Back to the basics, (location and structure)

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by wolfman, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,229
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Concrete revetment attracts big flatheads, especially old blown-up dams. This type of structure is found on big-river navigation systems along with banks covered with riprap. Look for them near dams, bridges and causeways where engineers place the rocks to prevent erosion.

    The best fishing areas tend to be those where a small section of the bank has slightly different cover or structure than the rest of a long, look-alike stretch of riprap. For example, a submered tree or log may attract catfish. Other times, a difference in the rocks does the trick. Watch for big boulders changing to smaller rocks or slides of rocks creating underwater points. Start downstream and troll slowly upstream parallel to the bank, watching the sonar screen for the ups and downs of buckled-up revetment slabs. Then, when you find a hole and feel like the boat is directly over it, pick out a reference spot on the bank. You can now motor upstream and anchor the boat casting distance away from the hole. Cast your bait to the rocks in these areas and fish it right on bottom. If you haven't had a bite after 15 to 20 minutes, troll up the bank until you find another likely spot and anchor again. Continue doing this, working your way upstream and fishing first one hole and then another.

    Submerged timber, such as fallen trees, log jams, and stumps have produced good for me. The best trees are in locations that allow catfish easy movement between shallow and deep water. Look for fallen and flooded trees along channel drop-offs, underwater humps and holes, the edges of shallow flats and other fast-breaking structure. My favorite hotspot is where several trees have washed out and toppled into the water on an outside stream bend. Outside bends usually have deep pockets of water adjacent to a channel break. Heavy line and tackle are a must for this type of fishing. Overkill is welcomed in this type of structure to prevent short-comings as much as possible. You don't want to let a hooked fish diddle around in the cover. Get it out of there fast if you can, and let it do its fighting closer to the boat or shore. A good quality long rod gives you a fighting advantage and allows you to fish dense cover better, where casting is virtually impossible.

    Tip: set your drag just barely below your line's breaking point. You don't want a big brush pile cat peeling off any more line than necessary, or you'll be hung up in an instant.

    Any standard catfish bait can be used, but for tree cats, I prefer cut shad or skipjack. Big cats love cut bait, and dead baits don't get tangled like live baits. I thread a chunk about two inches square on a 7/0 or larger circle hook. Due to river current, I like using short leaders,(6-10 inches from the slip sinker),unless there is little to no current then I don't use any weight.
     
  2. MRR

    MRR New Member

    Messages:
    4,947
    State:
    Louisiana,Mo.
    Very good points to remember. But how do you work those areas if your fishing from the bank?:confused2: and stumped.
     

  3. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    This is an excellent post and the reason why I spend so much time on the website. Thank you for your valuable insight
     
  4. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Good information and even more justification for buying one of the new side-imaging sonar units. I've found more structure in the last 2 months with my Hummingbird 997 than I would have stumbled onto in years without it. Unless you're good at reading 2-dimensional sonar, it's pretty hard to identify things very accurately; the 997 paints an exact picture of everything on the bottom out to a couple hundred feet either side of the boat, and you can plop a GPS waypoint exactly on the structure, then navigate directly to it with ease. I've found rock piles, tires, brush piles, ditches, etc. etc. that I never would have identified on a traditional sonar.

    Don't forget that "structure" isn't always a tree or a rock - it can be *anything* that's different that might give fish a reason to hang around; a depression, hump, the "travel lane" that forms where the river bed meets the bank, etc. etc.

    Learning to identify that stuff on your sonar is important; learning to accurately position your boat after you've identified a spot is even more important. Practice is what it takes - you have to figure out where to drop anchor, how much line to let out, what the current is going to do to your boat, etc. etc. - I've pulled anchor several times at one spot just get the boat exactly where I want it. But I'm starting to get better at it.
     
  5. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,229
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Marty, was it you that bought a Seaark Procat 240? if so how do you like it?
     
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Yep, that's me with the ProCat 240. I love it - didn't think I needed a 24 ft boat but now that I've got it, you'll never pry it out of my hands.... It's got more room than I know what to do with, huge livewells, dual console and walk-through windshield, plus I had a stand-up canvas top and vinyl side/rear curtains made for it so I can fish in any weather and be comfortable. It's the cat's meow for sure...

    The only downside is that the Suzuki 225 4-stroke sucks about 19 gallons per hour wide open. At $4/gal, I don't run wide open much.... :wink:
     
  7. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,229
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    First off, you have to have access to the bank spots which is hard itself. If so, I would recommend a very long rod (11' or longer) to allow you to drop the bait straight down to the bottom.
     
  8. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    No question about it, fishing from the bank really limits your fishing spots. Not only can you not get to a lot of the good spots, but unless you've had the opportunity to check out the areas near the bank with a boat & depthfinder, you may not even know that there's a good spot within easy casting distance of the bank. That being said, there are some things you can use as indicators. Generally speaking, the angle of the shoreline is going to continue on out into the water. By that, I mean that if the shoreline is very flat, you're probably going to have a shallow flat near the shore rather than a deep dropoff; likewise, if the bank is a steep hill, you're probably looking at deep water close to shore. We all know to watch for creeks entering the main water, but a small branch or even a wet-weather runoff could be an indicator of a small channel leading out to deeper water. I've seen these little channels as shallow as one foot deep attract fish. If there is structure around, look for a bit of structure off by itself rather than in a huge mass; also look for edges, such as a stand of submerged timber with clear water next to it. In the spring, fishing the riprap can be very productive. A good rule of thumb for locating structure that holds catfish is to look for structure that should hold largemouth bass; they tend to like the same types of structure. And there are truckloads of information about locating structure for bass. (And you didn't think they were good for anything!)
     
  9. MSgtCatfish

    MSgtCatfish New Member

    Messages:
    216
    State:
    Alabama
    Good info. Man a lot of people mess up and don't adjust there drag in those conditions only to talk about the one that got away! Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt, but I learned my lesson after the first time. Mr. Catfish --wrap me once, shame on you, wrap me twice, shame on me!
     
  10. ChannelCatBen

    ChannelCatBen New Member

    Messages:
    179
    State:
    Minnesota
    I fish from shore 95% of the time. It's tough, but possible. I try to pay attention to ripples, boils, and swirls on the surface of the water. They are generally indications of something different on the bottom. Pay attention to shoreline structure, as it often continues out into the water. Also, try casting a weight or a jig around the area and try to get a feel for the bottom.
     
  11. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY
    Excellent post Walt!!! Thanks for starting it. Lots of good info in it also!!!:cool2::big_smile:
     
  12. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks Walter on another great post. Good Information. Appreciated.
     
  13. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    2,666
    State:
    Kansas City