This is your fast pass to the front of the flathead catfish bus. Techniques and presentation styles will shift according to the time of year, water conditions, your geographical location, boat or bank... etc etc Ehhhh..
It can get as complex as you would like to make it.. But rather than,”What-Iffing”...You to death.. .. and talking about the effects of the Moon Phase, or the barometric pressure, or fast water, low temperature, etc etc..
Lets talk about the 10 EASIEST WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR SUCCESS.. And that is what we are really after at the end of the day. Just simple to implement strategies that will increase your enjoyment on the water.
THE QUICK AND DIRTY 10:
Golden Rule #1: The majority of fishing pressure and boat traffic normally occurs within 5 miles of a boat access ramp. The further that you can get outside of these heavily trafficked areas, your odds will increase. Not only is this 5 Mile area where the majority of limb-liners and trot liners operate, the bio mass of recreational anglers will fish this zone. If possible, get out of the heavily trafficked area..
Golden Rule #2: Single pieces of submerged structure, especially when there are no direct signs of the structure above the waters surface to telegraph its location to other anglers, will routinely produce larger flathead catfish.
Golden Rule #3: If your waterway is predominately made up of wood habitat with sporadic rock habitat, target the rock habitat first. Mainly rock with sporadic wood, target the wood first. If you have fished the decisive points on a piece of isolated structure, move on. You find the fish, don't wait for them to find you. For the most part, Flathead Catfish are ambush predators. You can be very successful fishing from bank locations, as many bank bound anglers are now limited access to private property land based on somebody else screwing it up for all. For sheer numbers routinely, you have to go to them, especially when fishing a day-time pattern when they are tight against their primary and alternate habitat location(s).
Golden Rule #4: Its a game of inches man! Move your bait around to all key points of a nice piece of structure. You know the deal, if you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that he is there, you are probably right! Flathead Catfish holding in a typical daytime pattern, if in a feeding mode, has a generally established strike / suck-in range. Your bait may be just outside of this strike range. Overall, if you are not loosing terminal tackle occasional, you are not tight enough to the piece of cover. They have evolved to position themselves at key locations where food comes to them in their daytime pattern. Get the pizza delivery truck close enough, they will take it. Night-time, you know the deal, spread baits in a blocking position or W Formation. Make it a buffet, all they can eat.
Golden Rule #5: The adage that big baits catch big fish, isn't true in the Flathead Catfish world. Not only are larger baitfish harder to transport and maintain, casting 1+ pound baits and presenting these large baits when laser targeting primary habitat structure will be difficult. When targeting the largest Flathead Catfish in your waterway, baitfish in the 4” to 10” range will ring the dinner bell of any Flathead Catfish. If you have a mixture of baits in your tank, and some big boys, use them during limited visibility hours not daytime precision strikes. Trim the tail, and allow your bigger baits to broadcast and do the most work for you.
Golden Rule #6: During the early and late part of the year, when temperatures are below 70 degrees, mix cut-baits in with your live bait offerings. Once the water’s temperature crosses 70+ degree’s, and the Flathead Catfish’s metabolism can process whole live baits, still rotate in fresh cut-baits into your presentation cycle. Based on real catfishermen surveys over 13+ years of running the 3 most successful and largest Social Catfish Sites on the internet, a large percentage of Flathead Catfishermen reached have reported their biggest fish caught on cut-baits, even in the heat of summer. The standard is live-bait, it hits one more additional sense that the catfish has at its disposal. Do not get discouraged if all you have is cut bait. If so, THE FRESHER THE BETTER.
Golden Rule #7: Practice targeting Flathead Catfish in the light of day. For those who master this craft, success rates are just as high as those who hide from the light. Many catfish anglers are reviving the use of artificial baits, especially in the Arizona region and having great success. Extreme summer temperatures is often the catalyst to fish at night. Once you start getting old, who wants to burn up in the hot sun all day?
Golden Rule #8: Often times a small isolated hole will hold a dominant flathead catfish. You have to think topography and water volume and speed. A great small isolated hole can be only 3-4 feet deeper than the surrounding water depth. Not only is this location not as prominent and visible to other recreational anglers, normally there are no visible signs on the surface of the water to giveaway the position. Behind sandbars are an excellent example. Its 2013, Google Maps, Bing maps, DNR Agents, Bait Shops, Face-Book, You Tube Videos and you name it. You have not found a secret spot. But they are there, if you can see it with your eyes, somebody else has also.
Golden Rule #9: As the sun gets closer to setting, start targeting alternate habitat locations closer to the waters edge in the 3-8 foot range. For Flathead Catfish that are going to feed / hunt at night, the movement from their primary habitat to one of their alternate habitats will begin in this late evening window. Known in the military as EENT (Ending Evening Nautical Twighlight). For those that didn't do 20 years, its roughly an hour before, and an hour after the sun has set.
Golden Rule #10: Confidence and Aggressiveness! Its uncanny to see the difference between (2) Flathead Catfishermen who have similar experience levels. The one who simply has confidence, applies the basic golden rules, and gets the bait in front of the Flathead, even when difficult, will be successful. The most successful Flathead Catfishermen are a quiet and dedicated group who push themselves a little harder than those who are unsuccessful.
We are extremely excited you are part of Xtreme Catfishing and look forward to providing our group the maximum value we can deliver. We are very different, and you will be able to tell the,”Good Difference”.
Fishing for all species including
Flathead Catfish - Channel Catfish - Blue Catfish
How to fish for Catfish with all types of Catfish bait