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Mark Dahlquist  
#1 Posted : Saturday, September 20, 2014 6:28:57 PM(UTC)
Mark Dahlquist
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Joined: 2/27/2010(UTC)
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Location: Minnesota

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I got the pleasure of being invited to fish on Captain Kirk's boat again this morning on the Mississippi. Kirk is an avid fisherman of multi-species and leader board of the MN Waterdogs fishing club. Although I've not seen Kirk get into catfish quite yet, he knows I'm in to them with a goal of a river monster. After Kirk out schooled me something like 7 to 1 on smallies from 7:00 - 9:00 this morning Kirk was ready to give me a shot at cat fishing. Kirk already had a place in mind. A deep slack water side water eddie, marking 28 feet deep.

I dropped a 7" sucker hooked in the mouth over the side. Kirk continued to throw his 4" Keitech paddle tail still chasing after smallies. Five minutes in I check my bait and have a stick wrapped in the line. Kirk catches a walleye. At this point I'm thinking it's nice that Kirk is humoring me, giving me my requested 45 minute stab at a chance for a catfish but chances are I will come up empty handed. Ten minutes later I check my bait. As I pull up I feel weight and then some twitches and low and behold, fish on! I had no idea. The fish did not take line. I had the clicker set. Not even any small taps.

Kirk thinks I'm snagged. Then he notices my big catfish pole with a big bend. "Hold on there, what have you got? Don't horse him." Kirk replies. I knew it was something big. Figured catfish. Seemed surreal. Then a few minutes later the fish finally surfaces. "Holy shit!" I believe was my exact quote. It was like a Goliath grouper surfacing from some daydream video I was watching on YouTube. The fish saw us and was pissed and really took off. I loosened the drag. Looked like he was hooked well but did not want to take any chances. Kirk got out his brand new Frabil net he was looking to use. Finally back on top again we looked at the fish. I told Kirk no way was that fish going to fit in his net. Kirk got the trolling motor and powered us slowly to beach on sandy shore.

Beached river monster.
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My first flathead!
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Measured 39" and weighed 27 lbs
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Thanks for an unforgettable morning Kirk!

Edited by user Wednesday, September 24, 2014 5:03:40 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

-Mark
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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Saturday, September 20, 2014 6:58:55 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
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Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Wow! A monster. Well done Mark! ThumpUp

How old do you figure a fish like that is?


-Bill

Edited by user Saturday, September 20, 2014 6:59:30 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Mark Dahlquist  
#3 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 4:40:00 AM(UTC)
Mark Dahlquist
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Bill I found this chart on catfish forum. Fifth bar down predicts my fish is 11 years old.

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Looking forward to eating some of this guy. It was only Trap Fest when I talked to Jordan and others who told me flathead are the tastiest of the cats. It was my goal to catch one at Clement's barge the Saturday of Trap Fest but it just wasn't in the cards. Recent rain had pushed a lot of blade grass downstream which kept wrapping on my line. This spot Captain Kirk brought me to was perfect. Deep Eddie. Fast current to the side. Small drainage creek to the side.

I feel pretty lucky to catch during the day in such short time. Right place, right time, big fresh sucker, and the correct gear made it happen. Flatheads are more of a pain in that they only hit live bait. Time to catch my eon suckers and get an aquarium going in the garage!

Also it took me considerably longer than the 20"+ channel cats to clean. Twice and three times in weight. I think the key is a meat hook and a sharp hatchet?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3qrZn2jxQ30

Edited by user Sunday, September 21, 2014 5:06:12 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

-Mark
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Cmac  
#4 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 5:29:16 AM(UTC)
Cmac
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 2/18/2014(UTC)
Posts: 533
Location: Mt. Prospect, IL

Great fish Mark! I think the shower sandals make a great statement also!
Mark Dahlquist  
#5 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 7:12:07 PM(UTC)
Mark Dahlquist
Rank: Administration

Joined: 2/27/2010(UTC)
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Location: Minnesota

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Ha ha. I love sandals. Those I picked up at Fleet Farm in Nisswa for $5. End of season special. The real fashion statement is the hat. A collector's item for sure. Likely last one standing. Len's original guide hat he would give to his clients.

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Captain Kirk has more photos. We took a ton. That fish really was incredible. Best fish of the season for me. I want to go back ASAP. Kirk likely right that it was somewhat of a fluke. First 15 minutes of fishing the pool, mid-morning and bright out. Well I can shore fish it but it's a hike to get there. So much easier by boat. Most flathead guys sit up all night for a fish like that?

Edited by user Sunday, September 21, 2014 7:13:37 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

-Mark
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ilikefood  
#6 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 7:23:23 PM(UTC)
ilikefood
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 6/29/2011(UTC)
Posts: 494
Location: River Falls, WI

Great fish, Mark! That's a hog. Is there any concern about toxin/chemical build up in a fish that old?
What was big was not the trout, but the chance. What was full was not my creel, but my memory.
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, p. 40 (Oxford University Press, 1949).
ozzyky  
#7 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 7:34:26 PM(UTC)
ozzyky
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 2/25/2012(UTC)
Posts: 325
Man
Location: Wisconsin

Great fish mark. Never eaten flats. Just younger channels. Scared of the toxins I guess. How'd it a taste?
ozzyky  
#8 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 7:38:05 PM(UTC)
ozzyky
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 2/25/2012(UTC)
Posts: 325
Man
Location: Wisconsin

Curious if the growth chart is for the Mississippi. Fish of the sippi grow faster but also have shorter life cycles. I know it's true for eyes smallies and panfish.
Mark Dahlquist  
#9 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 7:55:16 PM(UTC)
Mark Dahlquist
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Location: Minnesota

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MN Department of Health says safe to eat flatheads of all sizes. I've yet to eat but hear they are the best tasting fish around. The belly meat is supposed to taste like chicken. Some compare it to lobster. Broil and dip in butter. The way I looked at it I don't know when my next chance would be to try one. Also we are the headwaters. People eat cats all the way to the gulf. I don't plan to make a regular habit of eating all the time. When I think about a wild fish compared to the crap in processed foods it's a non-issue. We've had the same discussions about trout. Atrazine. As long as you buy it in the store everybody feels good. Well I won't eat tilapia. Most raised in sewage fields in Vietnam.

Like my signature says, I like to eat fish.
-Mark
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donjuan  
#10 Posted : Sunday, September 21, 2014 10:33:09 PM(UTC)
donjuan
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 5/23/2011(UTC)
Posts: 418
Location: WI, IA

Congrats Mark on getting the fish you were looking for. Sounds like it was quite a bit easier than expected!

I assume they mostly go for live bait, I do have a friend who caught one about that size a few years back while trolling raps for walleye on the Mississippi
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