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Catfish And Cooler Water?

Discussion in 'Catfish Discussion' started by PIKEMAN, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. Catfishermen,

    I'm new to chasing cats, and really don't know how to target lake flatheads this time of year. Should I be fishing deep, fishing shallow, fishing at all? I've read about river and lake cats seeking deep holes for semi-hibernation during winter. Is fishing lakes this time of year still productive? If yes when does the bite slow down (time of year or water temp)? I plan to target Tappan, Piedmont, and maybe Salt Fork over the next couple of weekends.

    I fished the Cripple Creek tournament for the first time last month. Those guys really know how to catch catfish. I plan to try fishing like Jim Corey (and the tourny winner too) recommended..... just use the boat to take the lines out, then hang out quietly on shore and wait for the bite. I've always fished from my 14' aluminum boat, but then I've never caught a 43# catfish either!

    Thanks for any advise,

  2. Now can be a very productive time of year for flatheads, sometimes the best action all year. I still target the same shallow bays I fish in the summer. Fishing will probably slow down once the water temps get into the 50s and stay there.

  3. I took a stab at Piedmont Lake this Saturday night. Unfortunately I ended up skunked, but there were some fish there. I was plagued by light bitters. I had many jingles (used small bells on end of rod to indicate a bit), but the fish never seemed to take the bait. I would reel in to check the bait only to find out that it was either chewed up or gone.

    Is it typical for flatheads to bit so lightly? I was using circle hooks, so my plan was to wait for some definite movement of the bait before slowly reeling in to engage the hook. Maybe I was getting bits from channel cats, or saugeye, or something else?

    I think that maybe I missed a nice muskie. I was fishing roughly a 2 lb sucker with 30# line; one hook through the nose, and a second through the back. About 4:00 AM I had a good solid bite, then nothing. I reeled the bait in about an hour later only to find the line had been cut about 6" in front of where my 14" bait had been. Since I was fishing a soft weedy bottom, there was not much chance that I was cut by a rock!

    I was fishing in the back of 6 mile run (2nd big bay in shallow end of lake), close to where the weeds start, in about 3' to 6' of water. Does this sound like a reasonable spot for flatheads? From some of the other posts, it's obvious that flatheads are still being caught if one knows what they are doing (problem is, I don't!)


  4. If your bait is coming back scaleless, it's most likely the work of channel cats. If it's missing pieces, it's turtles. A flathead will typically engulf a bait whole and slowly swim off. On a few occasions I've gotten my bait back after hooking or catching a flathead and usually the bait is still very much alive.
  5. Ah, so ya wanna fish old Salty fork. Good Choice for flatheads. As far as bait goes for salt fork, Crawlers are ok, but I don't like the way they stay on the hook. When the weight of the sinker hits the water, i use 1/2 oz sinks, the work usually flies off. I like to use a sinker, any weight tied on the end of the line, with the hook above it at the disired level. Kinda like slip bobbering in a way. I like to use shiners, large minnows, for flatties. For channels, anything goes. I've not had good luck with liver, of course, every body can catch fish a different way. I like to use circle hooks. Only thing, you cannot set the hook right away, let him run with the bait a little, and then pull back on the line, DONT JERK IT!!. I like this method. I'd say to fish bottom, about 1 foot off bottom with the hook, and whatever bait you want to use. I had a REAL good day of catting earlier this spring down there. Pulled in probably 30 pounds of fish out of about 4 fish. If you stop at the big bait shop, salt fork outdoors, they are pretty knowledgable on whats biting on what, and they seem to have the cheapest prices around there. My oh my, they have a nice selection of stuff. Hope you can get a little something from that. :)
  6. rockbass

    rockbass Banned

    Steinway, Sounds like you got a bunch of experience fishing for cats. :rolleyes: :cool:

    How many flatties have you caught??

    Also if you are having problems keeping a worm on the hook, first thing to do is take off the rubber gloves and get your hands dirty. Then put the worm on. I have never had problems keeping a worm on the hook with heavy sinkers and hard casts!

    Oh yeah Andrew, who had a good day cattin?? did you pull in those 30 lbs of fish, or someone else?? :D
  7. Thanks for the info guys!

    I will try again this weekend, only I think I'll switch from the circle hooks to standard hooks. From what Magis said, I probably had channel cats tapping me all night long; the baits were coming up missing a lot of scales. As for the missing 2# sucker, I hadn't considered that it could have been a turtle... good point, though I prefer to believe that I just barely missed a 40# musky.

    Magis, you said that sometimes you catch a flathead and the bait is still alive and well. This answers a questions that I did ask. I was fishing a large float with a glow stick for a few hours last Saturday. The float took a hard dive and went about 10 yards underwater, straight at me. I reeled up quickly until I felt only the slightest bit of tension, then did a nice sweeping lift of the rod. I expected to feel weight (big weight!) at any moment, but instead my sucker pulled straight out of the water. When I look at the sucker, there was absolutely no damage to the bait, and is was plenty lively. I was quite confused. From what you said, I probably not only missed my big musky, but a nice flathead too!

    Thanks for the lesson,

  8. rockbass

    rockbass Banned

    pikeman, I would not dismiss the lost sucker/cut line as being a turtle. That would be strange for one to cut it off like that unless he was sitting there with it for a while. I have caught a lot of turtles on even small hooks and 8 lb test and have never had one cut my line like that. Only break it once I get pulling on him by the bank. I owuld stick to thinking it was a musky or other toothed fish! When you talked about using the float, were you using a circle hook with it?? If you were, then you may have just pulled the hook and bait right out of the mouth of the fish. Just reel down till you feel the fish good not just a little tension. You may have lifted it too fast causing it to come right out of the mouth. I owuld guess the fish would feelthe tension and open up. Also, if it were heading towards you, I think that may not have helped out. The circles pretty much rely on the fish going away from you that way when the hook gets to the corner of the mouth, the line is going toward the tail of the fish causing the hook to catch and turn into the corner of the mouth. :confused: Ok did I just say that :eek: I am not a pro, but this is how I understand it anyway!

    I would not give up on the circle hooks though!