The name calling continues, and Carlos Prudente is all for it.
“Some of my friends call me the Catfish Guru. Other people call me Catfish Charlie,” said Prudente.
He knows enough about catfishing to write a book and fill up a boat. For the past 43 years, Prudente has been catching catfish by the motherlode. Big ones, too.
“I know how to fill up a six-foot string (of catfish). I can also fill a nine-gallon bucket (of catfish) in no time. If I hook them, I own them,” said Prudente. “If it isn’t a catfish, it is bait.”
Prudente has been catching catfish since the age of seven in his native Metro Atlanta. He now lives in Franklin, and he often fishes in Troup County. But Prudente remembers the good ol’ days.
“I used to catch catfish with Huddle House french fries. They held the scent (and the grease). I remember catching catfish (as a kid) on the inlet and on the Chattahoochee River,” said Prudente.
Some of his biggest ever catches have also come on West Point Lake. Two years ago on May, 12, 2018, Prudente fought a 45-pound catfish for 20 minutes and won the mammoth struggle from his 16-foot boat.
The fish was caught late at night with a slice of cut bream. Prudente still recalls the aches, the pains and the reeling.
“He pulled like the back end of a truck. I was using 65-pound (test) line, and I could feel the adrenaline flow. I was sweating. My heart was pumping out of my chest. I thought I caught a log (at first). The catfish had a lot of bulk (and an 11-inch mouth from side-to-side),” said Prudente.
The catfish was fourfoot long – from his whiskers to his tail.
“He ran under my boat twice. The fish stripped off 30 to 40 yards of line,” said the 50-year-old Prudente.
The fish also got tired. Prudente got his line back, and he boated his magnificent catfish. The fish was caught in 15 feet of water. The catfish was also released on West Point Lake.
“I’m a conversationist. And catfish don’t taste good (anyway). They taste like a boot,” said Prudente.
He is always ready to go catfishing again. At any time. There is no bad time to drop the line in the water.
“I relax and take some self inventory. Fishing is one of the best stress-relievers. I was brought up to do this. I love catfish. They give the best fight. I get a peace of mind (out here),” said Prudente, who was catfishing again on Thursday afternoon on Yellowjacket Creek in La-Grange.
Prudente has even caught some 15 to 16pound catfish from shore on West Point Lake. Earlier this year, Prudente caught another monster, a 39-pound catfish, on the lake.
Prudente was fishing deep with cut bream. He can almost read the mind of the catfish.
“I know where every deep pocket is and stump is (on the lake). I fish for the sport (of it). I have a bass boat that is turning into a catfish buggy. I used to fish with chicken livers, but I always use (cut) bream now,” said Prudente, the born-again Christian.
And according to him, “Night is the best time to fish. Catfishing is for men.”
And Carlos Prudente is a man of God, faith and catfish.
“This is God’s world. It is peaceful. God has brought me through the depths of Hell. I am loving life,” said Prudente.
And he is catching catfish like nobody else.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net.
Chris Fernsler Sports Editor