DEAN ALDRIDGE

Like most of you, my catting journey began after feeling the sheer power of the fish. I hear the term“I’m hooked” often once a first cat has been landed and this is exactly how I felt.

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I had previous experience in Match, carp and pike fishing however, had next to no experience with cats. I had heard a couple of the local lads talking about catching catfish on live bait on my club lake. So, with that in mind I adapted my live bait pike rigs to target the cats. It proved successful and I had a great few seasons fishing this way with cats up to 60lb+.

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Eventually, most of the lakes banned live baiting all together and as my addiction only grew I was forced to branch out and find a new way of targeting them. I started really working on my rigs and I combined my years of carp fishing knowledge with my growing knowledge of catfish to come up a few new bottom bait rigs that I found worked excellently. This got me thinking more about the contours of the lake and the movement of the fish rather than just slinging out a live bait as I did in my earlier days. The results were really positive and to this day bottom bait fishing is my preferredmethod. I say “preferred” as I’m not completed fixed on this method and will chase the cats in the upper layers if that’s where they seem to be feeding.

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That brings me onto the subject of leeches. I’d heard good things about them and decided to givethem a try. I came to the conclusion that they could be deadly when the water had just warm up and when the cats were close to the surface however, did not work on all waters.

As I gained more experience I started to try out new waters with bigger fish in Kent and eventually I moved over the the dark side (Essex). This is where I managed to bag my first UK 100lber as well as possibly the biggest brace in a 12 hour season, which consisted of a 99.7lb and a 100.15lber.

After catching a few 100lb+ cats in the UK and enjoying a great few seasons I was convinced byDazza aka Dawson to hop on over to France and chase some cats. I’d only ever carp fished abroad inmy early years so didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect. Thankfully Darren set me off on theright track and since then there has been no looking back. My daughter (Chelsie) usually accompanies me on my trips abroad and generally catches the bigger of the fish… I had to go all the way to Thailand to beat her…

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Anyway, I’ve probably bored you all enough now. I’ve made a lot of truly great friends throughoutmy journey and made some really great memories. Long may it continue and long may catfishing and the wels catfish community continue to grow. Tight lines all.