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#12847797 - 07/30/18 11:57 PM Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant"
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Bryan, Texas
top portion Posted over on Cameron's "Some Fork Flathead" thread-

G Love noted ...
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Originally Posted By: Catfish Lynn
Forgot to add that you would be amazed as to how many use the calendar since I got on TFF. July calendar currently has over 500 hits.

Currently, I too am trying to catch one I nicknamed "The Giant", a big Yellow I estimated at about 115#. However, after my encounter with it on Saturday late afternoon May 5th (Cico de Mayo), 2018, I might need to amend that somewhere between 115 to 150#. While I have never seen it, one of my students is the only one who has.

Since I do not have the 14' MonArk up & running, I may have to rig up the new Alumacraft 12 footer with a side pontoon to make sure "The Giant" does not roll the boat over. Had it not broke the leader, I might have found out if it could turn the boat over. If I can get the rig set up, and Lake Limestone does not get too low before I get back, I just may catch it before the Fall.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you got the lead on a 100+ Flathead, I'll bring my Bluewave just so you can catch it. He won't roll that.

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Some of you have heard my Tale (Tail) of "The Giant", a really big YellowCat (Op). I decided to start a thread and share as I can & update you on the Quest.

Some of you may not know, but I discovered a pattern of YellowCats which led to my Catfish Calendar. I post the monthly calendar every month. Sometimes, I get time to put together a printed version. By using the Calendar, I first encountered "Big 'Un" (of which I felt was a big Op) from that foggy Friday morning in August 1983 with Jimmy (my first Father-in-law), of which almost took me down under on the Trinity River (some 25+ bends down from the TX 21 bridge). By using the calendar, I stayed after it & it looked like it was definitely a big Yellow, as to its feeding pattern. I finally pulled it in almost 2 years later- early July 1985, with my 5 year old daughter (Kristina) who was camping & fishing with me.

Anyway, another has caught my interest over the past few years- "The Giant" in Lake Limestone based out of Running Branmch Marina (as to Phase 2 of the Catfish Calendar research. Naturally, I habve been delayed due to life & its twist & turns, such as


The only one that has seen it, was James S. I think that was between 2008 & 2010. That night as they were running their trotline, it's head bobbed up. James said there was nothing but head in the spotlight. I never asked him to try & define just how big that might be. Guessing with a tape measure right now, I am going to estimate that it could be about 18" or more. He yelled for his Dad (Jeff) to throw him the dipnet. Naturally Jeff replied asking what they had. James told him to hurry. By the time James got the net, it headed down under. But its tail came up out of the water (as if to wave goodbye). James said the tailspan was at least It took the leader, hook, and I forget if it broke the swivel. They were using either Eagle Claw 9/0 offset bronzed J hooks or Mustad 9/0 SS Triple strength short J shank stump hooks. They had hooked two weighing in at 62 pounds each there. Within maybe 100 yards from there, one lady caught an 82 pounder on her lines. The opposite direction within 30 to 50 yards, the biggest I pulled in has been a 57 pounder.

I've had it on my lines quite a few times but never got it to the surface to see it. What it does, is get caught, and just "hangs" around. If you arouse it, it just heads off like a tractor in low gear, until the hook gets yanked out of it, or it spits it out.

On May 5th (2018), I felt a tug on the main line & thought something akin to 10+ pounds as I had just started on one end of the line. But as I went farther (closer), it was apparent that I had a 25 to 30 pound Op. But within two leaders, that changed as it was really starting to pull, I figured we are looking at a 50 to 60 pounder. As I arrived to the leader that had it, it had already brushed the bottom of my new 12 footer. When it dove that last time, it clicked & I knew- Uh-Oh! It's the Giant. Then my leader popped. The hook was gone. But it did not break my Crane 4/0 SS barrel swivel. I was thinking I had size 36 green solid braid cord, but it revealed it had a core & was not solid braid. I have not had a chance to track back as to where I got it. Anyway, I am setting up 3 strand twist green size 60 for leaders for it in ther future. Sadly I do not know what hook was on it. Obviously, it did not tear out or get spit out. I was using an assortment.

