I've tried for White Catfish twice before and came up empty, I was presented a 3rd opportunity and squandered it. The White Catfish eventually took the forefront in my mind with the likes of the Mud Sunfish (and in the past the Northern Snakehead) as the new official grudge match of my lifelisting journey. Speaking of that journey, 2017 was an all time low for fishing I caught 1 lifer in 365 days, I saw a lot of metal concerts and checked my musical bucketlist accordingly likewise all my money and time was allocated to that pursuit. It was a conscious decision that I'm happy with however when 2018 presented itself I knew what I had to do, this would be the year of the fish. I had a goal I wanted to catch the 2 heavy weight contenders The White Sturgeon and The Alligator Gar, as well as lifelisting 200 different species before I turned 30, which is creeping up March of next year. Those of you who follow that page know I started the year going after the White Sturgeon and succeeding, it wasn't colossal but it was bank caught and that is thrilling enough for this guy. I've come to terms with the fact Alligator Gar is going underachieved due to financial/time constraints. Its been hard watching new comers step into the fray and by pass my lifelist numbers but babies are definitely more fun.
I had the day off of work, my wife was sleeping in between night shifts, my parents agreed to watch my two smallest. My eyes wide with excitement I got my oldest Madelyn to agree to accompany me on our first ever "expedition". We woke up at 6am and fervently made our way east to the Hudson River, yes that famous glorious river, you know the one. A Facebook friend Peter Park had recently posted success and after not being able to last year I quickly mobilized and jettisoned toward the big river, without advice from Peter I probably wouldn't be typing out this report now, thanks Peter!
We arrived and I was taken aback, I didn't do a ton of research prior to leaving all I knew is that my spot was situated between Yonkers, NYC and Paterson, NJ both with "reputations". When I arrived the streets were alive with cyclists, runners, friendly policemen interacting with the community, I knew the day was going to shape up to be fun no matter what the outcome. I drove past a lot of fishermen some even actively reeling in fish. I made my way to where I thought I'd be good, I saw the two serious fisherman and knew I was in the right spot. If you fish long enough you know the guys to look for, the guys who aren't messing around, they're in the know and they're there for good reason.
Madelyn and I quickly set up our bottom rigged nightcrawlers and chucked them into the intimidating depths of the Hudson River. I've never fished the Hudson River and I'm glad this was my first exposure to the legend. It didn't take long before I saw the tap tap tap, I quickly had my lifer White Catfish in hand. Madelyn was off casting a bobber rig to keep her mind occupied, sit and wait fishing isn't for everyone especially kids. However the second rod didn't take long to start moving, Madelyn too soon had her lifer White Catfish in hand.
Soon after Madelyn caught a respectable White Catfish in the form of a 1lb 11oz super beast-o. I knew that now my piddly little guy wouldn't do, Maddy would never let me live this down. The guys next to us were definitely locals who've mastered their tactics they consistently caught only big White Cats, we were just happy to catch any at all . The weather was beautiful and the bite was on, it was one of those perfect moments encapsulated in time, a day I won't soon forget.
We caught a few more White Cats, the only type of fish caught that day. I then hooked into my Personal Best (PB) weighing in at 1lb 6oz. Madelyn looked at me and said "Now can we eat sushi!", yes now we can eat sushi, kid. The day was a glorious success, even besting my most optimistic projections. Species #162 was in hand, 38 to go towards the goal for year end.