Texas catfish guide can sing the blues
When he started guiding, Chad Ferguson was told that no one would pay him to go catch catfish. The former paramedic has now made a living at it for 20 years.
“I have people come from all over the country to fish,” said Ferguson, who guides for catfish on lakes across north Texas. “I just had a guy fish with me from North Dakota. I had a guy from Maine two weeks ago. We get them from everywhere.”
Ferguson's website, “Catfish Edge,” attracts anglers from across the country to north Texas. He is a frequent guest on Barry Stokes' Outdoors television show on Fox.
Ferguson will be in Oklahoma teaching at Rose State College's “Crappie and Catfish Go to College,” an 8-hour continuing education course which kicks off Feb. 8 with his catching catfish class.
The other three classes will focus on crappie and will be taught by crappie guides Mike Taylor and Todd Huckabee.
Catfishing is new to the Rose State curriculum. Ferguson said his class will be “catfishing 101 by Season” for blue cats and channel cats.
“If anybody ever asks me where to go to catch catfish, I am not going to pull a map out and pick a spot on it and tell them to go here,” Ferguson said. “I am going to tell them what they need to know to find those places so they can go out and find them on their own.
“Catfish are catfish. It doesn't matter if they are in Texas or Nebraska. They all do the same thing.”
Ferguson, 43, has been a serious fisherman most of his life.
“I grew up at Possom Kingdom (Texas) lake and that's pretty much all we did out there, because there really wasn't anything else to do,” he said.
Before fish kills ruined the fishing at Possom Kingdom, Ferguson said he would frequently catch 5- to 8-pound bass with ease from the boat dock as a kid.
“That's kind of what I thought bass fishing was,” he said.
When Ferguson started bass fishing at other lakes in Texas, he realized it was a lot more fishing than catching and turned his attention to catfish.
He learned how to consistently catch big blue catfish on a rod and reel, and winter is the best time to catch them.
“You can catch them all year, but I have never been able to catch them like I can in the wintertime,” Ferguson said. “They are usually most consistent when the water is cold.”
Ferguson has two other anglers who guide for him, and the three of them are rarely off the water in winter and spring.
“We stay really, really busy all winter long,” Ferguson said. “When deer season closes, it goes full throttle. We can't keep up with the amount of people that want to go (catfishing). We pretty much stay like that through the middle of May.”
CRAPPIE AND CATFISH GO TO COLLEGE
What: Fishing classes on catching catfish and crappie
Where: Rose State College, Midwest City
When: Feb. 8, 13, 15 and 20 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day.
Cost: $89 per person for the entire 8-hour course
For more information: Call Rose State at 733-7392 or visit www.CrappieUniversity.com.