What's ironic, is that I had looked at the line & where I placed it, thinking I did not have it in its normal path. But after the encounter, I took another look & realized it hit where I hung it one other time. My uncle was with me. Of course, we were in the 14 footer back then.


Current record in Lake Limestone was 107# YellowCat from a throwline. I think the state record YellowCat is from Lake Livingston for about 113#. It has been awhile since I checked.

Also, on My 6th, Sunday, I and some other YellowCat fishermen were told by Nancy at Running Branch Marina that the biggest Catfish she had seen, was in 2002 (I did not start fishing there until July 4th Trp in 2002. She said a little old man had caught one in the lake. She said he was carrying it around in the back of his pickup, showing it to people. Not sure what the size of his pickup was. The big Yellow was bent aound, in order to fit in the bed of the pickup. Nancy said she did not find out how he caught it, much less how he was able to get it in a boat by himself.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#12851990 - 08/03/18 09:03 AM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Sumfish Offline
Angler

Registered: 12/11/06
Posts: 455
Loc: Weatherford
PM sent.
_________________________
?t=1342397301

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#12852926 - 08/03/18 08:57 PM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Sumfish]
snowyriver6 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/19/08
Posts: 2363
Loc: austin

I'd give anything to see that one.

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#12853935 - 08/04/18 10:58 PM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Just a brief for the night.

I got the PM. I'll try & touch base Sunday or Monday night. Even though work has slowed down, projects here at home have not. I am still working on corner side room edition to the building I built inside our teardrop looking circle drive. The fish gear buckets, life jackets, seat cushions, bait-n-small fish tub, and the 12 foot boat tub (gear for the new 12 footer) will be going inside it when completed. Maybe even room for the dipnets (6) & small hand gaffs (3) in it too.

Like I said, I have estimated "The Giant" at about 115 pounds due to the brief description by JS (James S.). And that was possibly 10 years ago. I plan to go back thru my noters to see if I can peg about when they first encountered it. His Dad Jeff, may not have seen it (head or tail), but JS did.

One time I was setting a trotline nearby. I had set the main line, the weights, and water bottles. I forget if I was putting leader & hooks on, along with baiting it with fair sized perch. Or had just finished putting the leaders (with hooks already on them, then reversing putting on the perch. I was in the 14 footer wide Mon Ark w/ 25 HP Evinrude. I was about on the 10th or 11th hook, when all of a sudden, something hit the line & was heading the direction I had started baiting from. It took boat & me back some 10 to 15 feet, at minimum. I realized it was "that" one, as I had never been taken for a ride like that lengthwise with the main line. Then there seemed to be a relaxation of the maim line, the boat & I headed back the direction I was heading to while baiting. Rats! I thought, it must have gotten off, as it seemed it was going one way, and was not planning to stop. Just nice & steady, as if in low gear like a tractor.

I decided to back up & see the damage. Well, "The Giant" (TG) hit the very last hook. I use brass trotline brads. I think this line had 3/0 Brass barrel swivels (no clips, as they come out on big cats). So far, nothing has broken these. It took the leader & hook to a knotted loop (where a weight was) 3 feet past where it was set. It obviously got hung as it ate the perch, slid it to the loop, and finally, due to its strength, ripped away from the hook. I was trying some new 6/0 Mustad SS "J" hooks on this line. Yes, it bent it out some. Size 36 green 3 strand twist main line & leader lines.

Jeff & JS had it hit their lines a few more times thru mid 2011 (just before the big drought which had the lake 10 feet low during my swim on Turkey Day. Where we encountered "TG" was now dry, as it is about 8 feet to about 11 feet, as to the depth range.

Of course it also hit my lines as well. I had it hit further back towards near where it took me for that ride lengthwise with the main line. And I had a few leaders on that time towards the end that were the Brass 3/0 3 way Swivels. It snapped the swivel stem (joint) and left the remaining portion behind. Leader & hook were gone.

Another time, me & my Uncle James (JW), we started running the line set in the same manner from the end where the 3 way brass swivel had broke. I thought I felt something, and raised the line some. It was then that down further, the main line started veering to the right, nice & steady, just like low gear of a tractor, without speeding up or slowing down. Then, it started easing back to the direction it was set in. I told my Uncle. Well, "TG" seems to get caught easily, but does not want to stay that way. On May 5th, it was in this same area of its path. I now have a better idea of its path.

