Categorized | Opinion

Mother’s Day Catfish

By Josh Gowan

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there!
Hopefully you were all able to relax and enjoy the beautiful day, while the men in your life fired up the grill, slicked off the yard, and took care of the kids! The warm weather looks appears to be here to stay and the fish are enjoying it! Every body of water is producing fish, and it’s a great time to get outdoors before the mosquito’s show up.
Since I have been forbidden to fish for two weeks by my lovely wife, I had to figure out a way to get myself and my family out of the house (and housework) on Saturday. Charlie from Charlie’s Catfish Pond and Bait Shop outside of Kennett, Mo had been in the store a few times and had told me about his place. Growing up, I had a neighbor whose Aunt owned a “Pay Pond” up around Kiwanis, and I always had a blast catching the concentrated, healthy, and hungry catfish up there. It may come as a surprise, but my eight year old son does not really like to fish. It’s mostly my fault, for keeping him and his mom on the boat for hours at a time, regardless of the activity of the fish.
So since I’ve been meaning to get by Charlie’s place, it was a beautiful day, and the action was guaranteed to be fast and furious, I was able to talk my family into the road trip to Kennett. You never know exactly what you’re getting into when you go somewhere new, and I was praying on the way that this place would be nice, otherwise my wife would be unhappy and our trip would be short-lived.
We arrived and as I pulled into the picturesque drive, I immediately heard “Horses!”, “Ducks!”, “Mom check out that dock!”, I was safe!
It’s a beautiful little scene, horses on the right, perfectly manicured pond on the left, bait shop on the bank of the pond, and a big red barn in the middle anchoring the picture. My son, Jameson, was immediately on the run and burning through a list of questions a country mile long. We picked out a little spot on the bank next to a bench, and I cast their poles out while I went to talk to Charlie. He was cleaning fish on the side of the bait shop, which is a service he offers, and told me all about the place.
The cost is $2.50 per person to fish (children under 10, senior citizens, and disabled folks don’t have to pay the $2.50) and $2 per pound for your catch and for a little more he’ll clean them for you. It is well worth it to have Charlie clean them, I’ve dressed a ton of catfish, but to watch him do it, it’s more of an art. He scrubs the meat and removes vains that can give catfish a muddy taste, and leaves nothing to waste. He also sells live catfish for $2.25 per pound and fresh dressed catfish for $3.95 per pound. He was busy all day cleaning fish for Mother’s Day orders. The pond is surrounded by benches, pavilions, and BBQ grills, all open to the fishermen to use.
The pond is re-stocked weekly with catfish, and also has bass, crappie, and hybrid blue-gill, and is just a great place to take kids. The address is 15875 County Road 500 W. in Kennett, and it’s basically just the last paved road turning south before you cross the St. Francis into Arkansas, and there are signs to guide you in. They are open 6 a.m. to dark daily, and can be reached at 573-888-3810. By the way, the tournament between my wife and son ended at  eight fish to six, with my wife the winner, a fitting preempt to Mother’s Day!
This is absolutely the best time to fish, regardless of what body of water. The comfortable temperatures and aggressive fish are drawing out a lot of anglers to the water. The catfishing is amazing right now, from the river to the lakes, and we’re selling a ton of skipjack at Grizzly.
The crappie spawn is on, the bream are prepping for the next full moon in a week and will be on the bed, and the bass are up shallow and active. If you have pictures of big catches, especially with kids, send them to joshmgowan@yahoo.com.

Jameson Gowan poses with a catfish from Charlie's Catfish Pond outside of Kennett, Mo.

Jameson Gowan poses with a catfish from Charlie’s Catfish Pond outside of Kennett, Mo.

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