The Art of catching Big Cats 10 Tips A Tutorial The art of catching big catfish is something that takes time and experience. Many trails and tribulations has to occur to an individual to help them gain the confidence to go out and succeed in the hunt. I had plenty of those trails and tribulations in the past, and to be quite honest, it was not until the last 11 years that I actually learned the art and was able to go out and land my lunker cat with confidence and continuity. I have caught cats in the 40 - 81 pound class over the last decade, with a few of them lost along the way. Over this time period I learned to practice and think about many factors when I am out on the water and battling a monster cat. I have put together a top 10 list of factors and issues to take into account. Following these list of factors will greatly enhance your chance at catching a monster cat, and will help give you the confidence to go out and do the dam thing as they say. In other words, go after your big cat. This listing is not priority order, all have an equal standing when it comes to landing that big cat. 1.Set the hook. Set the hook. Monster cats have big mouths. They also have thick mouths. Setting the hook will ensure that you get the hook in well. This is true for blue cats, channels, and flatheads. Exceptions to this rule is using circle hooks, which is designed to have the cat set itself in the corner of the mouth. In that case you will just wind and keep the line tight, or let the cat lock itself in. 2. Good gear. Use good gear. Make sure the reel you are using is compatible with fighting a big cat be it casting or spinning. Use appropriate line strength. This can vary depending on if you are fishing open water, rocky structure, or other vegetation areas. Make sure your hooks are strong and big enough to get a proper hook set and stand up to the battle of a big cat without bending. Also make sure your rod has enough backbone and bottom to stand up to the battle. Medium action to heavy action rods is the way to go. 3. Positive attitude. If you think positively you are already on your way to winning the battle. Believe in yourself and believe in your set up. This will give you the psychological edge in the battle. 4. Clear lines /stringers. Make sure you reel in other lines that can get in the way. If you have a partner with you, they can do that for you. If you happen to be by yourself, you will have to do some manuvering and be crafty at it. It can be done, just believe in yourself. Just be very careful of the lines around you. Remove stringers from the water if you happen to be fishing in a boat. I had big cats wrap up in the stringer I had in the water and the results was a big disappointment. Long stringers especially needs to be removed. 5. Know your underwater topography surroundings rocks, trees, etc. Know the area you are fishing be it rocks, trees, stumps, etc. This will aid you in your battle and you will know if you should let a big cat go a certain direction or not. This will also aid you in what gear to use to when it comes to rods and line strength. You can also decide if you would use slip bobbers, Carolina rigs, or weights in fishing such area as well. 6. Set drag Make sure that you set the drag on your reel. You do not want it to tight, nor do you want it too lose. You want it to pull a little when the fish pulls hard enough, but you dont just want him to run at will. A good rule of thumb I have found is to adjust the drag during the fight. Its loser at first but tighter towards the end. The cat normally has used a lot of its energy and will not have the same surge that it had at the beginning of the battle. 7. Keep the pressure on. Keep the pressure on the cat. Dont let it dictate to you, you control the fish. Having the right gear helps in this. Keeping the pressure on will ensure that the fish do not run into a snag, or just keep on running with you making no gains. You want to keep the big cat heads facing you, not facing opposite of you. 8. Stand firm. Get up stand up. Dont just let the cat move you all around the boat. This will cause the cat to wrap up in anchor or any other mishap to happen. You can maneuver around in the boat a little bit, but dont do a complete walk around the boat. This is letting the fish control you with you not having control of the fish. 9. Watch anchors Watch out for the anchors. Proper anchoring can help in this. Make sure your anchors are in a pitched wing like position. If the anchor is straight up and down, the big cat has more of a chance to wrap in the anchors than if the anchor was in a pitched like position. 10. Net cat head first Net the cat head first. Big cats are notorious for dashing out of the net when approached tail first. Plus when you net head first, you will have greater control of the fish while its in the net giving you a higher chance of securing the catch. Following these tip can greatly enhance your chance at landing that big blue, channel, or flathead. Just make sure that stay positive in your hunt and alert. You will eventually get that monster cat. Hope you all enjoyed the read, and let me know when you land that big fish. Bluehunter.