I can imagine that "TG" probably has many artificial whiskers around his/her mouth, as to all of the leaders & hooks it has taken.

Anyway, I do not think I can get back for another month. And Lake Limestone is currently 3 feet low, so "TG" should still be there running its path it always takes. It will probably still be there at 4 feet low. But coming out of Running Branch will be a problem, so that narrows it down to 3 other ramps. Unless of course we get some rain. There is also a chance we get hit by a hurricane in the next month. Very unstable conditions West & East USA can cause one to come up from the Gulf.

But if it gets drier & the lake gets 5 to 6 feet low, "TG" will move until the water level returns. And sadly, I do not know where it hung out when Limestone was 10 feet low in 2011/2012.

The important thing was to make sure "TG" was still there. Which I can say, Yes, without a doubt. I did not think anybody had caught it yet. But the way it popped my leader (which I did know it had a core, as it should have been solid braid), I think I need to revise my estimate to range from 115 pounds up to 150 pounds. Sadly, I was using a mix of hooks & did not record which one it might have been. Obviously, the hook held this time, on May 5th. With that said, I need to get a 175 to 200 pound weight scale & get it certified. This might not be just the Lake Record, but the State record, at least one that is certified.

Any suggestions for a portable one with that range & affordable cost?
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#12854226 - 08/05/18 10:16 AM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Catfish Lynn]
snowyriver6 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/19/08
Posts: 2363
Loc: austin
never been to limestone. Is running branch too low for a 19 ft cc

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#12855967 - 08/06/18 10:27 PM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Catfish Lynn Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Some camp at Running Branch & just run their boat & trailer up to the Public boat ramp (noted as Park 2 now) up at the north end of the lake (on the west side just below the FM 3371 bridge. If heading north on FM 937, you just pass the turn to Running Branch Marina on LCR #740 (it is 2 miles from FM 937).

One group of 5 was doing this and set lines out at the north end of the lake and was doing quite well. I think the biggest Yellow was around 45#. They caught quite a few & were fishing with perch. Unless RB has found a new source, they have not been able to get any lately. It has to do with some sort of regional rules.

For a big boat, I forget if you might be able to ease out from RB or not at 3 feet low. It would be best to call & ask Ronnie or Nancy. RB Marina 254-729-5474

Back in April, when the lake was down some (full is 363.0) it was slightly low in the camping areas of RB, but big boats could get out no problem then. It is possible, a 14 foot flat bottom could get out at 3 feet low. But if it drops further, say 3.5 it is iffy. At 4 feet low, it would probably have to be a 12 footer or kayak or canoe.

And "The Giant" resides about 7 to 10 minutes of "puttputt" speed from RB, as it is a big No Wake Zone before cranking it on up. If you were to drop in at the North end at Park 2, it would be a little ride to go to the bottom of the lake & hang a right across the bottom of the lake, then head up the Running Branch fork.

If the public ramp by the Ranger & Game Warden station is still open (noted now as Park #1). You would turn at the bend on FM 937 that has signs to go to the Sterling C. Robertson dam. You would turn on RCR #480. It is a 3 county lake. It is also a Game Warden training lake.

If RB store does not have the big lake map for sale, ask Ronnie or Nancy if they have one of the newer BRA maps. It is not as detailed, but at least gives you a main view, as well as the many roads around the lake.
_________________________
Lynn
aka "Catfish"

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#12866518 - 08/16/18 02:25 PM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Catfish Lynn]
Fly Fishing Scout Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 06/12/18
Posts: 124
Loc: Bells TX
I love stories like this!!!!

It’s aweosme how people can share stories and not receive criticism or questions.

Thank to everyone for sharing!

Duane

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#12866662 - 08/16/18 04:50 PM Re: Catfish Tales/Tails: "The Giant" [Re: Fly Fishing Scout]
snowyriver6 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/19/08
Posts: 2363
Loc: austin


Theres a 100+ lb flathead at navarro mills too. I'v had him on twice but couldnt get him in. I know his area and its place. People dont fish often in that area.

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