No one would ever mistake Don Drane for a rap star. When Drane says yo-yo catfish, that’s exactly what he’s talking about – catching catfish, and plenty of them, on a simple, spring loaded fishing device. In Drane’s opinion, there's no better place to do it than Lake Washington in the Delta and no better time than right now.
“I believe my son and I are probably the only people who come to Washington just to catch catfish,” said Drane. “When people think of this lake, they think of crappie fishing or bass fishing, or even grabbing snakes, and there’s plenty of all three. But I’m going to tell you as far as sheer numbers of eating sizes catfish, I’ll put this lake up against any lake in the country.”
The other oddity about Drane’s catfish passion is that he seldom uses rod and reel. He prefers to set yo-yos, essentially a mechanical version of limb lining, to catch catfish. The yo-yo has a cord on one end for tying it to an overhanging tree limb and a roll of line, complete with hook and swivel on the other. Once the line is set, the fish tugging on the line trips the spring and reels the fish to the surface. The angler claims that 50 -75 fish days are common place in his boat.
“Washington is a perfect place, first because it’s full of catfish,” he said, “mostly blues and channel cats, but the other good thing about Washington is there is no shortage of cypress trees that sit in about 3 – 5 feet of water. That’s perfect for fishing yo-yos.”
Mississippi game laws allow recreational anglers to fish with up to 25 yo-yos per angler with just a recreational fishing license. All yo-yos must have a waterproof or metal tag attached and visible above the water surface. The tags must contain the angler's full name and address. Yo-yos must be attended on Lake Washington, meaning the devices must remain within sight of the angler during daylight hours.
Drane also claims he pretty much has the lake to himself during the late summer and early fall. He keeps a camper at Southern Star RV Park (662-882-2087) on Lake Washington and fishes at least 3 – 4 days a week.
“I probably give more fish away than I keep,” he said. “My son and I just enjoy getting out and working the lines. It’s a whole lot of fun and this place is absolutely loaded with catfish.”