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The Curse Less Talked About...

Discussion in 'Catfish Discussion' started by TIGHTLINER, May 17, 2004.

  1. I'll probably regret doing this but we here about catless curses of the daking and h20mellon time and time again but the curse of tightliner is not very publicized. I'd consider myself a serious angler for about three years now. The last Flathead Catfish that I have caught dates back to the summer of 2002. I can probably count the number of flatheads that I have caught on one hand and they all came in 2001 and 2002. My largest ever was probably right around 10 lbs, with the others coming in around 4 and 5 lbs. As far as Channel Catfish go, I've got a decent handle on them. My largest Channel Catfish was 19lbs, and I can usually catch a few fish ohio channel catfish throughout the summer, as well as tons of small ones. But we're talking flatheads here, I may not live in one of the best areas for flathead fishing being from the Northeast, but I have flathead fever so I'm going to be trying. I figure my best bets would be the Ohio River (80min drive), and Mosquito (40min drive). I definately know that there is a good population of flatheads in there. But trips like they are pretty time consuming and that is something that I don't really have a lot of right now, so I'm trying to explore some of the local lakes. I know there are flatheads in West Branch but I'm kinda clueless where to start out there for them. I've also heard rumors of flatheads being in Lake Milton, and Dale Walborn. I also have speculation that the Mahoning River could hold a decent population. As far as the whole curse thing goes. In 2003 I was fishing the ohio river with a buddy and he had to run back to the truck so I was watching his poles, and while he was gone I reeled in a 5 lb flathead and a 10 lb flathead. So I really don't count that as catching them since they were on his rods and off of his casts. When he got back he reset his poles and not to much later he pulled in an 18 lb flathead. They all came off of cut gizzard shad. Now to speed things up to 2004, the last two friday's I have traveled down to the ohio river with some buddies. Two weeks ago we were fishing with cut blue gill, and this novice fisherman that hardly ever fishes caught a 2 lb flathead. The following week, we're fishing with cut gizzard shad and my buddy brings in a 2lb flathead and I end up with a 1 lb channel and a 3 lb channel. So I'm guessing that maybe I should ditch the cut bait and use live bait when I'm fishing the ohio river and mosquito. Should I do the same at the local lakes? One of the problems is that the spots that I fish sometimes involve a 1 mile hike, so whats the best way to keep bait alive and to get it to the spots. What kind of live bait should I be using. My 2002 flatheads came on live suckers. What is the best rig to use when targetting the flatheads? The slip-rig or the texas rig or what? Where is the best place to hook the live bait to make them stay active and to increase the chance of good hook sets? So basically the curse of tightliner is going over a year and a half without catching a flathead catfish of my own, and having other people catch them right next to me. So whats the good word? What am I doing wrong? What should I be doing? Information is always welcome about the ohio river and mosquito. But I am really interested in learning about the local lakes if anybody has any pointers. Thanks in advance.......TightLines!
  2. It's Cool.....Nobody wants to help the kid out. I understand, I'll figure it all out one of these days.......TightLines!

  3. Seeing as to how I've never caught one, It's a safe bet to say that I'm NOT a flathead master. There are other posters on this board that have the market cornered in that department. What I will add is maybe some food for thought on the keeping bait alive question. I never carry live bait with me unless it's nightcrawlers or on occasion minnows. Keep in mind I don't fish live bait alot, but will when I think it's to my advantage. When I want live bait I catch it on the spot. Over in my neck of the woods that usually means Perch, Shad and sometimes crappie (PA has more strict regs on live bait fishing than Ohio). I was sitting out with the girlfriend on warm, sunny day last fall getting in some late season catfishing while the kids were in school and finally noticed something that was goiing on right under my nose that has escapted me for years. When I was catching cats, she got nadda and when she was catching fish, I got nadda. The difference was she was fishing crawlers either under a bobber or on the bottom while I was using one of my favorite dead baits shrimp. That's when I had a revelation. Fly fishermen talk alot about matching the hatch when stream fishing trout, why not cats. So I grabbed a couple of the perch she caught and put them on the stringer for use after dark. Long story short, when dark came around and the bigger channel cats moved in the were hitting pretty good on the shrimp so I never did use the perch I had saved. However I did notice one thing, when I reeled the cats in as they came up to shore the perch on the stringer wanted absolutely nothing to do with them and swould try like heck to swim out of the area. In between bites I noticed that the perch were perfectly content to sit on the the sandy bottom. So the conclusion I drew was that was that these channel cats were feeding on the perch and chasing them up and down the river. Perch in the neighborhood, no cats; Whe there are cats we'd find nary a perch. So my point, long winded as it may be, I stopped fishing the baits everyone else fishes (perch, shad, etc...) just because they catch fish on them. Those bait may work very well in the bodies of water the fish, but if they aren't present in the body (or section of) of water I'm fishing, the odds of getting bites, especially from the older and wiser fish, are alot less likely. I always carry some dead bait (shrimp, liver, etc...) when I go out, it usually works to some degree, but I make sure I try getting out early enough to pre-fish the spot for whatever the forage base may be (perch, crappie, shad, rock bass, etc...). The fish feed on this forage everyday, and are more likely to see it as a viable snack than something the know they've never fed on in that section before. I sometimes think fish are really smart, othertimes I think really dumb. But I think the truth is somewhere in between being creatures of habit that are very well aware of their surroundings and when something is out of place, they know it. Don't know if that helps you at all, but I thought I'd just throw in my 2 pennies before they guys that really know what they're talking about join in.

