Just as some of you were enjoying that first cup of coffee and opening your newspapers or clicking around online for news last Sunday morning, an epic battle between boy and fish was taking place on the shores of Belton Lake.
Around 4 p.m. on Jan. 14, Ken and Alicia Ferguson, their four children and a friend of the family, Hayden Tice, began an overnight camping and fishing adventure on the public lands surrounding Belton Lake. This family event would extend through noon the following day.
Since their target species was blue catfish, the Ferguson family was set up along the southern side of Cowhouse Creek because the wind was impacting this area strongly — a factor which often influences blue catfish location.
Alicia Ferguson said: “One year ago to the date, the spot was on fire. We decided to give this spot a try again because the wind and temperature was almost the same as the year prior.”
Ken Ferguson works two weeks on and two weeks off at H&P Drilling in west Texas. Alicia is a digital creator for online social media, and she also homeschools the couple’s children: 13-year-old twins Devin and Desi Ferguson, 5-year-old Tobias Finch and 4-year-old Alyson Ferguson.
As if overnight camping with multiple children was not adventure enough, things really got interesting around mid-morning on Sunday. A few small blue catfish had been landed in the overnight hours, but things had slowed down as the sun rose and the sky brightened on Sunday morning, that is, until the wind velocity picked up and waves began to crash on the shoreline the Fergusons were fishing.
The family had multiple rods held upward in rod holders pounded into the bank. The Fergusons equipped their rod tips with small bells which give an audible indication when a fish begins to move off with a bait.
According to Alicia Ferguson: “At first, we didn’t hear the bell ring due to the high winds. We looked over and saw the rod bent. My husband and our son ran over, and Ken told Devon to reel down then pick up the rod and bring the fish in. A few moments later Devon thought the fish had gotten hung on a tree. He waited it out and was able to start reeling the fish in again and finally landed the fish.”
She continued: “Once the fish was so shallow that it couldn’t be reeled further, Devon continued to hold the rod while Ken went to pull the fish onto the dry ground. Once put on the scales, the weight read 47.6 pounds.”
Suspecting the fish may qualify as a junior angler record, both Ferguson parents reached out to me in my capacity as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fish weigh station. Unfortunately, because the family desired for this to be a catch-and-release record, and because they had no measuring device at least as long as the fish was, the needed length measurement could not be taken. The family opted to release the fish so it could both spawn and provide a future opportunity for capture at an even greater length and weight.
Although multiple rods were used during this trip, this large fish was caught on fresh cut shad.
Alicia said: “We used a Mad Katz medium heavy 7-foot, 6-inch Catfish Down pole with 80-pound braided line by Reaction Tackle, and an 8/0 Blood Series circle hook from Dale’s Tackle on a Santee-Cooper rig.”
According to his mother, Devin said after making his big catch: “I loved that so much! I want to become a professional angler and help others learn how to fish!”
Make no mistake, this was not just your average weekend getaway attended by a bunch of novices which just happened to stumble on a quality fish. This family has been targeting large catfish for a number of years now and puts advanced thought into where they go, what they do and the baits they present in order to enhance their chances of success.
According to Alicia: “Ken and I started Profound Fishing in 2021 when we were having problems finding a bait shop to buy bait from. We realized that many other anglers were having the same problem and started it as a bait shop to help the community. As time went on, we fell in love with the fishing community and began hosting tournaments. We still do this every now and then through our group, Hook’em Texas Fishing, on Facebook. People began to know us as Profound Fishing and we developed a social media presence full of humorous videos, advice for fishing, and different ways we could give back to the community.”
Those wishing to follow the Ferguson family’s exploits further may consider joining the aforementioned private Facebook group or keep up with them on TikTok or Instagram where they may be found under the name Profoundfishingtx.