More Than Catfish with Jody and Brandy Atkins
By Phillip Gentry
B’n’M Fishing puts a lot of time and effort into developing all our fishing rods and all of them catch fish, from our crappie poles to our catfish poles, but no one said they only catch crappie and catfish. Catfish pro-staffers Jody and Brandy Atkins are a good example of that.
“We had a few days off around Spring Break and our options were to head north from our home in south Alabama and catch skip jack in the Chattahoochee River or go south to the Gulf Coast,” said Jody Atkins. “Since the river was flooding and the herring weren’t running, we decided to head south.”
Atkins said the plan was to pack up the catfish boat and the catfish rods and head out to the salt. The forecast was for calm winds and only 1-to-2-foot seas. He said there is no real secret about the way he and wife Brandy fish off the gulf coast of Panama City, Florida.
The all-new Silver Cat Elite rod has built in features that lend themselves very well to bottom fishing for snapper and grouper in saltwater.
“We fish out of a 24-foot BH Sea Hunt center console, it’s got a little better bow shape than a bay boat and it handles the gulf pretty well so long as the wind is right,” he said.
The idea is to go bottom fishing in water depths of 90 to 120 feet for whatever is in season. On this trip, they were after triggerfish but caught plenty of red snapper, Nassau grouper, and amberjacks along the way.
“We just get a map with public numbers on it,” he said. “We start at about 3 miles out and will go as far as 20 miles out into the gulf. We hit a spot and if it doesn’t produce, we’re on to the next one.”
The couple are accustomed to catching large catfish up to 80 pounds or more with their current B’n’M catfish poles and see no reason to change up when fishing in saltwater.
The new X grip on the Silver Cat Elite rod ensures a steady grip no matter what the conditions are.
The rods of choice are the Silver Cat Elite rod in a 7-foot baitcasting model and the 7 ½ foot Silver Cat Magnum, also in a baitcasting model.
“Probably the best thing about these rods is the versatility,” said Atkins. “You can catch a 5 – 10-pound triggerfish and enjoy the fight because of the lighter tip, but when you get ahold of that 50 – 60-pound grouper or red snapper, you have the backbone to handle that fish and get him to the boat.”
The tackle considerations are also the same, using 80-pound braided line spooled onto Penn Phantom 30 baitcast reels. Atkins said the metal reel seat on the Silver Cat Elite rods are perfect for this style of bottom fishing.
He also enjoys the foam grips that provide great non-slip when fighting a big fish in conditions like spray and oils that could cause the angler to lose their grip on the rod.
Team Atkins even uses the same catfish bait – skipjack herring, when they go offshore bottom fishing.
The all-new 7.5ft/1 piece Silver Cat Elite is made of E-glass composite material, which provides extreme strength and durability while catching huge cats. Designed for suspended drifting and anchoring, this rod has a non-parabolic action that provides a stiff backbone, but with a faster tip to see bites more clearly. The action of this rod is unique and will provide excellent visibility. Other prominent features of this rod are a double-nut locking reel seat made of aircraft grade aluminum, Hi-vis tip - especially useful for night fishing, and a high-quality X-Grip handle that provides extra grip and improves rod aesthetics.
The couple even use the same bait for bottom fishing in saltwater as they use on the catfish tournament circuit – skipjack herring.
“We’ve tried other baits, but we haven’t found anything out here that out fishes skipjack,” he said. “It’s an oily fish that stays on the hook and these big grouper and snapper eat them up.”
Wherever fishing takes you, B’n’M has been there. To view all of our fish catching products, Visit our website at bnmpoles.com.
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