PONTOON PARTY
David Cox

“Mon Cher Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!” (“ My friend let the good times roll!”) The party is on! The “pontoon party,” that is. Yes, there are many ways to fish for catfish but when you have a crowd, pile them into a pontoon boat and let the fun begin.
Many different type of boats can be used for successful cat fishing. From the simple 10’ john boat to a 20’ high performance bass boat, center consoles to house boats, all will work and each has its own advantages. I suspect that more catfish have been caught out of aluminum john boats than any other type rig. However, when it comes to putting a group of people together on a cat fishing trip a pontoon boat is hard to beat. Quite often, I get calls for family or corporate groups of four persons or more that would really like to fish together, preferably, out of the same boat. Splitting up into groups of 2-3 persons per boat is not nearly as fun. Fishing everyone on the same boat provides the opportunity for better fellowship for families, friends or business groups. When I get a large group of people that want to catch catfish and fish together, I call guide Kyle Braquet in Willis, Tx. Kyle runs a pontoon boat and guides catfish trips.
Most modern pontoon boats depending on individual size and coast guard ratings can handle groups of 4 to 8 persons in comfort. The stability of fishing out of pontoon boats is unsurpassed. It’s hard to “rock the boat”.
While pontoon boats are not race horses they will get you to the fishing hole without getting wet and beat around by bouncing off waves. The ride in a pontoon boat is smooth.

Today’s pontoon boats are rigged out with all the modern fishing equipment plus the luxury of comfortable couches and captains chairs.
Built in aerated live wells, ice boxes, rod holders, electronics, including fish finders, GPS navigation and cd players are all components of the modern pontoon boat. Given the stability of the pontoon boat many have fish fryers and bar-b-que grills built on board.

Recently, I had the opportunity to witness the fellowship and comfort of a pontoon party as I tagged along on a catfish trip with Kyle and party. Kyle was treating his grandmother, Memaw, his great aunt Thelma and my mother, Julia, to a morning of cat fishing.
I observed the action from near by in my boat as Kyle anchored his pontoon boat in position over a baited hole . Kyle’s son Blake and wife Belinda worked as deck hands cutting bait and helping with chores. The ladies were in great spirits as hooks were baited and lines spooled out. The boat rocked gently in the morning sun as Bob Seger tunes cranked out on the stereo. “I got one!” Julia exclaimed! Now, the action picked up and another fish was boated. I watched the show and took pictures as Kyle dropped fish in the live well and Blake re baited hooks. “PONTOON PARTY” I thought, as I took in the action. The morning passed quickly as more fat Channel Cats were boated. The Ladies were now whooping and hollering with excitement, mostly in a Cajun French dialect. The fun continued as Memaw caught another fat Channel Cat. Later, as the wind began to pick up and with bait running low, anchors were raised and we called it a day.
Back at the marina we took pictures of our happy ladies holding their fish. Finally, I had a chance to ask Kyle a few questions about guiding for catfish out of his pontoon boat.

1) “Kyle,” I asked, “why did you start guiding for catfish out of a pontoon boat?”
“The pontoon boat will accommodate more people comfortably and will hold them over the hole even in windy conditions,” he answered. The boat remains stable, more so than any other type of boat, allowing customers to walk around, fish standing up, relaxing on the couch or sitting on one of the captains chairs. There is also an awning on the boat to provide shade on those sunny hot days of summer. I can turn on the music and fire up the grill,” Kyle said.
2)“What are some more advantages of cat fishing out of a pontoon boat versus a standard rig?” I questioned. “First Dave, it depends on the type of fishing you are doing. Pontoon boats are excellent rigs for setting up over a baited hole. You sacrifice some mobility for stability,” Kyle emphasized.
3) “Is a pontoon boat any more trouble than a standard rig?” I asked. “Not at all!” Kyle explained. “Other than towing down the road, a pontoon boat is no different from a standard rig. It does take up the whole space in your driving lane, so you just need to take it easy when towing. As for launching and loading,” Kyle continued on, “If your boat is balanced to your trailer correctly it is as easy as any other rig.”
4) “How does your boat handle crossing open water wind and waves? ” I asked. “Excellent!” Kyle responded. “With two pontoons underneath you would have to mess up real bad to turn it over or sink it.”
5) “How many people can you comfortably fish out of your boat?” I asked Kyle. “Very comfortably four, although fishing six is fine,” Kyle answered.
6) “What is the most catfish that you have put in the boat on a pontoon party? ” I questioned Kyle. “A four person limit of 100 fish,” he spoke.
8) “Kyle, what do you supply on your guided catfish trips? ” I asked. “ Everything you need for a day out on the water including, bait, ice, rods, reels, tackle and my secret chum. All you need to bring is your favorite drink and snacks. I often provide breakfast on board and can grill a hot lunch,” Kyle said.
9) “Speaking of secret chum,” I quizzed, “ just what is in that stuff? ” I asked. “ I can’t tell,” Kyle spoke. “Oh come on Kyle”, I prodded, “I promise that I will not tell a sole.”

KYLES SECRET CHUM RECIPE
(Do not tell Kyle I told you!)

50 LBS. HEN SCRATCH
ONE GALLON OF MILK
ONE QUART OF CATFISH DOE BAIT

FIRST SCOOP THE DOE BAIT INTO A ONE GALLON JAR AND MIX IN WARM WATER UNTIL IT DISSOLVES; THEN POUR MIXTURE INTO THE HEN SCRATCH; ADD MILK; MIX IN AND LET IT SET OVER NIGHT BEFORE FISHING. THE LONGER IT SETS THE BETTER IT GETS.

“Thanks Kyle for sharing your secret chum recipe.” “ Kyle, would you like to add anything else?” “Yes, I use fresh chicken livers for bait. You have to keep the livers fresh. I keep them on ice while we are fishing.” Kyle continued, “Also, one of the great advantages of fishing out of a pontoon boat is the boats ability to safely accommodate handicapped persons or elderly persons without the worry of accidental falls. After a days fishing in a pontoon boat, customers will not be as likely to suffer from strained backs and sore muscles.”

“Mon Cher Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!” (“My friend let the good times roll.”) Yes, there are many ways to fish for catfish. When you have a crowd, pile them into a pontoon boat and let the party begin. A “pontoon party” that is.


David Cox
Palmetto Guide Service
936-291-9602
www.palmettoguideservice.com

 

Dave Cox of Palmetto Guide Service is a regular contributor to the Lake Livingston edition of the Texas Sportsguide.  This article has previously appeared in that publication.


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