When we arrived at the lake, we found that it was quite a bit windier than we'd anticipated. We had purchased a few things at Walmart, including Canadian nightcrawlers, dough bait for catfish and shad. Normally, when I catfish at the lake, I prefer to use chicken liver, but they had run out. I had also purchased a glow-in-the-dark bobber and a few big flashlights, which cost only $3.75.
I brought my two big catfish poles and decided to let Handy use one of them. On mine, I put the glow-in-the-dark bobber, a weight, a hook with a worm on it, another weight and then a hook with a shad. On my other pole, a Johnson spinning reel, I simply put a bobber, an anchor and a worm. I find the bobber usually helps a lot in night fishing situations, but with the way the waves were going, it would really only help if a big fish was on.
I really liked having the glow-in-the-dark bobber, but it did have its drawbacks. The area we were fishing was extremely rocky and in the event of a line snagging (which it did twice) the bobber was likely to pop off underwater. The first time I was able to drive around the lake and get it, but the second time it disappeared into the darkness.
It wasn't a huge catfish but it was a decent one for that lake, probably between two and three pounds. Most catfish from the state lake weigh in at a pretty similar weight, with the occassional four or five pounder thrown in. In the midst of the battle, I had knocked over my chair and the pole that was sitting in it. During the fight I thought I had noticed my other bobber go under briefly, though I figured whatever was on it had probably gotten loose by now. Nevertheless, years of fishing experience told me that there was always a chance. I yanked back and begin reeling in, only to find in disbelief that a small bass had biten the hook. While I was messing with my fish, I failed to notice my bobber had fallen off the line and was heading toward the opposite bank.
When I finally got back and got my line situated to do some more fishing (about 1 a.m.), I figured my luck had floated away similar to my bobber. I found out I was right, sitting for another hour without a significant bite before getting snagged yet again on a rock. This time, the line snapped as I tried to shake it loose and my bobber took off into the darkness.
In the end, the wind and waves overcame us, but we did learn that a succesful night fishing trip requires either a bright glow-in-the-dark bobber or a big flashlight and a calm surface. It becomes much more difficult to read a bobber when the waves are moving it all about the place. You can also use your finger on the line to tell if a fish is on, which we ended up doing in several cases, but it's more fun to see a bright red, battery-operated bobber plunge into the dark depths of a lake as a fish takes hold of your worm.