MUDCATTING: A FISH TAIL

JUN 25th | TODAY IS:

NATIONAL CATFISH DAY – When I was a little girl, my father took me and my brother mudcatting, a term for cat fishing commonly used by my folks. On a dark night, we travelled to nearby Lake Scugog to meet with my mother’s uncle. We climbed into his tin can (a small aluminum boat with an equally small outboard motor) and headed into a swampy bay of the lake.

Once there, we dropped our worm bobs over the side of the boat. A worm bob is a collection of worms on a string that is tied into a ball. My mom was a bit of a tomboy and had no problem making these ball o’worms with my dad. The bobs were tied to a rod and used as bait.

Mudcat, as we called them, live on the floor of the lake in the mud. They are bottom feeders and therefore have wide mouths to hoover up their food. I assume their cat-like whiskers were to avoid obstacles like a real cat. That may or may be true but that has always been my story and I am sticking to it.

Dad would put an empty bucket in the middle of the boat. There weren’t any hooks in the bobs as the catfish would just suck onto the worms. Dad would give us a quarter if we could get the fish into the boat and drop it in the bucket. It wasn’t as easy as it sounded as most times the fish would let go as soon as we got it over the edge of the boat. We were lucky if we got one or two quarters in one night.

Mudcatting was mostly exciting for me as it was late at night and we were never awake when it was really dark in the summer.

Good times, good times.

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