Pitch those stinkbait recipes in the thrash. To get giant hire. Channel and flathead catfish. You desire exacting fishing gear. Techniques. And lures
I can still recall the precise instant I became one of the afflicted. My fishing rod was doubled over, as well as a huge blue catfish broke the water’s surface. I brought the landing net into place and, as if it were occurring in slow motion, the line snapped and also the fish was gone.
Since that time, I’ve learned that it is the small things–from your lure to the knots on your own terminal tackle–that add up to big results with decoration fish, and I Have spent years learning everything I could. I’ve sought out guidance from old-timers in bait shops, feed stores, and diners. I have drunk a lot of awful java and endured countless lectures about how I’ve been doing things all wrong.
I eventually made friends with some like minded anglers, collaborating together and trading information. Now, each time a prize surfaces, it brings back the memory of that first big fish. My fire for catching the biggest catfish on the planet stays.
For most catfishermen, blues are king. They grow to absurd sizes (the present world record is 143 pounds), so when the bite is on, even the littlest lakes and reservoirs can create notable amounts of trophy blue cats, with fish from 1 to 10 pounds quite common.
All these are opportunistic predators, feeding on a wide variety of fish, mussels, and crayfish. Experts at slurping up an easy meal, blues in many cases are within the open water of reservoirs near striped or white bass. Locate schooling strippers or whites and you are prone to find blues cleaning up the injured and dead bait-fish below them.
- Bait Choice , Some kind of native fish, either cut or dead and fished whole, is authentic trophy blue catfish bait–no homebrewed stinky concoctions or secret sauce included. There are countless tales that include the powerful use of grocery-store entices such as chicken livers or steak hearts that may tempt you, but decoration hunters prevent them. Nothing works consistently much better than fresh shad or skipjack.
- Conflict Gear ,The size of big blues (and flatheads, also) requires preparation and consideration when you select equipment. The particular rule is straightforward: Go huge and heavy, and be
A monster catfish that prefers to remain on the underside is a strong fish which is in control. The only way for an angler to win the fight is by pulling the fish off the underside with careful and deliberate power. Long e-glass and composite sticks are preferred because, unlike stiff graphite rods, they flex and bend without breaking. My top choice is an 8-foot 6-incher.
Popular among anglers, Shakespeare Ugly Stiks are obtainable in a number of models that are up to the job, but smaller boutique brands for example Team Catfish have cult followings among serious trophy hunters.
Round traditional reels with substantial line capacities, heavy cranking power, plus a superb drag system are vital. The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500C3 round reel is the undisputed king of catfish reels. It’s a no frills workhorse that is more than capable of doing the job.
Catfish can see well but won’t shy away from fishing line, so it’s best to spool your reel with 20- to 30-pound-test monofilament. Bright coloured yellowish or green high-visibility line is easy to see and helps when monitoring for bites. Huge catfish frequently respond in quite subtle ways that can only just be found through the fishing line.
Circle hooks are second to none but has to be suited particularly to big catfish. A wide difference is vital, as is a heavy-gauge wire that won’t twist or turn. The 7/0 Daiichi Circle Chunk Light and the 10/0 Team Catfish Double Action Circle are tried and true fishhooks for creature catfish.
- Rigging Although you can find lots of blue-cat rigging choices, the Santee rig is popular for good reason–it is easy yet effective. The fundamental rig features a sliding sinker, a 2-inch, slotted froth peg float, and a 24- to 36-inch leader. The froth float lifts the lure off the bottom, moving it out of mud or plant life and into the line of sight of huge catfish. It also helps your bait mimic their day-to-day diet of dead or dying baitfish that flutter through the water.
- Fish Finding , Blue catfish are feeding machines. Enormous schools of baitfish will tip you off to the most effective fishing places and therefore are simple to see on sonar. If most of the baitfish are in 35 to 40 feet of water, you’ll likely find cats–both prize blues and smaller box fish-right below them. Points, humps, drop-offs, channels, along with other construction provide easy ambush points in order for them to feed. The cats will either hold in these places or make use of them like a highway to follow as they travel from place to place.
Nailing trophy blue catfish on sonar and targeting small and extremely specific areas is finest. Deploy anchors, securing the front and rear of the boat, and project lures to cover the water extensively. Use multiple sticks were permitted (as many as 10), and scatter lures through the area.
