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CATFISH SURFIN' or CAT SURFIN' (as we call it)

(Jim Horan 7/99)  Copyright ©   All Rights Reserved.

Over the years we have been experimenting with the ultimate methodology to utilize while fishing for large Catfish (Channels, Blues, Flatheads). We are now prepared to reveal to the world our findings as we offer up this document to the betterment of mankind as well as most of the rest of the human race. As we go forth in revealing this amazing discovery, please know that absolutely no Federal grants were involved, nor any other form of public funding.

To begin we had to overcome one of the really big problems facing humanity. Locating really BIG Catfish. There was no sense in spending countless hours, days, weeks or actually any unit of time, fishing where they didn't exist. Buck Perry used to say, "Don't fish where they ain't." That seemed to make a lot of sense to us, so we abandoned our research on the 1/2-acre pond we had selected for study. It just didn't seem probable to us that this would hold vast numbers of really huge Cats, even though it was almost 3 ' deep, especially after a good rain. We owe Ol' Buck thanks for putting us on a better path and saving us lots of time units in finding the ultimate solution to this life quest.

Once we had located a suitably large enough body of water, the next challenge was to determine just where these beasts hung out. That answer was partially the responsibility of our Bride of 30 years. She had just purchased a pair of panty hose. Upon opening the package she pulled out what appeared to be a defective product. They had 3 legs! It was immediately apparent to us that this was indeed the beginning of the road to righteousness, as we snatched the defective, though creative product, from her and ran to the research station.

Next we learned that upon occasion large Cats would partake of Shad as a preferred and staple part of their diet. Thus, we discarded all of our Asparagus Tips and Bean Sprouts, which we thought were an excellent food item but really hadn't produced well as a Catfish attractant. We went out to gather Shad. Our reasoning went that we needed to "chum" an area, yet must be able to have visual confirmation that the Cats were indeed present. Therefore we could not just drop the Shad into the lake and chance having it sink to the bottom, to be consumed out of sight by God knows what.

Our plan was similar to an approach that had failed prior. Previously we had duct taped the Asparagus to the prop as we reasoned the fish would have to be seen to actually fetch this enticement from the prop, since we had a short shafted prop. However, neither the Asparagus nor the Bean Sprouts gave us intellectual relief. This time however, we would crush up the Shad in a blender, in a manner not totally dissimilar to the "Bass-O-Matic" of the 70's. We then would pour the blended product into all 3 legs of the panty hose and insert a blade of the prop into each leg. Then we secured this "package" to the prop ensemble with duct tape, which we consider to be the most significant invention of the 20th Century or any other century for that matter. And then it was off to the lake.

Well, as in all truly great inventions, there are small kinks that must be worked out. We won't take you through all of those, but will reveal the conclusions and the necessary procedures that will spare one and all from suffering the most common mishaps.


One must troll at a slow rate of speed.

Upon feeling a "bump", one must stop the motor and examine the prop.

If 1 blade is "bent", disregard and proceed on awaiting another "bump".

If 1 blade is missing, it indicates fair size Cats are in area.

If 2 blades are missing, this pretty much tells us the "right" size Cats are present.

If all 3 blades are missing we found it best to get the hell out of the area, as these Cats are  just too big to be messed with.

Now that one has determined suitable sized cats are in the area and are feeding, one can go about the truly revolutionary method of Cat Surfin'.

Further investigation by our Metallurgical Research team revealed that for a Cat to properly metabolize the prop blades, they needed to come to the surface and inhale sufficient oxygen to oxidize the material of their recent feeding. Next comes the tricky part.

One should realize that to enjoy the highest success rate of Cat Surfin', after the occurrence of the propeller dismemberment, one should seek relatively quiet water, for better visualization of the surfacing Cats.

Quietly paddle (you no longer have a working prop on your motor) the boat into still waters and await the appearance of the big fellow. They often times can be seen approaching via a trail of bubbles following them. These are created due to certain gastric-intestinal disturbances brought about by their recent feeding habits. This would be much similar to what our Cat Butkus discovers to his dismay, after we dine on a fine supper of Red Beans and Cabbage.

Once the Cat surfaces and you have sidled the boat next to the fish, you launch yourself quickly off the bow of the boat with the intent of landing squarely along its back, head to head. The hands should immediately grasp onto the pectoral spines in a very firm and confident manner. This is key as they enable the Cat Surfer to guide the Cat and generally prevent being taken down 30 feet for a prolonged period of time, …LIKE A DAY OR 2! Just to cover our tail and satisfy our legal department, we'll repeat…THIS IS IMPORTANT. Prolonged periods of time to be under water for most folks, of child rearing years and those of retirement age, may be injurious to one's health. As in, "One more white shirt will do you"!

We must now refine the techniques to gain maximum enjoyment and points. At this juncture one should come to the instant recognition that you too are now Cat Surfin', but there has to be a "next". There is. The object is now to steer the Cat to shore, where you will dismount, release the Cat in a safe and humane manner and be awarded the maximum of 10 points. It sounds all too simple. Yes, there are a couple of complications that can befall even a skilled Cat Surfer.

To complete our truth in advertising obligations we will make note of a few pitfalls that possibly could crop up and thus prevent one from achieving the maximum points.


  1. If the Cat should twist at the instance of propelling oneself off the bow and one found oneself the opposite of head to head, we would suggest you could either "guide" with toes curled around pectoral barbs or release the fish and accept a failed attempt. If one persists in surfin' the Cat in an inverted position, one should recall the before mentioned "trail of bubbles". There is no shame in releasing the Cat and securing the ability to face another day. Of course no points will be awarded for early release.
  2. If one should misjudge the distance or angle of the leap to the Cats back one must appreciate there may be consequences. One such effect could involve having the erect first spine of the dorsal fin pierce a ventricle. You should always bear in mind that pain is simply mind over matter and you do in fact have another perfectly good ventricle on the other side of the heart. If Surfer should emit ear-splitting sound waves, 2 points must be deducted for disrupting the esthetics of the moment.
  3. Similar to #2, is the occasional piercing of a lung by the erect dorsal spine. Again the same admonitions apply, with certain aspects as a trade off. Our research staff concluded that water is heavier than air. Therefore when one lung releases all it's air and fills with lake water, one has a slightly higher advantage as one is forcing the Cat to carry more weight. This will tire the Cat faster and allow for an easier "breaking". However, in this happenstance, 1 point must be ducted. It is "suggested" in both #2 and #3, disengagement from the fish when reaching shore should not be conducted until the proper Medical Emergency folks are at the ready and the transplant team is in place.
  4. Lastly a fluke that almost never takes place, but which is listed in the Official Cat Surfin' Manual. If a participant should engage in any illicit or licentious behavior with or without the Catfish's consent in less than 4 feet of water and in public view, a disqualification shall occur. A disciplinary committee shall be formed to determine the participants future in the sport of Cat Surfin'. This is a family oriented activity and measures must be taken to preserve it as such.

There is yet much to be explored and added to this magnificent sport of Cat Surfin'. While we have no doubt future generations will add variations and acrobatics, i.e. 1 1/2-Gainer from a Tuck position before landing atop the Cat. The basic premise of always caring for the Cats in a sensitive and loving manner must prevail. This document was not meant to expound on the totality of possibilities in exploring this new sport. Instead we offer this as a Beginners path to ease into the sport in a calm and relaxed manner. If Novices are put off by some of the possible "Pitfalls" listed, we're sorry. Bear in mind that planing has always carried the day and some of the most successful Cat Surfers have even gone so far as lining up and identifying possible organ donors beforehand.

Get it on, all you Cat Surfers!