Jerry Drawdy is shown here with a 43-pound catfish he caught on Lake Moultrie (Santee Cooper) in 2018. His passion for catfishing led him to create a business related to fishing
Why We Catfish: A Guest Editorial
Pulling back from a long dark road
by Jerry Drawdy
My parents taught me how to fish from an early age and I’ve loved it ever since. One of my best memories from childhood was when I caught my first personal best catfish. My parents and I made a trip to Santee Cooper. We had just arrived and my dad was busy setting up our camper.
I went straight to the bank to try my luck. As soon as I threw out my bait, a fish hit it hard! I reeled for what seemed an eternity to get it in. When I finally pulled him out it was the biggest catfish I had ever caught! I ran back to the camper beaming with pride and excitement to show my dad what I had caught.
My dad was a huge influence and he always let me tag along when he went fishing. He taught me everything I know, and I’ll always cherish those fishing trips.
I fished my first catfish tournament when I was only 7 years old. I came in 2nd place and won a bunch of tackle from the local tackle store and had my picture published in the local paper. From then on, I was hooked!
When I was 14, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and later had a massive heart attack. He couldn’t do the things he loved to do anymore so he laid in his bed for nearly two years before he passed away.
I was heartbroken that my hero, my fishing partner, my dad was gone. The experience threw me into a deep depression.
My dad left me his boat after he passed. But I couldn’t imagine going out in his boat without him. It took some time before I would even attempt to take the boat out again.
Eventually I worked up the nerve and went catfishing. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, it was like a light bulb finally clicked on. I felt closer than ever to my dad out there on the water that evening and every evening after that. Fishing helped pull me out of the dark depression that I had been in.
On the morning of September 6th, 2016, I woke up to find my wife had suffered a heart attack in her sleep. She was only 42 years old. The days after that seemed to blur together. I was heartbroken and numb. She was my first true love, the mother of my child, the person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.
That dark depression soon began to creep back up. Immediately after my wife’s passing, I started fishing again every second I could find. When I wasn’t working, I was fishing, and I truly believe that was a big part of what saved me from going back down a long, dark road.
I was fortunate enough to be given a second chance at love. About a year later I met Maggie, now my wife. We both enjoy fresh and salt-water fishing and we take our kids, nieces, and nephews as often as we can. We have 4 kids, Kenneth 24, Jayden 15, Ava 12, and we welcomed a new baby boy into the world on December 9th, 2018 who we named Lathan Wayne.
We try to instill the importance of conservation, including catch and release, to our kids. It’s always been a priority. We talk with them often about angler ethics, such as fish anatomy and the proper way to handle fish. We want them to appreciate and respect nature. When in the great outdoors we emphasize a “leave no trace” ethic. And with regards to harvest, we believe you should keep only what you eat.
Soon after our son’s birth, I started fishing in some local catfish tournaments and always seemed to finish at the back of the pack. So, wanting to improve, I started researching catfish and the way they fed. That research led to a new product.
I played around with a few prototypes and soon designed the very first Bloodline Drift Weight. It is a weight that releases scent as you drift. The next tournament came around and I could not wait to try the prototype. I was amazed when I won the tournament with the help of the drift weights.
In 5 months, I won 3 tournaments and never finished less than 5th in the others. My wife and family encouraged me to patent my invention and we started selling the first Bloodline Drift Weight.
The feedback we received was astonishing! It was then that my wife and I realized that we may be onto something. We got our business license, opened our online store, and started selling our products. We have since designed 7 more Bloodline products and our own Bloodline Scent. We have a great Pro-Staff Team and we have sold our products to people from all over the country.
So, what has fishing done for me? Everything. It’s saved my life multiple times by bringing me out of depression and it’s given me a new business. Fishing is my passion. Fishing is my everything!