Catfish and Alabama Football Games!

Torn between spending a lazy afternoon on the Tennessee River waiting for the catfish to bite or listening to The University of Alabama football games can really mess up a southern boy’s head. To ease the pain of mental conflict, I have decided to do both at the same time.

While it is not necessary to have a boat in which to while away the hours, I prefer being in the middle of the river than sharing a good fishing spot with fellow fishermen. While I like to brag about the fish I’ve caught, I don’t want anyone knowing exactly where I caught them.

My boat is outfitted with a couple of items that are not usually found on normal 16 foot flat bottom fishing vessels. After years of contemplation about “must have” things, I’ve decided on the following:
You gotta have a radio. You could bring a laptop, but it would be my luck to knock it overboard. A radio is cheaper; whether it is powered by a hand full of batteries or is hooked up to the boat’s power source.

For a while, I entertained the idea of a TV covered by a hood to protect it from the sun, rain or the spray from the water as I buzzed over the lake or river. I nixed this idea after I discovered how much satellite TV hookups cost. I settled for the radio.

You gotta know what you are fishing for if you’re going to have a relaxing afternoon of fishing and football. If you’re going after small fish then you are probably going to be busy most of the afternoon taking them off the hook and putting out more bait. This activity can distract you from the excitement on the radio.

¬†Fish for big catfish and you’re almost assured that you will have an enjoyable afternoon of college football. Putting more bait on the hook after a pan sized fish has nibbled on it, can make you miss a big play from your favorite team.

Fish for big catfish! Use bait that is so large normal sized fish won’t give it a second thought. Big catfish don’t bite very often so you won’t be forced to take valuable time away from the roar of the crowd on your radio to wrestle it into the boat.

You gotta have a cooler, but not filled with alcohol. I’ve never been one for drinking while flitting around a lake or a river in a fishing boat. It doesn’t take a big loss of concentration to end up floating on the surface or sinking to the bottom of the river like a lead donut.

My cooler is stocked with bottled water, sodas, hamburger patties, mustard, diced onions and catsup. Hamburger buns are in one of the bow lockers along with paper plates, coffee and life jackets.

The burgers have to be pre-formed patties because it’s not really sanitary to do it on the boat. By the time you are hungry your hands probably have a fishy smell, which has a tendency to leave a weird smell in the hamburger meat.

You gotta have a portable propane barbeque grill. I have one stowed away in the live well of the boat. Since I’m only fishing for big fish that wouldn’t fit in the well, I use the space for other things.

There removable metal plate is installed in my boat, just above the bow deck, so grease from the burgers, steaks or chops I cook won’t soak into the carpet on the deck.

You gotta have the normal fishing tackle; rod and reel, hooks and sinkers. There must be some bait in the boat in case the game is dull and you would actually like to catch a fish. You could do it the easy way and stay home and catch the game on TV, but that would not be nearly as much fun.

Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at: