Monster Blue Cats on the Big Muddy
Bob Crosby and Johnny Cumberland display a monster cat that Cumberland caught recently on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg. Crosby specializes in catching monster blues on rod and reel.
Photo by Michael O. Giles
Have you ever caught a big fish? I mean a really big trophy. Big is sometimes relative when you’re talking about fish. A big bream might weigh a pound, a big bass may weigh eight pounds plus, and a big catfish say 20 pounds. Catching bream, bass and catfish on rod and reel combos is challenging and fun indeed. But have you ever thought about catching a catfish as big as a man? Bob Crosby has, and does it regularly.
Crosby is the King of the Blue Cat Guides on the Muddy Mississippi at Vicksburg. It’s no contest; Crosby is just that good at locating and catching monster blue cats, and with rod and reel no less. I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Big Muddy with Crosby and Johnny Cumberland in search of a monster cat. They say the proof of the pudding is in the tasting and I wanted to sample a bit of Bob Crosby’s magic on the river, so we set up a trip.
“Mike, I’ve been fishing the river about 10 years now and I’ve learned a few things about catching monster cats, as well as how and where to catch them,” Crosby said. “We have a lot of days when we’ll catch a few in the 20 to 30 pound range and occasionally a 40 pounder.” While many people catch big cats on trotlines and jugs around the country, few do it Crosby’s way and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at catching one on a rod and reel. As Crosby launched his boat and we headed upriver towards a honey hole, the eastern sky burst out in a brilliant array of pink, orange and blue, as the morning sun rose, illuminating the shimmering water’s surface. We weren’t in heaven, but it seemed mighty close.
Crosby graphed the bottom as we arrived at our first hole and the LCR lit up with big fish right along a 40 foot ledge. Crosby anchored in 40 feet and we prepared to catch a cat. “Mike, we’ll anchor here and fish in 70 feet of water, that’s where the big ones live and feed,” said Crosby. A few minutes later we pitched out a few skipjacks and let them drift down to the bottom. Wham- one of the rods almost tore out of the rod holder as a big cat took the bait. I reared back on the rod and drove the steel hook deep into the jaws of a big cat. A few minutes later, Crosby netted my first blue of the day, a nice 17 pounder.
Johnny Cumberland wasted little time as he tied into a big cat of his own, almost the size of the one I’d landed. Crosby quickly released both fish and we continued to catch and release more blues, while waiting on that big one.
Bam! Zzzzzz, zzzzzzzz screamed the casting reel as something crushed a skipjack and dove for the bottom. Cumberland set the hook and held on for dear life, as the monster cat stripped off line. Seconds, turned to minutes and it was obvious this was no ordinary cat. Could it be that a shark had come up the Mississippi from the Gulf? Probably not, but the fish was fighting like a monster shark, and Cumberland just battled with all of his might.
After what seemed like an eternity the water erupted and a massive catfish wallowed on the surface. It was still nip and tuck and Cumberland and Crosby had a big problem, the shark sized catfish was too big for the net! Crosby finally worked the huge net under the tail of the fish and we grabbed hold and hoisted the trophy cat into the boat. The big blue weighed nearly 70 pounds and was almost too big for Crosby’s hand held digital scales.
If you have never caught a trophy fish on a rod and reel then you might want to give Crosby a call because the cats are running now. Guide Bob Crosby’s very friendly, helpful and will provide everything needed to help an angler catch the fish of a lifetime. If you want to experience a little touch of Mississippi Magic on the river, then contact Bob Crosby at 601-953-5767, or online at http://www.bluecatguideservice.com/, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might just catch the fish of a lifetime in the process.