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#1554250 - 10/14/09 07:53 AM Flatheads
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
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Loc: Tennessee

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I'm looking for a place to troll and cast artificials around here for a dense population of big flatheads. Where is the best area in middle TN?
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#1554320 - 10/14/09 08:14 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
ShaneHallum
Good ol' Boys
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: Belk Tennessee

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If you want big flatheads, your best place would be Nickajack. IMO


If you just want some nice ones, the lower side of Center Hill has always been good.
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#1554891 - 10/14/09 11:56 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
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Loc: Hendersonville TN

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I don't know of anywhere local that you'd call a "dense population." I'd say for a "dense population" of flatheads you should look west, maybe to Kentucky Lake, Sardis, Arkabutla, or one of the reservoirs close to the Mississippi River.

My experience is limited, but from what little I know, it seems to me that flatheads are different from the other catfish like big blues and channel cats. Instead of moving along the river channel ledges from hole to hole like the big blues do, it seems to me like a big flathead is almost more like a big bass. He'll find a likely spot - say, a deep rock overhang under a boathouse with some brush - and he'll set up camp there, coming out at night to prowl in the vicinity and feed.

I theorize that their fondness for setting up a "home base" in specific types of cover is why the "noodlers" catch so many flatheads.

I know there are some spots on Old Hickory where we've caught a lot of flatheads between 10 and 30 on plastic lizards while nightfishing for bass. (A 15 lb. flathead can cause a lot of excitement in a night bass tournament). About all I'm going to tell you is "mouths of creeks on the lower 2/3 of the lake" though until I get a chance to spend a night out there with some live sucker minnows on a line. I don't want somebody else grilling my fish before I get a crack at them. \:\)

bd


Edited by Brian Dunigan (10/14/09 11:59 AM)

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#1554920 - 10/14/09 12:07 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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Noodlers only get those fish during the spawn when they hole up in logs and rocks. I used to get into schools of them on occasion troling for muskies and bass on points, but haven't had the chance here to try that. I have a friend who does EVERY well on big spoonplugs in the creek channels on Santee Cooper...biggest is 80 pounds. They are almost entirely piscivorous and like live prey. They fight harder than muskellunge pound for pound. I was looking for the best place to try trolling for them....and Old Hickory was highly suspect. I'll give it a shot. I imagine too that they will readily take big swimbaits. We should go try some of your spots sometime BD. And...come spring time....I want to try noodling for myself. But you are right, they are ambush predators.
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#1554958 - 10/14/09 12:25 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
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Loc: Hendersonville TN

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I have caught a couple on deep-diving crankbaits, but most of the flatheads I have caught on artificials have been on big plastic worms and lizards. In other words, very slow moving baits near the bottom.

I will defer to others because I don't consider myself a catfish expert, but I'd think you'd do better on a lure they can sneak up on without having to chase, like a jig or plastic worm rather than a trolled lure or swimbait.

Really, I think my first choice would be a carolina-rigged sucker minnow or bluegill.

bd


Edited by Brian Dunigan (10/14/09 12:25 PM)

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#1555017 - 10/14/09 12:51 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
rsimms
10 Point


Registered: 09/08/02
Posts: 2676
Loc: Chattanooga, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Tubakka
I'm looking for a place to troll and cast artificials around here for a dense population of big flatheads. Where is the best area in middle TN?


Actually I used to catch quite a few flatheads on JPP while nightfishing for smallies.
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#1555044 - 10/14/09 01:06 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: rsimms]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
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Hmmm...carolina rigged live bait...good idea BD. Thanks.
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#1555455 - 10/14/09 04:37 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1484
Loc: Hendersonville TN

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If you can net some good-sized stonerollers or white suckers in the 6 to 7 inch + range, catfish eat them like candy. Plus, if you roll one past a big largemouth, they won't turn them down either. The suckers seem to be a preferred prey over spiny-finned fish like a bluegill.

bd


Edited by Brian Dunigan (10/14/09 04:38 PM)

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#1555809 - 10/14/09 07:24 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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...which is why trout are the ultimate forage base....
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#1557538 - 10/15/09 05:54 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
Scud
Spike


Registered: 07/30/08
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These were some we caught on Center Hill noodling. We start catching them in May until September. All caught on bream.