  4. Too much information. :D I'm not going to tackle all that, but maybe a few tips to help out a little. I wouldn't worry so much about what type of bait, as long as it's lively and stays lively. I don't think a flathead cares if it's purple with yellow stripes. If it gets his attention, he's going to eat it. Don't worry so much about types of rigs, where to hook bait, etc. In time, you can fine tune that, but first you need to find where to catch flatheads. Skip over the worn down spots along the highway where every weekend angler fishes and study maps of the local lakes. Do some searching on this site, and the former (before it disappears), and you'll find a wealth of information about what types of areas to look for. After that, it takes time and patience. It took me 5 years before I actually felt confident in catching flatheads in spots I pick out. That was 5 years of many, MANY, lonely, fishless, nights. There's not much fun in sitting on the bank by yourself, in the dark, without so much as a click from a reel, for hours at a time, week after week. But, that's what I did. When I really started paying attention to what some of these guys were saying, it all started to make sence. I wish I could offer some shortcut to catching big flatheads, but there are none. It just takes time.
  5. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    Man, I'll jump on here, but im at work, i'll post later.

    Maybe we can all create a the new catfish mafia, The CatLESS Mafia!
  6. flathunter

    flathunter Mellons mentor

    Location and being able to read the water and find the flatheads is the key..Believe me I know, I have lots of expensive cattin tackle and use prime baits and I am doing lousy this year..Why, most of my spots are fished out, and I have lost access to prime areas do to others trashing places up...Location is the key, if they aint there you cant catch them..I wish we lived closer and I would take you out with me and we could both get skunked :D

    Some things I have learned is dont waste your time fishing a river during falling water levels..Several days of steady levels which in ohio any more is almost impossible is the best..Slightly rising water levels is also good for flatheads....I agree with Mike, dont worry to much about rigging and such, if they are there and feeding a flathead dont much care...Fish the deep water in the daytime, and fish shallow water close to deep water at night..Back in the 80's I used to average 25 to 30 Flatheads a year over 20-lbs..But now I am lucky to catch 4 or 5 a year that size in the rivers I fish..And I caught all my fish on cheap walmart combo's..Now I fish with 150-200 dollar rod and reels and catch less fish, because I dont have the prime spots to fish I used to have, and the spots I do fish are hit hard by the trotliners who keep every flathead they catch.

    When I am fishing spots which involve a long walk I dont use live bait, just shad iced down in a small cooler..I have caught more flatheads the last few years on cut shad than live bait...I have fished cut shad along with live bait, and they have always prefered the cut shad over goldfish, bluegills, or suckers...I can only speak for rivers and creeks because I dont target them in lakes.
  7. I just got my new InFisherman last night and there is a good article on flatheads in there you might want to check out.
  8. Thanks a lot guys! This is the kind of information that I was looking for all along. I really apprecite it. I've got a live bait tank going right now, and I'm heading out to Mosquito thursday night, so I'll let you all know how I do.......TightLines!
  9. johnboy111711

    johnboy111711 SOLID MEAT

    what area are you fishing? I hear they get a few by the cemetary., might be worth a shot.
  10. Hey guys, sorry I never followed through here. I've been bust working 52 hours a week. The Mosquito trip was a bust as was the Clendening Trip. Check out the post in the Southeastern Ohio section. I'm bound and determined to catch a decent flathead this year. My quest continues.......TightLines!
  11. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    I hear ya pal. I can also relate to the work thing. It must be nice to get out & fish more than once every couple weeks or so. I think I'm going to try & hit the fall flathead bit hard this year things should be a little more stabel here @ work by then.