Alabama River a hotspot for area anglers

Published 10:36 pm Friday, July 2, 2010

SELMA — Kelvin Langdon sits on the banks of Alabama River on Friday, a stone’s throw from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, keeping an eye on three fishing rods and hoping the butterflies fluttering nearby will bring him some good fortune.

A catfish, estimated at 2 pounds, he caught earlier in the day swims near the bank tethered to one of the spikes keeping his rod in place.

“That’s a nice little sandwich, right there,” Langdon said of the small fish. “The meat is fresh. Better than you’ll find in the store.”

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Langdon is one of several people seen regularly sitting on the banks near the bridge trying for the story of a monster catch that didn’t happen just in their imagination.

Langdon’s rod bends towards the water. He jumps up, thinking this is it.

“I missed it,” Langdon said, reeling in an empty hook. “He’s just playing with me.”

He puts another minnow on the line and tosses it out about a quarter of the way across the river, and sits back down.

Langdon had planned to fish the Cahaba River, where he caught a 71-pound catfish a while back, but recent rains made it so his truck couldn’t navigate the area. He also planned to bring his girlfriend with him, but he left too early in the morning.

Nearly two hours of fishing have rendered just the one fish, but the peaceful surroundings still make it worth his while.

“It’s a nice view,” Langdon said. “It’s real clean here. I think a lot of people come here because it’s not as trashy. You don’t get hung up here as much as in other places.”

Quincy Sturdivant was fishing from the bank near the marina Thursday, and he also said the water under the bridge was an ideal fishing hole.

“I caught a 69-pound catfish under there,” Sturdivant said. “I like fishing by the bridge and on the Cahaba River toward Orrville. That is catfish heaven out there.”

Sturdivant and Langdon were both using shad for bait and each has had considerable success.

“I usually catch about 10-15 every time I come, but today, I didn’t get anything,” Sturdivant said. “I’ve caught everything: bream, bass, crappie, yellow perch, eels and a Northern pike — that’s a rare fish for down here.”

Langdon said fishing helps him relax, and he think more people should do it.

“People should do more fishing,” Langdon said. “There’s too much violence around here. All I do is work and fish. I get a big thrill from reeling in a big fish.”

An annual freshwater fishing license for an Alabama resident is $12. All licenses expire on Aug. 31 regardless of the date of purchase. Licenses can be purchased at the probate judge’s office, conservation district offices, online and over the phone.

Langdon jumps up again and jerks the rod to try to set the hook.

“Nope,” he said.

The hook is again empty. He baits it and casts back into the water.

Maybe next time.