Dec 2016 Why We Catfish

Why We Catfish

Jimmy and Layla prepare to release a nice Santee Cooper blue. Conservation of the catfish is high on their priorities.

Guest Editorial – by Jimmy Holbrook and Layla Ledbetter

Jimmy and Layla prepare to release a nice Santee Cooper blue. Conservation of the catfish is high on their priorities.
Jimmy and Layla prepare to release a nice Santee Cooper blue. Conservation of the catfish is high on their priorities.

Jimmy Holbrook

It’s in my blood. My grandpa catfished and my dad was a catfishermen. There is just something about being out there. It’s no different than having a passion for deer hunting or duck hunting or anything else. Catfishing is something inside us that make us love it.

My dad introduced me to catfishing. He had me out on all night fishing trips when I was barely old enough to walk. I can remember many nights sitting on the bank waiting on a fish to bite. He is the one who started the love for fishing I have today. We mainly bank fished, since we didn’t have a boat. He was a great man and fisherman. Sadly, I lost him when I was only 10. Man, would I love to be able to take him out on Santee for a day!

I catfish because I love being on the water, learning new techniques and catching big fish. I absolutely love the takedown. When they slam the rod over I know that the fish may weigh 80, 90, or on up over 100 pounds.

I also love the competition of the tournaments. It’s real fun getting out there and knowing you’re competing against all these other great fishermen. There are 8 hours that you have to come up with a better game plan than the competition.

I pass my passion on to others by taking them fishing. I have had a ton of different people on my boat the last few years. It’s fun getting to see people catch their personal best and learn new techniques for fishing. Posting pictures and stories of our trips and catches on social media also spreads the word. I like to give tips and advice to new people getting into catfishing.

There are plenty of people to look up to in the sport. I don’t know about one single person, because I look at all these great fishermen and take a little from this guy and a little from that one. Some are lake guys and they can teach you plenty. Some are river guys and they can teach you something else.  I would say I have little bit of a lot of different guys, who are great fisherman, in my tackle box.

Thinking about the future of the sport, I would say conservation of the fish is the most important issue facing us. By taking care of the stock and letting the big ones go we can ensure great fishing for the next generation and also great fishing for ourselves for years to come.

I believe every fish I catch is a blessing and I want to make sure other people have the same opportunity as I did to fish. I believe if we take care of these fish and practice Catch, Photo Release (CPR) anglers in the future will have an even better chance than I did, because the fisheries will be that much better.

A lot of people say, and think, there is enough to take as we please, whenever we want, but if nothing else, the American buffalo should be an example of what happens when we do that. CPR is an awesome way to show off your catch and leave fish for those that come behind us.

Layla Ledbetter

I grew up fishing for bass and bream. When I met Jimmy and first went catfishing with him, I didn’t think he knew what he was doing. I quickly learned that he did. He is the one who introduced me to catfishing. He is the one I look up to in the sport and also in life.

Jimmy is a very patient partner and teacher; he is passionate and always excited about catfishing; he’s fair; and he’s gentle and careful with the fish. He wants to ensuring that they are released healthy.

We like to catch and release, especially the big cats. This is probably one of the most important things to me, along with having a good time and meeting good people. Well, most important of all would be honoring the Lord in all we do, including in catfishing.

Other people see our pictures on Facebook and hear our stories and get interested in what we do. The best way to pass on the sport is to invite someone fishing so they can go with you, have a good time, and learn. When people are interested and have fun they tend to invest their time, money, and efforts into learning more and doing more (fishing on their own). In turn, they have their own pics and stories and they tell more and more people about catfishing and share what they learn.

I started catfishing just to spend time with Jimmy and of course we have a good time together. Fishing is fun. My interest has grown over the years and I have learned new things about the sport. Competing in tournaments, meeting new people/friends, and waiting on the big ones to bite are things that I love. It’s nice to be outdoors doing something you love with someone you love. Parts of it are very relaxing, parts are very exciting. Catfishing is a good, clean (except for the catfish slime) sport!

Epilogue: Santee Cooper Monster Cat Quest

Given his interest in tournament fishing, and his love for Santee Cooper, Holbrook has joined Chris Gaines in developing a new tourney out of Black’s Camp, SC. The Santee Cooper Monster Cat Quest will debut March 31 – April 1, 2017. Fishing begins both days at 6:30 am following blast off at 6:00 am. More information on the Santee Cooper Monster Cat Quest is available on their Facebook page.  “Our goal is to bring an awesome tournament to Santee that anglers can really enjoy,” said Holbrook. “We would like to thank our awesome sponsors that have come on board to help make it possible. If anyone would like to be a sponsor for the tournament get in touch with me (706-466-3868) or Chris Gaines (864-617-5929).”

Why We Catfish Guest Editorial
This column is provided for reader submitted editorials on Why We Catfish. If you have a short story related to why you catfish, you may submit it for consideration and publication in a future issue of CatfishNow. Send submissions of 500 words or less and one or two photos to Ron Presley at
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