it through the first rapid now they become at ease and begin to enjoy themselves. 19 more rapids to conquer!!!!!!

Look out Broken Nose, Hell Hole, Table we come!

We ran smoothly through the rocks and had a blast getting cooled down on the drops as we worked our way down river.

Ocoee River Rafting - The Wrap Up

What an amazing experience we had on our Ocoee whitewater rafting journey. This is on the must do list if you are ever in the area. After the trip my wife and sister were ready to go back and take the full 10 mile run. Thank you Ryan and Cherokee Rafting for a truly amazing experience.

How to Catch Catfish - Noodling or a Hook

So you want to know how to catch catfish? You can cover yourself in algae and chase down the fish like these three guys but I don't really suggest as the best or preferred method. This does however, look close to catfish noodling. The two ways we will be looking top learn how to catch catfish is noodling and several methods that involve hooks.

What is Catfish Noodling

Catfish noodling is something that you will typically see performed by rednecks from the South. It is a method of catching catfish with your bare hands. Biggest things to watch out for when retrieving a catfish with your bare hands are the snapping turtles and moccasins. Some people greatly enjoy the hunt and catch using their bare hands. I prefer the old fashioned rod and reel myself.

Hooking Up

This is a little more my speed when it comes to catching catfish. There are plenty of rigging methods and types of bait to use when it comes to how to catch a catfish with a hook. You can set up a trotline for catfish or us the old rod and reel.

For those of you that do not know what a trotline is I will give you a short intro. Trotlines are made of heavy fishing line that is stretched between two points. This could be weights with some floating markers on each end or tie between two fixed points like trees. There are several hooks attached to each trotline and baited. The trotlines can be set out and left to check latter.

Best Catfish Bait

You will need to know a little bit about the catfish that you are trying to catch to know a little more about what bait to use. One good example is farm raised catfish. Farm raised catfish will bite just about anything you through at them. Catfish are bottom feeder scavengers with a really good since of smell.

All catfish love a good stink bait. They can't resist it. You can buy stink bait from the store or make up some of your own. Most of the homemade recipes contain rotten minnows and chicken liver mixed with other ingredients such as cheese, molasses and corn syrup. If you decide to make your own stink bait make sure you use an old blender and not your blender that you use for your own food.

If you do not wish to use a stink bait you can buy some chicken liver and for larger cats you can use some cut shad or sardines as bait.

Other Great Catfish Baits are as follows.

Night crawlers are great especially a group on a large hook to catch a monster flathead.

Crayfish are another good bait for flathead.

Best Methods for How to Catch a Catfish

If you are targeting flathead catfish it is best to use a method with some movement such as drift fishing or trolling.

For blue and channel catfish I typically rig up with a weight and leave about 2 to 3 feet of line beyond the weight and bottom fish.

If you are in a pond were the fish get fed then you will want to through on a cork and set the bait about 3 feet deep when you are around feeding time. One I was young my Grandfather had a pond that was stocked with catfish. We would load up on catfish using this method when it was getting close to feeding time. If it was outside of feeding time we would fish the bottom.

How to Catch a Catfish Wrap Up

There is some variation in baits to use depending on what type of catfish you are targeting but most of the catfish love a good meal of shad and stink bait. It never hurts to take a variety of baits with you to test what the cats are biting. I have even caught them on hotdogs in the past.

Paddle Board Fishing - True Stealth

Paddle board fishing is one that really takes some skill. If you thought kayak fishing involved skill wait until you try this. Paddle board fishing will test your skills when it comes to balance. When you catch a big fish see how well you can hold on.

Choosing the Right Paddle Board for Fishing

Paddle board fishing continues to grow in popularity. With the increased popularity comes an increased amount of products. There are numerous different types of fishing paddle boards to choose from due to the rapid increase in popularity for this type of fishing.

Normal Stand Up Paddle Board

Stand Up Paddle Board aka SUP

You can purchase a normal stand up paddle board like the one shown above and do some adaption to attach your fishing gear.

Fishing Paddle Board

You can also purchase a fishing paddle board as you see above. It is constructed with tie downs for your cooler, rod holders and a high bar.

You can also purchase inflatable stand up boards or modular stand up paddle boards if you don't have the means to carry around a full size SUP.

Advantages of Paddle Board Fishing

One of the most obvious advantages is you are always standing up and see down into the water. Get some polarized sunglasses and you are ready to go.

Another great advantage of paddle board fishing is the stealth to ease up on the fish without being heard.

The fishing paddle board is great for getting into the flats to fish.

Paddle Board Fishing Tips

- Pay close attention to the weather forecast before you head out. It takes skill to keep balance on the sup in the best of conditions. Heavy winds and waves can make it even more complicated.

- Uses leashes and tie downs to keep your gear safe from lose. If you flip the paddle board without this you can quickly lose it all.

- Use caution around rocky shallow areas or areas that may have stumps or other obstructions just below the waters surface. You can quickly damage your paddle board under these conditions.

- Keep your gear light.

Paddle Board Fishing Conclusion

Choosing the right board will depend on you budget and needs. There are sups to fit any need that you may have. Use caution and start with short trips until you get the hang of things, especially the balance. Paddle board fishing may be that next challenge that you are looking for. Always use caution and enjoy yourself.