Categorized | Opinion

Monster Catfish & a Last Chance Buck

By Josh Gowan

Carson Aycock, 13, and his dad Jason from East Prairiek, Mo., pose with a 90-pound blue catfish.

Carson Aycock, 13, and his dad Jason from East Prairiek, Mo., pose with a 90-pound blue catfish.

What an amazing week in the great outdoors.
I really appreciate all of the faithful readers bearing with me through the holidays, the blizzard and ice, and the torrential rainfall, it can be tough to squeeze an interesting story from the outdoors when most everyone is firmly tucked indoors.
This week however, I’m loaded (with stories) so let’s get to it!
The “monster catfish” I speak of (which is in the picture) is a 90 pound blue catfish that was reeled in by a strapping young lad if ever there was one, 13-year-old Carson Aycock from East Prairie, Mo.
Carson, along with his dad Jason Aycock and Chris Stephens left early Thursday for a 3-day trip to Wheeler Lake, Ala., which is known for huge catfish. They started midday Thursday and motored to Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant and set up over an underwater pipeline in about 25-30 feet of water. Using the Humminbird Sidescan, they found a logjam behind the pipeline and some shadows that were indicative of big fish.
The guys anchored and got out their new B’n’M Silver Cat Magnum rods armed with Penn 320 reels and Team Catfish Tug-A-War 65 pound braided line, and lowered their baits, fresh cut skipjack on an Eagle Claw 10/0 Circle Hook, held down by a 6 ounce sinker. It only took a few minutes and one of the rods slammed down!
Carson grabbed the rod and powered through a 10+ minute battle with the monster catfish, getting instructions from his dad and Chris. They boated the behemoth and a very happy young man and an extremely proud dad posed for pictures with his trophy fish.
They videoed the entire fight and we’re working on getting it edited now, and will let you know where to watch it when it’s done.
Carson reeled in a 52, 48, and 47 pounder all within the first four hours! They caught a ton of fish during the trip, and finished it with a 65 pounder!
There is nothing like sharing the outdoors with a kid, especially if that kid is your son! Great job guys!
Now to the “last chance buck”. I worked Saturday morning and went out behind the levy in New Madrid County Saturday afternoon for my last deer hunt of the year.
I’ve hunted a lot, and while I saw a ton of deer and filmed a lot, I never had an opportunity at a mature deer and had yet to fire a shot. I borrowed a muzzleloader, attached a video camera, and was in the stand in the edge of the woods with a picked cotton field behind me by 2 p.m. I’d decided to shoot the first deer I saw, because a man can’t live on crappie alone!
At around 4:30, I watched six does walk out into the field, and never fired a shot. As they disappeared into the cotton stalks and fading light, I was mentally kicking myself. A few minutes later I hear more deer coming through the woods, and saw horns. The buck emerged from the woods in a jog, and stopped to face me at around 75 yards. I fired.
After the smoke cleared, I saw a tail bound off in the woods, and felt certain I heard a crash (the sound of a large animal hitting the ground and thrashing).
I waited a while and went down to where I thought the deer was standing, and found no blood with which to trail.
It was unbelievably dark, and there were still deer running around and blowing in the woods, so I backed out and returned in the morning to search.
Overnight I’d nearly convinced myself that the deer was enormous and the scope must have been off, otherwise I should have found blood from the 50 caliber bullet. I’d watched the video and seen where the deer entered the woods, and started my search there. I walked about 10 yards and saw a bright, white belly! He wasn’t enormous, but I didn’t miss, and man did my attitude change!
The wide 8-point wouldn’t score much, but was a good buck, and on my last hunt I couldn’t have been happier! The video is up at

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