Eric Altemus Catfish Tournament
On Saturday, June 10, 2016 I fished the Eric Altemus Catfish Tournament with Timothy Smith.
The day started early, by 5:30 we were launching the boat at Bo Vista Marina. Around 6 the check in officials arrived and cleared us to start fishing, we were in position and baited up for the lines in at 7am. Our first spot only produced a few 5lb. catfish, so we moved a few hundred yards east and caught a few more. We left these shallow water areas and moved to a channel edge in 20 ft. of water. Here we caught several decent fish including this 10lb. 4 oz. Blue Catfish.
This fish hit the Fresh Bunker with wild abandon and made an impressive first run. It fought very well in the heavy current. When we landed it, the stress of the fight caused her to release her eggs in the bottom of the boat. I was looking for a plug or something to stop the weight loss of the fish. We placed the fish in the livewell and she stopped releasing her eggs.
Soon after the wind changed and was directly opposed to the tide and made it hard to fish the baits with the boat swinging wildly on the hook. We looked at several other spots with no better success so we ran back to the dock and weighed in our fish. The big cat weighed in at 10 lbs. 4 oz. had she not dumped a pound of eggs on the floor of the boat this fish would have been in the money of the top 3 fish.
The bait was running low, so after weighing in the fish we ran across the Bohemia River to a spot Timothy showed me and I drove the boat while he cast netted a handful of Gizzard Shad and some small White Perch. By 1:30 pm we were fishing again.
We went straight to a channel edge in 20’ of water miles from where we fished earlier; this spot had nearly the exact same conditions as the place where we caught the bigger fish this morning. Now, wind and tide were together the current was ripping and the catfish were snapping. We experienced the fastest action of the day right here just a couple miles from the ramp. This was our “Hail Mary” maneuver to try and place a winning fish on the board. We caught a load of fish here including a 7 lb, and an 8 lb.6 oz. fish but could not beat the fish we already weighed in… At 3pm we pulled our lines and headed to the tournament for the festivities.
This is a great local tournament! It was named after Eric Altemus who passed away much too early with heart disease. His brothers and family decided to create the tournament to honor his memory, raise money for Eric’s favorite charities and promote fishing which was his most loved pastime. To this date the tournament has raised over 25,000 dollars for the American Heart Association and Paws for People. I never met Eric or “Big E” as he was called by his friends but I can’t help but think he is smiling down on us seeing what a wonderful thing has been created in his name. So many anglers, little kids, teenagers, old men and families all fishing… and having great fun! Yea, I think he would have liked it!