26 pounder


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#1557598 - 10/15/09 06:32 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Scud]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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....do we have a different definition of noodling? I didn't realize bait was apart of that...
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#1557761 - 10/15/09 07:37 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1484
Loc: Hendersonville TN

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Not sure, but I'm betting he's talking about "noodling" as in the same thing as jug fishing.

I was talking about hand fishing aka "grabbling." If I'm not mistaken, people do it successfully for flatheads at times of the year outside of the spawn.

bd


Edited by Brian Dunigan (10/15/09 07:38 PM)

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#1557826 - 10/15/09 07:58 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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I'd enver known it to h appen outside the spawn but if so I'd love to try it. Yeah, noodling or "hogging" as it was called in Southern Illinois is reaching in with bare hands to grab fish out of their lairs, but jug fishing is killer fun too.
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#1557896 - 10/15/09 08:43 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
stillinscrubs
4 Point


Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 351
Loc: nashville, tn

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Aqua water noodle i.e. noodling


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#1558642 - 10/16/09 10:02 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: stillinscrubs]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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...that's great that you use a pink flotation device when wading the Caney scrubs....but what does that have to do with what we're talking about? Do they use these as floats for jug fishing?....cause that's kinda stupid.
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#1558722 - 10/16/09 10:50 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
stillinscrubs
4 Point


Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 351
Loc: nashville, tn

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Why is it stupid? I have had it explained to me why they are used and it made both economic and functional sense.

No chapter in the Buck Perry book on being innovative?

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#1558780 - 10/16/09 11:23 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: stillinscrubs]
TennesseeRains
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point


Registered: 11/21/01
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I've seen people use those scrubs and they do work! I've just got a collection of around 200 bottles made-up and haven't switched over. Those noodles would definitely take up less room!
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#1558931 - 10/16/09 12:42 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: TennesseeRains]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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Because giant milk jugs are cheaper and more durable. Those funnoodles degrade quickly in a season. I remembered as a kid that would last about half the summer before they would crackle and start to fall apart.

...well heck maybe they do work. I'll have to try them out...but I imagine unless you used the whole noodle or half, it wouldn't be the best option for bringing up a big flathead. And its very easy to tie together two gallon jugs.

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#1558950 - 10/16/09 12:55 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
username
10 Point


Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 4103
Loc: Williamson County

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I catch a ton of flatheads on Kentucky lake stroking jigs for post spawn bass in late May/early June. They never hit the jig unless you are stroking it though. The days that the bass prefer you drag the jig, we rarely catch a flathead. Still catch an occaisonal channel cat though while dragging.

I equate the strike of a flathead to that of a big smallie. Very exciting until they stop and you can feel their tail slapping the line! \:\)

Are they good eating?

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#1558973 - 10/16/09 01:13 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: username]
ShaneHallum
Good ol' Boys
16 Point


Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 11466
Loc: Belk Tennessee

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I use 12 inch section of noodles. They have lasted me 4 years so far.. Nothing wrong with them yet.
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#1559092 - 10/16/09 02:24 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1484
Loc: Hendersonville TN

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 Originally Posted By: Tubakka
...that's great that you use a pink flotation device when wading the Caney scrubs....but what does that have to do with what we're talking about? Do they use these as floats for jug fishing?....cause that's kinda stupid.


Sorry - Scrubs is right on this one. The pool noodles are pretty popular for jug fishing. I've usually seen them used for "eater" sized catfish, but judging by the pictures posted above, I guess they must work okay for at least medium sized flatheads.

The compact foam is surprisingly bouyant and the noodles are easier to store than a bunch of 2 liter bottles or milk jugs.

