Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States


I discovered Mike Mitchell of Southern Cats Guide Service ( while searching for Tennessee fishing guides.  As luck would have it, Mike fishes in both Alabama and Tennessee, so I enlisted him for two days of fishing, the first in Alabama and the next in Tennessee.  More important than fishing in two states, Mike had put a client on a 102-pound blue catfish, so I knew he was the man to fish with for big cats.  (I had originally assumed I would enjoy some of Alabama’s famous bass fishing for my state trip there, but Mike’s trophy catfish pictures convinced me otherwise.)


We fished on Lake Guntersville near Scottsboro, Alabama, on a sunny January day that reached 65 degrees, a very pleasant change from the rain and cold in Virginia.  The fishing was a little slow, but I caught three blue catfish, with the biggest being 24 pounds, which is not a bad day at all.  Even so, Mike and I had much better luck the next day in Tennessee.

My first Alabama fish, an eight-pound blue catfish

Welcome to Alabama the Beautiful

A 24-pound blue catfish, my biggest Alabama fish

Sunset on Lake Guntersville