Pull the July issue’s Rig of the Month, Sonjia, we’re swapping it out for a hair rig and inline feeder set-up!
That’s the outfit that Ahmed Majeed used to catch a very, very, VERY large catfish out of Seattle’s Green Lake this past weekend.
Washington’s biggest channel cat is a 36.20-pounder caught in 1999, but if Majeed’s scale is any indication, fishery officials would otherwise be rewriting the state record book today if the longtime angler had gotten it onto a certified scale before gutting and filleting it.
“Usually I know the weight by lifting the animal,” Majeed told Northwest Sportsman. “I thought, ‘It’s 40 pounds.’ When I got home I put it on the scale I have. It scaled 45 pounds.”
“I couldn’t lift it with solo handed,” Majeed adds. “I had to use my other hand to provide support.”
Majeed, who works at Microsoft in Redmond, says he doesn’t fish Green Lake all that much, but took it as a challenge after others told him there were only trout there.
Once upon a time tiger muskies were stocked at Green, and along with carp the lake holds largemouth and rock bass.
And over the years, young channel catfish have also been released at Green as 11-plus-inchers, including in 2005, 2011 and 2014. The size of Majeed’s catch suggests his might be going on a decade and a half old – if not older.
“When I went (to Green Lake) last Saturday I meant to catch huge fish,” Majeed says. “To avoid small fish from bothering me, I used a hair rig set-up with a Method feeder.”
Essentially, a feeder is a small weighted plate, flat on one side with arches on the other. Around the arches you mold bait, which milks out and attracts fish.
The hair rig is attached to the back of the feeder, not unlike a snelled leader to a swivel. A hank of line extending past the bend of the hook can hold a Corky or other floatant, and additional bait if so desired.
Majeed says he was using fake corn scented with carp mojo, along with a stout size 6 carp hook and 20-pound-test monofilament.
He arrived at Green Lake at 10 a.m. and two hours later caught a pretty nice-sized carp.
“It took another two hours for the cat to bite,” says Majeed. “I was shocked. My first impression was, ‘This is a huge grass carp,’ till I saw its head.”
He says it took him about 20 minutes to land the catfish, and when he got it in, he saw the hook was bent.
For Majeed, who came to the U.S. in 2008 and says he’s been fishing at least once a week since he was an 8-year-old in Iraq, it’s his latest big fish.
“I’ve caught huge ones back in my country,” he says.
“This fish had such a great fight,” Majeed says. “People started gathering from all over the lake to capture pictures and videos.”
For Bruce Bolding, WDFW’s warmwater fisheries manager, channel cats are a cost-effective species to plant in Washington lakes.
“They can live over 20 years. The cost to us when we buy them is pretty cheap. Triploids are $3.25 and last three weeks,” Bolding says.
If you think you’ve caught a possible state record, WDFW says the “most important step” is to get it onto a certified scale – whether a local grocery store’s, post office’s or similar calibrated weighing systems – as soon as possible.
Get the signatures of whoever performs the official weighing and a witness to it. Then head for a WDFW office to have a biologist verify the fish and then fill out the record application form.
Editor’s note: Ahmed Majeed’s last name was mispelled in the image cutlines. My apologies.