by Drew Hackett
There is nothing more valuable to a crusty old catfisherman’s arsenal then the vessel that houses his stink concoctions. From stink bait to dead bloated chubs, the catfish bucket secures a catfisherman’s key to success.
The catfish bucket is not only a 5 gallon container of magical smelly swill, it also functions as a seat, a pole holder, and in the die-hard circumstance – a cooler.
“Whoever drinks from the catfish bucket will never thirst. Indeed, the bucket will give him a spring of eternal catfish slaying”
– Treble Hook 4:14
It was the catfisherman that questioned the reason for the tackle box. Therefore it was the catfisherman who was blessed with the power of the catfish bucket. I can recite catfish psalms all day, but the truth of the matter is… catfishing is cool. Therefore catfishermen are cool.
The anatomy of the bucket:
The anatomy? Yes, the catfish bucket is a living, breathing being.. or thing. First let’s start with the top layer. The top layer, or “crust”, houses most of the temporary inhabitants of the bucket – flies. It is important to obtain a healthy fly population. This negates a need for a lid, as flies are surprisingly weather proof. A swarm of flies are also pliable enough to hold your beer can upright or even your fishing pole!
If you shoe the flies you will reveal the “outer layer.” This is where wadded up spools of line and random stink bait sticks dwell. This layer functions as the security fence for your bucket. If the flies didn’t keep the random slack jawed gawker out of your bucket, then a fine layer of hooks, line and rotten stink sticks surely will.
Next layer is the good stuff. It’s the actual tubs of stink bait, no less than 5 different kinds – all with lids missing. This is also where you keep your baggies full of dead chubs. The very same chubs that you neglected to take out of the bucket after the last fishing trip… the same chubs that are responsible for summoning the crust of your bucket.
Finally comes the bottom layer. This is the bone yard of fishing past. It’s where things filter to die. You’ll have random items that were hastily thrown into the bucket that you’ll “use later.” You think you’ll use it later as it handily sits atop the crust, but as it makes its way to the bone yard it morphs with the other items that were never used again. This layer will form rings much like a tree. Each ring will reveal that year’s selection of fermented chub parts, hooks, cigar butts, bait worms, etc. This layer is the core power of the catfish bucket. And the thicker this core gets the more powerful the bucket becomes. You would think a bucket that can hold 5 gallons of bait and tackle would be more functional than one that holds 5 quarts. But you are dead wrong. The less volume a bucket has the more powerful it becomes! I have witnessed buckets that have less of an inch of space at the top. And do you know what was beside that bone yard bucket? A crusty old fisherman and a heaping pile of dead catfish, that’s what!!
Forget about all the “use this and do that” methods you read about. All you need is a finely tuned catfish bucket. You may not even need a pole if your bucket is powerful enough. It might take you 40 years to prime it, but if you build it, they will come.