Phoenix man nets big catfish catch Sunday

Catfish stockings to return to Community waters Thursday


Of all the big catfish tackle to choose, he used Zebco micro rods and 4-pound test line.

Channel catfish stockings in Community waters hadn’t even begun, but there was Ryan Handeland on Sunday at School Indian Steele Pond in Phoenix, yanking in a pair of line-zinging catfish.

Cats are coming back Thursday in many Community fishing waters, including Steele Indian School Pond, but this is more proof they can be caught year-round.

“That’s a phenomenal catch,” AZGFD Community Fishing Program specialist Joann Hill said. “Considering catfish haven’t been stocked in a little more than 3 months, and that they came out of that little pond — that’s incredible.”

Steele Indian School Pond overlooks a downtown Phoenix skyline.
Steele Indian School Pond on 300 E. Indian School Rd.  overlooks a downtown Phoenix skyline.
Here’s what the Phoenix resident — and Arizona  native — had to say about catching his two catfish limit:

Ryan Handeland’s pre-fall stocking catfish.

So, Sunday the 18th around 12:30 p.m. I got to the pond and started setting up.

I had been there the Sunday before and caught a smaller cat and a medium cat on chicken liver. There were other fishermen there on adjacent banks the previous Sunday and I had made them jealous because I was getting lots of bites, so much so that one of the other fishermen (who was using hot dogs with no luck) said it was probably just bluegills nibbling at the bait.

I did however have two catfish on my stringer and they had none.

So the 18th I headed back out….I was using two Zebco 33 micro rods with 4-pound test Cajun line and a 6-pound leader rigged Carolina style with I believe a size 4 treble (I would have to check the hooks to be for sure on size). I cast out both lines and almost instantly started getting bites.

They were not the “normal” catfish bites. Except for a few occasions they never took the (bait) and ran. They would just tap the pole basically enough to steal the bait. You would have to catch the right “tap” to actually get a hook-set.

It took about an hour to hook the first big cat. I set the hook then realized — that’s a pretty big fish. I then instantly set the drag so that my 4-pound test wouldn’t break on one of its runs. I then began to play the fish to bring it in by slowly lifting my rod tip to vertical then dropping it and reeling up the slack. Both fish took some pretty good runs … some so big I was afraid I was going to run out of line on my little reel.

Finally after about 5 minutes for each, I tired them out enough that I could bring them in and just pick em up out of the water.
It was a lot of fun and I have not caught catfish that big in awhile.

So go get yours. Grab a license online (helping conserve all species of wildlife in the process) just in time for the fall Community catfish season.

Here’s a quick how-to video to catch Community catfish:

For more fishing information, visit our website’s fishing page.

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