Drift-fishing is a perfect method for beginners to begin capturing larger blue catfish. Discover a target depth and allow the wind to move the boat throughout the water. Use drift socks to keep the side of the boat from the wind to slow it down.
Throw multiple sticks off one side and drag baits slowly through the underside while searching for fish. Stay in the target depth and ford construction when possible. The key to ford-fishing is making certain you don’t move too quickly–stay below half a mile per hour. Use your GPS to track rate.
Years ago, I made a journey to world-famous Lake Fork in search of catfish. Our boat frill of anglers stuck out like a sore thumb in the slew of glittered bass boats about the Texas lake.
I boated a channel catfish that weighed 21 pounds (long before I understood the significance of the catch and release of big fish) and cleaned it that day.
As I had been frying the fish at the campground, a game warden walked up and asked concerning the fish.
To this day I’ve not captured a single channel catfish that comes close to that size.
I immediately learned that when referring to channel catfish, the word “huge” has vast differences in meaning from state to state as well as bodies of water in just a state. I learned, also, that pound for pound, channel catfish fight harder than other catfish species, and even the tiniest fish can seem deceptively large when you are fighting them.
Channel catfish feed on mussels, crustaceans, algae, and dead fish, however they’ll easily switch to predator mode and feed on live fish. They’ve been classy and have an uncanny ability to find food in various states–a far cry from the dumb fish that most consider these bottom dwellers to be.
- Lure Selection No stinkbaits, chicken livers, or secret concoctions here either. Those might be amazing baits for little fish, nevertheless they won’t generate enormous channel cats consistently. Native fish for example shad, skipjack, or perch are essential.
Scale the baitfish and cut them into chunks, experimenting with different sizes. Small baits will get big fish, but the old expression about using large baits to catch big fish often holds true. And also the use of bigger baits can help you prevent capturing runts. A halved 8-inch shad with all the tail cut off is a great starting point with regard to size. You are able to increase or decrease size from that point until you will find the sweet spot. Baits of the size might seem too huge, but a hungry channel catfish can take it with ease.
- Tackle Equipment Stations will not demand equipment as heavy as that used for blue and flathead catfish, but lightweight freshwater tools won’t function either.
Equilibrium, sensitivity, and strength are necessary. A stick having a light point with flex and also a substantial backbone for pulling bigger fish off the bottom or from cover supplies the best combination.
More e-glass or composite rods such as the Ugly Stik version CAL110170 flex and bend without breaking and make fish manageable. Combine the pole using an Abu Garcia 5500C3 reel and you’ve got a great rig for bigger channel catfish. Monofilament line in 20-pound-test is powerful enough to land the largest of channel catfish, but it is still light enough for good cast performance.
- Rigging G Slip bobbers tend to be overlooked for channel catfish but perform well in shallow water. The larger fish appear to prefer lures off the underside, and slip bobbers help that demonstration. Thin lightweight bobbers like the Comal Tackle Durafoam slide float do not create resistance in the water and aid in landing fish. To boost your advantage at night, tape a 2-inch chemical light stick on the top of those bobbers. For fishing deeper water, utilize a normal slip sinker rig with a no-roll sinker and 12-inch leader.
Hybrid Vehicle circle hooks–part Kahle and part circle hook, but with a broader gap–get the nod for enormous stations. The 5/0 and 7/o Daiichi Circle Chunk Light are excellent alternatives.
- Fish Finding “The toughest part is finding the first one.” An angler buddy mumbled those precise words to me one day as we unsuccessfully moved around searching for fish. It had been one of the worst channel cat fishing days I Had ever experienced. I’d given up emotionally and was prepared to head for the boat ramp when we chose to reach one last area.
My buddy’s lure hadn’t reach the water when the slip bobber in front of me vanished and I landed one of the greatest channel catfish I’d ever got.
My partner chuckled and mumbled: “Toughest component, always the toughest part.” What followed was several hours of some of the greatest action I’ve experienced for large channel catfish. And that’s how fishing for channel cats usually goes. Finding single fish happens, but most often in case you can simply find one, you’ll soon be occupied catching more. They will generally stay in groups of similar size, so in case your goal is really to get larger fish, boating a few 12-inches is an excellent sign you are in the incorrect place.
