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We get a taste of ‘Catfish Heaven’ on the Red By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

DRAYTON, N.D. | I stood there braced in Brad Durick’s G3 riverboat trying to muscle in yet another Red River catfish. Durick stood poised with the landing net on my brother, Dean’s side of the boat. This scenario had been playing out over the past two hours. I couldn’t help but think: “If you are a cat fisherman, you don’t have to die to find catfish heaven. Hit the Red when it’s right and catfish heaven is right here.”

Dean grunted as he heaved back on the 7-and-a-half-foot Rippin Lips catfish rod pulling the 20-pound channel cat to the surface where Durick, with a practiced dip of the net, enveloped the husky cat in the mesh where it continued to thrash and lunge all the way into the boat.

There is no quit in these fish.

It was nowhere near net time for my fish so Durick slipped the 8/0 circle hook from the corner of the cat’s mouth and slipped him back into the silt-laden currents of this magnificent catfish river.

My rod was bowed clear down into the handle, and I marveled at how any rod could take this kind of punishment day after day. You can put a lot of pressure on a fish with 30-pound-test monofilament, and we were. The butt of the rod was jammed into my hip, and I had to move it a bit because it was beginning to hurt. I surmised there would be bruises there before this was done. And there were.

Yeah, catfish heaven.

This all began about a week earlier, when Durick, a catfish guide headquartered in Grand Forks, N.D., told me, “We put about 500 pounds of cats in the boat in five hours yesterday. You need to come up.”

All it took was a call to Dean at his farm home near Worthing, S.D., and he was on board. A day later, Brad said, “We put 63 in the boat today.”


I had fished the Red before. I can’t even tell you how many times beginning in the late 1980s at the Mecca of all channel catfishing, which is below the dam at Lockport, Manitoba, just a few miles north of Winnipeg. On our 35th wedding anniversary, Fran and I spent a day there catching 44 fish in four hours.

Brad, who is the veteran of several trips to Lockport, said he could beat that here. Today.

“This is a fantastic pre-spawn bite,” he said. “I have not seen anything like it since the spring of 2012.” [Read more…]


Living the catfish dream on the Red River By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

For many Siouxland catfish anglers, North Dakota’s Red River is the place where dreams are made. It is where hundreds of dedicated cat men trek to each year to seek battle with one the toughest fish that swim, the channel catfish.

Brad Durick of Grand Forks, North Dakota, lives this catfish dream every day.

He is a full-time catfishing guide on the Red and also can arrange trips on North Dakota’s Devils Lake. He is also a nationally recognized fishing educator and outdoor writer. He is the author of the 2013 self-published book “Cracking the Channel Catfish Code” and his recently published “Advanced Catfishing Made Easy.”

Durick was on hand for last week’s Fish Fest hosted by the Sioux City Scheels store at the mall.

He is in his ninth year of guiding on the fabled Red. He expects a great season this year, but it will be hard to beat last year, he admits.

“It was an outstanding year,” he said. “You just happened to be there on the worst week of the year.”

Brad was referring to an April trip that Gary Howey of Hartington, Nebraska, and I had made. The river was 13 feet higher than normal, running dirty and full of floating snags and trees. But we still managed to catch plenty of catfish up to 16 pounds.

“Last October was just phenomenal,” he said. “Fully as good as Lockport, Manitoba, for numbers and size.

“With the low water we have now, I think it will just pick up where it left off,” he smiled. “If we don’t get some rain, it’s going to be hard on gear. I’m thinking the fishing is going to start really good in about two weeks. Water temperature right now is about 40 degrees, but when it reaches 50 degrees, it’s game on. [Read more…]