- Eric Simcox
Flathead Catfish Tactics
Flathead Catfish Tactics
Fishing for flathead catfish can be a job in its self, one of the biggest problems of fishing for Flathead in the spring of the year is the water height going up and down and water temperatures changing.
River fishing and stream fishing you need to be aware of the water currents and seams as much as the structure, most flathead catfishermen I have talked to concentrate on structure but the current and the seams are just as important. Flathead catfish will sit in wash outs and under log jams during the heat of the day and then in the early evening they come out looking for food, this is where the current seams come into play. Most catfish in heavy current will sit on the edge of the current break in calmer water where they don’t have to fight the current to get food; this plays a big role in most bluecat fishing as well. Early evening when the flatheads come out for food they will travel within their home area looking for bait fish, mouth of streams dumping into a major river or small creek beds dumping into a bigger stream. Most of the time these fish will enter them if it’s deep enough.
I fish mainly live bluegill and cut bait for Flatheads, I use a Carolina rig set up for my fishing, my main line is #40 test Berkley Trilene Big Game Solar green fishing line, with a 50# Mono Sufix leader, to attach the two line I use a 100# barrel swivel, and then I attach a 10/0 Eagle claw King Kahle hook. My fishing Pole's is Catfish Safari RIver rod and a Black & Blue Custom fishing rod . My fishing reel is an Abu 7000 C3 and I have a Penn 320 GT2 and a Abu 10,000.
Live bait , bluegill is one of my top baits for flathead catfish, the bigger the bluegill the better, When I hook my bluegills I use a 10/0 King Kahle hook and place the gill in my hand facing away from me and take the hook and insert it from the right side of the gill to the left side just back from the dorsal fin, making sure my hook is showing lots of room from the tip of the hook to the first barb, Making sure I have no scales attached to the tip of the hook, I will take one side of the gill and fine scrap the side of it a couple of times with a knife to take some scales off the side of the gill.
When fishing out of my boat the set up is very important, that’s when my fish finder comes into play, I will take an area and search for the flathead catfish lying on the bottom or inside structure near a deep hole and a shallow area that has bait fish for that evening’s set up. Once I have located the bait fish in the shallow areas then I will park my boat very close to the bait fish in the shallow water and toss out my bluegills or cut bait on the slop of the bank from where they were sitting during the day to the bait fish and then I will put one right where the drop off is and the shallow water, when flatheads get active during the evening they will work the head of the hole and bank up into the shallow water making circles of their home area all night long in search of food, most flathead fishermen only move once or twice a night, due to the flatheads come to you. Fishing log jams in large streams or smaller river its best to park upstream of an old log jam and toss back onto the current break, it seems to produce the most fish.
Fishing real shallow water or lake conditions that are shallow then you can use a float tactic, by not anchoring up just let your boat float along the water with the wind, I will use the same set up as stated before the only thing I do different is drop the gill right off the side of the boat until it hits bottom, once it hits bottom then I reel up about four cranks on the reel to lift it up off the bottom of the lake bed.
The other tactic I have started using is a Catfish bobber made by Wild-Wolf products out of Lakeview AR. It’s called the Kat bobber the basic works of it is its put up above your sinker on the line with a bobber stop tied on the line and you can set the depth to whatever you want it at, on a float fishing down a lake you can spread your lines out as far as you want to as long as you don’t have lots of higher winds. On most of my lake fishing I will spend the time on the edge of a creek bed running thru the lake or near a rip rap along a causeway or the dam.
I guess my best time for catfishing for the flatheads would be early spring when water temps hit the 52* to 55 * mark up until they spawn in 72* to 75* mark, then the wait is on for three weeks or so until they come out of spawn, but your bigger flats will come in the early part of the season when they are feeding up. Once the spawn is over you should see a big change in the feeding habits of the flatheads they will be taking more live bait then cut bait and they won’t seem to hit it as hard as they did in the spring and you will see the feeding time getting later and later as summer comes to a close, until the fall feed up starts when the temps start dropping down into the mid 60s and it seems to turn the flathead fishing into feeding binge again until they shut down for the winter months when the water temp gets below 52* .
Of course each his own on how they fish for flatheads but this is how I fish for them.
Last edited by DeerHunter01; 02-01-2008 at 08:55 AM.