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Thread: Finding Catfish
08-17-2005, 03:19 PM #1
Original post by Brian McKee(Brimcowa) on January 31, 2003
I think that the more you study and observe, the better your efforts will become in the long run. Since we are always asking ourselves, "Where are they?" lots of us here have made progress in finding fish by talking and doing and observing through the course of our lives!
What we have learned, and what most literature backs up, is this. Cats are not very picky eaters so knowing there patterns due to body weight and time of day (and year) will increase our chances exponentially, once you nail down these "patterns". The single greatest determinent of feeding habits is body size! Smaller cats below 14 inches are pretty much bottom feeders that focus on aquatic insects and invertibrates to help get them through the growing season. As they progress in size, they become less discriminate. However...fish, whether alive or dead, make up a HUGE portion of their diet!
Time of year is also paramount. Obviously, some items (frogs or even field mice) are preferred by big cats but only come along at specific periods of the growing season, if at all. I would love to have delmonico a few times a week but...I remain as they say, opportunistic. In other words, like cats, we usually eat what is laid in front of us. During late winter and early spring, for cats, this would be winter kill that has been dislodged from thawing ice and has started to decompose on its way to the bottom...cats gorge themselves on this food source just after ice-out. Late spring into summer the diet changes with what's available. Cats have been found chock full of cottonwood seeds! What does this all have to do with migration? The cats go where there noses tell them to go. Even a lone mulberry tree hanging over a pool in June can be a cat magnet! Cats are not and never will be "dispersed throughout the stream bottom" but will hang to specific areas that fill their needs of cover, comfort and forage. Once you have learned to identify these areas and what the cats are eating given the specific times of year, you will be in the cats! Do cats roam from one area to the next? Most assuredly, but if you wanted to eat bees you wouldn't try to catch them as they fly by...you'd want to find the hive. We call this structure. But just because they are on the structure does not mean they are active. Quite the contrary...they are probably just the opposite. Everyone will tell you that cats find their best opportunities, when all else fails for them, to occur at low light periods. Heavy run-off from spring rains that darken the water, huge brushpiles that provide heavy shade where they can lay in ambush, and early and late in the day when the light is just right. Unfortunately for us, this is also when skeeters find it necessary to come out to feed!
But when all is said and done, one fact remains. Certain areas will and always do "concentrate" fish! These include riffles (the area at the tail end of a rapid fall into a pool) breaklines in the current, cutbanks (especially ones that hold snags and eddies), rocks (I once caught a three pounder at my feet, right in front of a boulder about the size of a 27inch TV that was only half-submerged), dropoffs at the tail end of sandbars and even up ON the sandbar if it is submerged and the moon is right! Shallows at night should never be underestimated. I have had cats roam past my lantern light with their tails out of the water as they stalk the shallows for crawdads at three a.m. (of course, Murphy's law dictated that my poles were out in ten feet of water at the time!! I guess that the bottom line is diversity, not migration! If you find a stretch of river or a section of impoundment that offers alot of diversity in structure and cover, the more diverse the cover the more attractive it is to 'ol whiskers! The more concentrated the fish will be. The definition of migration, to me, is the movement of a species in a cyclical way in order to acquire and fulfill needs of that species. This is what seperates it from cats and their habits of foraging on a daily basis! Good Luck!!
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03-12-2007, 12:34 PM #2
go to your local walmart or meatmarket, purchase a fresh piece of liver, tie it on a branch or a makeshift pole over a nice cove in the spring when the panfish a getting ready to spawn. make sure that it is over 3-8 feet of water. flies will lay there eggs in the liver and you know what comes next , right maggots. as they grow plump they will fall into the water creating a nice feeding spot for panfish.i live in ny and this has proved very useful for making cutbait for cats or even for a nice panfish dinner.