It’s a Fish Eat Pigeon World

July 29, 2016 daryl bauer

I have tried to post something “lighthearted” the past couple of weeks for my Friday, weekend, blog post.  Let me take it a completely different direction today, more along the lines of a horror story!

If you have been reading my blog for any time you know as a fisheries biologist and life-long fisherman, predator/prey relationships fascinate me.  I often say it is a “fish eat fish” world.  Well, sometimes fish eat a whole lot more!

That video clip comes from Europe where those catfish are Wels Catfish.  Wels Catfish grow to hundreds of pounds and as you can see are very much predatory.  We have no Wels Catfish in Nebraska or North America, but from what I have read about them, I believe they are very similar to our Flathead Catfish.  Both are the biggest, baddest, top-of-the-food-chain, apex predators in the waters in which they swim.  Oh, and they are beautifully ugly too!  No, I have no documentation of Flatheads munching pigeons off of sandbars in the Platte River, but I have heard some very interesting stories from “river rats” about the predatory behavior of Flatheads and I doubt them not one bit!

I wonder what the proper rigging would be for using a pigeon as bait?  Maybe some kind of Quick-Strike rig or harness?  How much weight would a guy have to use to keep the pigeon in the proper position?  At least you would not have to cast far, just walk to the water’s edge and place the bait/pigeon.

Now before you start sending me negative remarks about being cruel to pigeons, keep in mind that I would be more likely to use some sort of artificial pigeon bait.  Of the dozens of Flatheads I have caught and released in the past several years, I have not used any kind of live bait to catch even one of them.  I imagine some sort of large, top-water bait fluttered on the water’s edge would do the trick.  That would be a lot easier than taking the time to seine pigeons, and then haul them alive to my fishing spot.  Besides, my bait bucket would not be big enough to haul more than a pigeon or two at a time.

Wonder if one of my fly-fishing buddies could scalp a chicken and work up some sort of pigeon fly for me?  I am thinking something on a size 20/0, lightwire hook would be about right (need it to be lightwire so the fly floats, might need to scalp a dozen bucktails too).

Have a great weekend everyone.  Keep your pigeons out of the water, and GO FISH!

No, this big Flatty was NOT caught on a pigeon. However, it was large enough it could have eaten a pigeon, or a turkey for that matter. By the way, it was released, it still lurks along the water’s edge!


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