The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


June 5, 2014

Catfish tournament coming to Bolt this weekend

Mike Hylton of Fairdale will offer some top prizes this weekend at his catfish pond located near Bolt. The pond is called Brandy’s Catfish Fish Pond and is well-known for its recreational fishing during the past two decades.

On Saturday, a mega-tournament will pay out 75 percent of the entry fees for the anglers who score first, second, third and fourth places.

There will be an entry fee of $100, but fishermen stand a chance to win some serious money, according to Hylton. He purchased the pond last year from Tommy Craft, who originally started the pond for his daughter 22 years ago.

Tonight, there will be a $30 entry fee at the pond. “We payback $20 out of every $30, and we have tagged fish as well,’ the owner explained. ‘The size of the tagged fish vary from 36 inches to 39 inches. But there are other fish in the pond that measure 45 inches and weigh up to 70 pounds.”

Fishing tournaments are held each Friday and Saturday nights.

“‘We draw names at 7 p.m. and fishing begins at 8 p.m. and extends until 1 a.m.,” Hylton explained. “When the fish are biting well, it’s not unusual for some crafty anglers to catch 10 to 15 large fish in a single night.”

Shovelhead catfish are stocked each year, a minimum of 1,000 pounds going into the pond at a time. “We have a lot of fish in the fish pond,” Hylton said.

The most popular kinds of bait include creek chubs, gold fish, bluegills and red-eyes. Others use cut bait.

“There is no age limit when it comes to fishing at the pond,” Hylton said. “You do not have to have a license. Parents bring their kids down to fish. Some folks even bring their mothers and fathers. We have three handicapped docks for anglers’ convenience.”

Hylton noted that some people have come to the pond who have never caught a catfish before. Benches are set up around the facility so people can sit and rest even while they are fishing.

“You don’t have to stand at all if you don’t want to,” Hylton said. “We also have some shelters here in case it rains.”

Later on this month, there will be fishing tournaments on Sundays. Entry fees for the Sunday sessions are only $20. There is plenty of parking room at the facility.

Advice to anglers? “Be very patient,” Hylton said. “Fishing for these shovelheads is a slow process; it isn’t like bass fishing.

“Bring good fishing tackle that is heavy enough to land a sizable catfish. That includes heavy rods, reels and braided fishing line. People use hooks from 3/0 to 5/0. They are good size hooks that will hold any size bait you want to use. Circle hooks and stainless steel hooks are not allowed for the protection of the fish, which are returned to the pond.

“We invite everyone to come out for fishing and fun and have a good time with us,” the owner said. “Hot dogs and hamburgers are on the grill and drinks are in the cooler. We do have some great hot dogs with homemade chili and slaw. They’re lip-smacking good.”

— E-mail: jabbb

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