Evidently they last longer than you think too, because I've cleaned up some ancient ones off the shoreline behind my house. I do wish some jug fishers would be a little more conscientious about making sure they don't leave jugs behind.

bd

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#1559719 - 10/16/09 08:31 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
Scud
Spike


Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Tennessee

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Noodle


Much easier to use than a jug. Noodle is 12 inches long. PVC 18 to 20 inches, 2 caps and an eye screw.

These have lasted 2 seasons and don't look any different than when they were made except for a little dirt.

70 pounders can't hold it under more than a minute.

Tubakka are you from up north?


Edited by Scud (10/16/09 08:34 PM)

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#1559930 - 10/16/09 10:04 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Scud]
stillinscrubs
4 Point


Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 351
Loc: nashville, tn

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That looks like equipment used by someone who takes their noodling very seriously. I am impressed by both the equipment and the results.

Thanks for sharing,
Scrubs

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#1560095 - 10/17/09 05:35 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: Scud]
TennesseeRains
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point


Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 13412
Loc: Hixson,TN

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 Originally Posted By: Scud

Tubakka are you from up north?


\:D

That's exactly what I've seen people using! The reflective tape really makes a difference - got it on my jugs.
_________________________
I don't always eat meat but when I do I prefer deer. Stay hungry my friends-nbforrest#3

To be fair, we can now blame everything on everything else-Wildcat

A nation of sheep breeds a gov't of wolves

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#1560122 - 10/17/09 06:33 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: TennesseeRains]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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If you can call Southern Illinois near Kentucky north. Which it hardly is at all. in fact, it'sa lot like here as far as people and the outdoors goes. If anything its even more redneck.

I mean, those jugs look great, and I'll eat my hat, but still....we used to use gallon juice jugs from Sam's that we would pul reflective tape on. Last forever, and I doubt a big flathead could hold it down for more than a few seconds.

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#1560602 - 10/17/09 01:34 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1484
Loc: Hendersonville TN

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I always thought trotlines were a lot more fun than jug fishing. There's something suspenseful about setting out the bait, waiting all night, and coming back the next morning to see what I've caught.

It's kind of like putting up a controversial post on the TNDeer Politcs Forum... \:\)

bd

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#1560625 - 10/17/09 01:55 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
Scud
Spike


Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: Brian Dunigan
 Originally Posted By: Tubakka
...that's great that you use a pink flotation device when wading the Caney scrubs....but what does that have to do with what we're talking about? Do they use these as floats for jug fishing?....cause that's kinda stupid.


Sorry - Scrubs is right on this one. The pool noodles are pretty popular for jug fishing. I've usually seen them used for "eater" sized catfish, but judging by the pictures posted above, I guess they must work okay for at least medium sized flatheads.

The compact foam is surprisingly bouyant and the noodles are easier to store than a bunch of 2 liter bottles or milk jugs.

Evidently they last longer than you think too, because I've cleaned up some ancient ones off the shoreline behind my house. I do wish some jug fishers would be a little more conscientious about making sure they don't leave jugs behind.

bd


We count them as we put them out to make sure we get them all on the pickup. We have found a few more than a half mile from where they were put out with a fish on them.

We usually put out 50 to a 100 and try to get them set by dark. We stay with them and run them a couple of times and then come back at daylight and pick them up.
Most fish are in the 3 to 8 pounds range. But usually have at least one big (25 pounds or bigger)fish per night. More big fish in the late spring.

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#1560659 - 10/17/09 02:39 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Scud]
TX300mag
Pea Picker
14 Point


Registered: 11/10/02
Posts: 8901
Loc: Crosby, TX

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Those are flagging jugs. I put a weight inside that transfers to the line end and keeps the jug "flagged" when it's hit.

