by Ron Presley
A cat man mixes business with pleasure.
His mom says he was two years old when he started fishing in a small pond on the family farm. Now he fishes all over the country, but primarily out of Rogersville, TN and Watts Bar Lake. He also makes trips to the James River and fondly recalls the time when his passion was music.
“Music was my life until kids showed up around 18 years ago,” continued Arwood. “I started playing with friends when I was 13. The music grew into a passion. I played in numerous bands from country and funk to metal. It encompassed nine states.”
“Because of my music background and career, I got branded with the nickname Rockstar. Then it took a back seat to life. With kids and new priorities, I rekindled my love for fishing from long ago. Now fishing has grown into an obsession.”
“A few folks on the west coast call me the Hook Pimp,” joked 45-year-old Mosheim, TN angler, Arwood. “I am sure that comes from the name of my business, Hookers Terminal Tackle (HTT). But in reality, I’m just simple ole James.”
Arwood confesses that he has been addicted to fishing from when he first started wading creeks in his youth. He credits his mother for giving him a strong appetite for fishing that has lasted all these years.
“My passion for fishing comes directly from my mother. She was the reason this sport is burned into my brain. She would drive all over looking for anywhere she could fish. I remember fishing in drainage ditches,” joked Arwood.
Anticipation is a big part of the attraction to fishing for Arwood. He recognizes that there are many things that can result when a pole goes down and most of them are good.
“I love catfishing,” said Arwood. “There simply isn’t anything else like waiting on a strike and wondering, is this the new personal best? Could this be a state record or a world record? The anticipation of fishing simply can’t be beaten. I am sure that I will be fishing until I am unable to cast a bait.”
“My favorite target is flatheads,” admitted Arwood. “But we often catch more blues. Blues are much easier. Flatheads offer more of a challenge. They have that ability to soft-bite and steal bait that keeps you on your toes. And in the fight, I love the pure power of flathead.”
His personal best flattie is 46 pounds from Cherokee Lake near Rogersville, TN. His personal best blue is 55 pounds from the James River.
Arwood’s love of fishing in general and his tendency to want to help others landed him in the supply side of catfishing. He started with several top selling fishing hooks and began studying them from the perspective of making them better. He spent countless hours in thought while bending hooks by hand with pliers as he searched for something better. At first, he supplied his creations to friends for their catfishing needs.
“It was September 1, 2016,” recalled Arwood. “That was the official start of HTT. From the previous December to that point, it was a hobby to help a few friends. I was motivated to help them because a popular hook maker refused to sell bulk to the public. So, I designed the Mad Catter and went from there.”
And the rest, as they say, is history. HTT now distributes hooks and other catfishing supplies all over the states with movement toward the world.
“I will have a new shop carrying my gear soon in Canada,” revealed Arwood. “HTT will be on Amazon UK by next spring; I also have reps in the UK and Spain.”
Like most other suppliers, his manufacturing takes place overseas. This leads to his two biggest hurdles in the whole process.
“The biggest challenge to manufacturing is the language barrier and quality control,” offered Arwood. “This is why we are on track to start manufacturing here in the states in about 3 to 4 years. My number one goal is to start manufacturing right here in good ole Tennessee.”
He describes HTT as a 100 percent CPR support company with an eye on environmental issues too.
“We do believe in selective harvest,” said Arwood. “But trophies need to swim away. Environmentally we stay away from stainless steel 99.9 percent of the time. The only exceptions are a few saltwater hooks. Black nickel is safer and less harmful to the fish.”
In the catfish community, James N. Arwood is known for his willingness to help others and his support of catfish related activities. If it has to do with catfishing he is probably involved. His generous contributions to tournaments and other catfish events are unmatched. Personally, he wants to lift catfishing to a higher level.
“I want to be remembered as a man who helped raise the awareness of catfish as a sportfish,” concluded Arwood. “That’s the way they should be recognized.”