A guide to non-typical catfish techniques
A Guide to Non-Typical Catfish Fishing Techniques
Many of the people about to take one of my guided trips don’t believe that Catfish feed as aggressively as other game fish. People are used to throwing out their bait and letting it set while they wait. Some days this works and they don’t have to wait very long, but some days we all know that the wait can be very long. This waiting is what encouraged me to try to catch Blue Cats using other methods. Some techniques are passed down from generation to generation and these tried and true methods have caught Catfish since people have fished for them. I have used these methods most of my life and it was the way I was taught to catch Catfish. On the opposite end of the Cat-fishing spectrum, however, are two newer methods that I have been using to consistently catch Catfish, as well.
Fishing for Catfish
Ah, the American Catfish! The big three: Blues, Channel Cats and Flatheads; aren’t they a wonderful species of fish? Each one has its own outstanding features to thrill Catfishermen and women throughout the United States and even worldwide. Flatheads, with their big, wide heads and flat tails, have my vote as the hardest pulling fish pound-for-pound in fresh water. No Catfisherman can talk very long without telling their favorite Channel Cat story.
Channel Cats live almost anywhere in fresh water and eat an enormous variety of baits, from prepared stink baits to live baits. I believe these whisker fish are the most versatile and adaptive members of the Catfish family. The next Catfish member, the Blue Cat, also commonly called a White Cat, gets my pick for the best all around, year-round Catfish. This is also the fish I target with my non-typical Cat-fishing techniques. Although Channel Cats and Flatheads are caught using these techniques, Blue Cats remain the king in mass numbers. These dudes grow big and fast and will strike your bait with a vengeance. Plus, they pull hard in the Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.
The Blue Catfish
The Blue Cat is truly an amazing fish. I have caught these fish as deep as 96 feet at the bottom of a river channel in cold water conditions. I have also seen them come right up to the top and smash a school of shad just as a Striper or White Bass would do in warm water conditions. As far as I can tell, these fish feed aggressive all year, which in my opinion sets them apart from Flatheads and Channel Cats. Reports of Blues falling for lead spoons, jigs, crank baits, and many other artificial lures are not uncommon any time of the year. The other Blue Cat bonus is their size, growing much larger than Channel Cats and a smidge larger than Flatheads. That makes your chances of catching a Blue Cat over 20 pounds a big time reality. Fish over 50 pounds are not that hard to find in reservoirs and rivers that have had time to produce that size of Catfish.
These fish grow to be over 100 pounds - itÂ’s the exception and not the rule, but it does happen. That’s the beauty in setting up and fishing for Blue Cats: your next fish might be 1 pound, 51 pounds, or 101 pounds.
Make sure to read Part 2 and 3 of this article to learn about Capt. Jeff's non-typical techniques!
Copyright © 2002-2005 Jeff Williams
You have permission to publish this article free of charge as long as you are not selling it and that you include the author bylines immediately visible with the article and, if published in an electronic medium such as on a web site, you provide a link back to www.ozark-lodges-fishing-trips.com in the author bylines, both where the web address is listed as well as well as with the text “Lake of the Ozarks Catfish Fishing Guide ServiceÂ”...
Jeff Williams runs a Truman Lake Hybrid Bass and Lake of the Ozarks Catfish Fishing Guide Service offering lodging and guided trips in Missouri.
In most areas of the United States, the main species of catfish available are blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish, though you can also find white catfish and bullhead catfish in some areas.
Therefore, when seeking out catfish fishing techniques and other general information on the sport, these are the breeds on which you should focus.
Channel cats, being the smallest and least picky of these three varieties, require less specialized techniques in order to reel in a number of them during an afternoon excursion. This breed can be found in just about any freshwater source - lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and any other formations - and is definitely categorized as an opportunistic feeder and scavenger, more so than even other catfish breeds.
You can use almost any type of bait, though less sizeable night crawlers and small bits of chicken liver tend to be quite attractive to these fish. Rigging options are a personal choice, with just about any type of rigging producing great results, though some anglers actually recommend a Carolina rig. Channel cats often gathered near dams, where they can find bits and pieces of fish disposed of by a drainage or a turbine at a factory.
They also prefer cover brush and other underwater cover, so one important catfish fishing technique to consider is to fish the shorelines with lots of shallow water and brush cover.
However, for a much different approach, consider the flathead catfish. Fishing techniques in this area should be well honed for best results, as flatheads can be elusive if you are not prepared. Few species of fish grow to be larger, with only the blue catfish, white sturgeon, and alligator gar being bigger. When you find your flathead catfish prize, it is quite likely to put up a hard fight.
For the best chance of catching a whopper in daylight hours, fish during warm months, targeting waters between May and October. Focus on large rivers or lakes with moving water that doesn't have an extremely strong current, and stick to areas with fast-breaking structure where flatheads like to find cover here.
The best flathead catfish fishing technique that actually allows you to avoid the necessity of fighting your fish to shore is to fish at night with the use of trotlines. Your catch will be hooked and held overnight, and you'll simply collect what you've caught in the wee hours of the morning.
About the Author:
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is commited to providing the best catfish fishing information possible. Get more information on catfish tournaments here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com
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