Noodling by definition is grappling. I've heard it called hogging a lot in TN.
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#1560677 - 10/17/09 02:52 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: TX300mag]
stik
"Popcorn"
18 Point


Registered: 03/12/99
Posts: 20803
Loc: lenoir city,tn

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 Originally Posted By: TX300mag
Those are flagging jugs. I put a weight inside that transfers to the line end and keeps the jug "flagged" when it's hit.

Noodling by definition is grappling. I've heard it called hogging a lot in TN.



noodling is long-pole fishing with a giant wad of nightcrawlers sticking it in holes in vegetation for bass. grabbling is sticking your hands in holes after catfish.
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#1560705 - 10/17/09 03:25 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: stik]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1484
Loc: Hendersonville TN

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What you call it depends on where you're from. Catching catfish by hand was called noodling where I grew up in Mississippi. I've always heard the long-pole fishing called "hogging" and the long pole is called a "hogging stick."

bd


Edited by Brian Dunigan (10/17/09 03:25 PM)

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#1560713 - 10/17/09 03:31 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
TX300mag
Pea Picker
14 Point


Registered: 11/10/02
Posts: 8901
Loc: Crosby, TX

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noodling

It's actually grabbling, not grappling (correcting myself :D).

You're right about it being called something different depending on where you're at.

TN: rockfish, stripes, white cats

TX: stripers, white bass, blue cats

\:D

Rsimms is the resident grabbling expert. Check out girlsgonegrabbling.com and it gives some more information.
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#1563845 - 10/19/09 10:38 AM Re: Flatheads [Re: TX300mag]
Tubakka
6 Point


Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 782
Loc: Tennessee

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Does Simms do guided grabbling trips? I'd like to go with someone with real experience before doing it around here. I'm strong and a good swimmer...but this seems like a one strike you're out kinda deal....for good.
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#1564101 - 10/19/09 01:00 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
stillinscrubs
4 Point


Registered: 08/16/07
Posts: 351
Loc: nashville, tn

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 Originally Posted By: Tubakka
Does Simms do guided grabbling trips? I'd like to go with someone with real experience before doing it around here. I'm strong and a good swimmer...but this seems like a one strike you're out kinda deal....for good.


Yeah, you are basically a southerner, Tubs.

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#1564157 - 10/19/09 01:19 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: TX300mag]
cbcs1987
4 Point


Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 361
Loc: east

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 Originally Posted By: TX300mag

TN: rockfish, stripes, white cats

TX: stripers, white bass, blue cats



I dont know... I was born n raised here in east tennessee and i say stripers, white bass, and blue cats.... I've never even heard someone say white cat. Theres a hundred different ways to say stuff I reckon... like how yanks say "venison" and we say deer meat.

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#1564170 - 10/19/09 01:24 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: Tubakka]
B.D.
8 Point


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 1484
Loc: Hendersonville TN

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 Originally Posted By: Tubakka
I'd like to go with someone with real experience before doing it around here.


Just look around for an old guy whose fingers have all been bitten off by snapping turtles and ask him if you can tag along next time he goes fishing.

bd

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#1564363 - 10/19/09 02:55 PM Re: Flatheads [Re: B.D.]
woodchuckc
8 Point


Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1794
Loc: Hickman County, TN

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My Dad used to tell stories of him and his Dad and brothers going noodling (or grabbin', if that is the term you prefer) while growing up over on the Big Sandy River in west TN. The biggest flathead that they got was 88 pounds, and it took 3 of them to get him (her?) out. He said they were all tore up pretty bad by the time they got it on land, and had gotten finned all over.

The one thing he said you never wanted to do was let go once you had your arm inside the flathead's mouth and had a good grip on the back of the gill flap. He had a cousin who lost his grip on a medium size fish (about 35 - 40 pounds), and lost most of the skin on his hand and arm before he got loose of the fish. Their "teeth" are about like two sheets of 20 grit sandpaper and they clamp down as hard as they can on whatever is sticking in their mouth. He just about lost his arm due to the infection that set up in it (this was back in the mid-1940's).

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