Channels are available in open water, however they prefer thick cover. If you’re not losing tackle, you are not far enough into the cover. Aquatic plant life like cattails or lily pads should not ever be passed up. Target the edges and then try to find open pockets inside of these. They are harbours for insects and resources of food, and fish will pile into these regions from the hundreds. Have patience, take your own time, and cover the places well–inches can make the difference. Sight-fishing might be a foreign concept to a lot of catfish anglers, but observing for channel catfish in the shallows is one of the simplest types of finding big fish in warmer weather.
Big stone and riprap shorelines will also be great places to fish. Cats will move in not only to locate crayfish as well as other fast meals, but in addition to spawn. Fish slow and tight against cover and experiment with depth by fixing the slide float.
Ford-fishing is a simple strategy to find and get large channel catfish as well as an excellent technique for inexperienced anglers. Goal mid-depth construction and grand flats which are in shallow or moderate depths. Make use of a trolling motor to maneuver the boat and drag lures across the bottom with a slip-sinker rig or enable your boat to float with the wind using drift socks to control direction and rate.
A call came in from a gentleman attempting to reserve a fishing excursion because of his father, who had been a terminal cancer patient. At 96 years old, he told his son he was disappointed he had never got a large flathead catfish. We made arrangements to get him about the water, but it turned out to be a rough season and expectations were low.
We sat all night without any action, and at the eleventh hour the reel began crying.
Mr. Ward landed his flathead catfish (with help from his son), and I did not have the slime washed off my hands before another was on the line. He stepped off my boat grinning from ear to ear. He passed away several weeks after.
I think about Mr. Ward regularly, but it was not until considerably after I understood that his two fish joined weighed 96 pounds.
Although they might rate behind blue cats when it comes to size as well as channel cats when it comes to popularity, flathead catfish have their legion of devotees, many like Mr. Ward who focus only on prize fish.
Flatheads are proficient predators with the appetite for live fish. Adults are most commonly solitary and spend a significant quantity of time relatively motionless. They will feed heavily during the night, frequently transferring shallow to feed after which park. They do feed throughout the day but frequently demand a modified way of find them afterward.
Targeting flatheads is a rewarding but difficult encounter and needs patience. Do not expect large amounts and quick actions. Most flathead anglers consider two fish in a nighttime to be above average. Many nighttime will find no action in any respect.
- Lure Choice Lure inclinations can vary greatly, but what just isn’t discretionary is the lure’s state–substantial and lively is required. I have always preferable big perch, but I regularly experiment with various live lures.
Before rigging, cut about half the tail fin employing a sharp pair of scissors, being careful in order to avoid damaging the meaty areas of the tail. Lowering the fin size causes the fish to struggle and creates more sound in the water. This provides flatheads something to home in on when feeding.
- Rigging A typical slip-sinker rig is easy and powerful, and with an 18-inch leader, you’ll be able to target both shallow and deep fish. Fish with the reel engaged or make use of a line alarm and enable fish to run using a lure. In deeper water, use a drop shot rig to lessen snags and hang ups while fishing vertically.
- Fish Finding The greatest flatheads are located near single bits of cover and certainly will hold quite close to their environment. Side-imaging sonar helps find the remote cover that flatheads adore. Identify these regions by first scan big parts of water in a slow and careful pattern and after that zooming in to hunt for fish holding tight to the underside or against construction.
There is no better house for flatheads than submerged lumber–as easy as a one log or a tree lying on a shallow flat with nothing else nearby. I have fished one place only like this for years. Itis a massive flat with three big logs in its centre. Anchoring attentively enables me to pinpoint casts to the lumber. If I do it right, I also can throw to an old creekbed and submerged road situated on the other side of the boat. Itis a flathead trifecta which has seldom failed to create impressive fish.
Exact lure positioning is crucial–when you presume it is close enough, get closer and you also will be just about right. Itis a fragile equilibrium of enticing the fish from their holding place rather than getting hung up. Changes of a couple of inches in lure arrangement can make all of the difference when targeting cover.
The existence of warm weather and increasing temperatures brings an important upsurge in flathead action as they get ready for the spawn. Fish which might be deep in nests are hidden and greatly shielded. Finding these places is an art form and needs lure in the water. Get a great flathead just before or throughout the spawn and you also are about the proper course. Get multiple and you have unlocked among the maximum flathead hotspots accessible.