Bank Fishing for BIG Cats

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by patrickgd, May 29, 2008.

  1. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Memphis TN
    I'm starting this post because it seems nearly all info out there is for and by folks who boat fish. I don't do much boat fishing. I do love to find the honey holes near the bank and on occasion where em' out. In this section other bank fisherman can discuss all the ins and outs, ups and downs, finding and fishing the HOT spots and the NOT spots.

    I primarily fish the midsouth Memphis TN. and MS. area lakes, ponds, rivers and back waters. I have yet to catch one of significant size but keep trying. This week I've been running up and down the Mississipi River by Memphis. I caught a few but none bigger than 5 lbs. I've been struggling with things like tough terrain, hang ups and such. Yesterday while fishing on the river at the Shelby Forrest boat ramp I took 4 baits (nightcrawlers, cut shad and skipjack and live Goldfish) nothing worked. I also prepared 5 back up rigs for getting hung up and breaking line and ended up using 4 of them. I also took a nasty spill down a rocky incline and nearly fell in the river :embarassed:. close one wheew! thankfully the only thing that got hurt was my pride from buddies laughing. Today I've been considering trying some Loosahatchie back water for a big flathead using Live Bluegill or Bass even as bait. I know the Big'uns are out there just gotta find em' and I ain't givin up.

    Share your personal triumphs, defeats and good ole bank fishing experience here my friend. Look forward to hearing from you! :wink:
  2. boswifedeb

    boswifedeb USCA Jailhouse Lawyer Staff Member Supporting Member

    I was born in Memphis but grew up outside of Nashville. I never got to fish too much down there. But I do know that if you are planning on keeping any of those cats to eat, you need to be careful which river you pull them from. Some of the rivers down there have some real pollution roblems. Be sure to check the reg book if you haven't already. It's got some of them listed in there.
    Glad to see a neighbor posting and wish you good luck!

  3. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Shelbyville, TN
    Finding a good hole bank fishing can be tough. Keep up the good work and catch those cats.
  4. slabmaster

    slabmaster New Member

    Patrick , welcome to the boc. i don't know your area or your state laws but in my opinion your best bet to catch large fish will be in the tail waters below lock and dams. the other areas you may have access to are barge terminals where grain is loaded and unloaded. hope this helps.
  5. michiganwhitetailRLM

    michiganwhitetailRLM New Member

    Well brother i can feel your pain more ways than you can imagine. I am also a guy who is stuck on shore and never seem to find a hole with some monsters. I live in lapeer, michigan. The great lake state with more freshwater rivers lakes and streams than any place in the country but that dose'nt make it easy for me. It's not legal to use goldfish for bait here but i have used cut bait and chicken liver along with some shad if i can catch'em runnin. There are two spots in my book of favorites that i seem to do the best. One is right up in the dam if the water is'nt all that strong and the other is on a small river at the mouth of a warm water outlet from the water treatment plant. There are a bunch of trees in the water and i can usually pull 7 or 8, 28"+ keepers out of there any time i go. Fish the meanest and ugliest part of a river for the biggins bro!
  6. shania

    shania New Member

    San Leandro, Ca
    Well - I'm much of a story teller :embarassed:- but here it goes. (LoL)

    I live out here in California, & I mostly fish in the waters of the Ca. Delta & with that being said - I like to fish in areas of "Moving Water" . With the "High & Low Tides" there, it makes fishing there very special at times.

    I love to fish this one area there, that is on privet property, but thank god the owner of that land is a family friend. The area has water flowing in & out of a drainage ditch that leads to & from the farm lands there, and fishing in those type of areas can be "Very productive", because fishing that area (For Me) has produce some nice fish, "Both Cats & Ba$$".

    The area washes all kinds of things (crayfish, worms, other insects ect...) through there and fish there can be like a "Hungry Football Team" after practice & a "All You Can Eat Buffet". (lol)
  7. Boomer

    Boomer New Member

    I grew up bank fishing on a river in Oklahoma. I to had the same problems you did, not catching the big ones, but finally worked it out.

    I found that by using a bait that was natural to that river, ie. crawdads, worms, buffalo, shad, drum and carp, I got more bites.

    I like fishing the river right after a rain and it is on the rise. Look for eddies around bends where smaller fish move into.

    As for the hanging up and breaking line problem, I use a sinker sacrificer. I dont know what kind of set or gear up you are using, but I use 3-8 oz sinkers depending on the water conditions, and 30 lb test on the main line, tied to a swivel, and my sinker goes on 12 lb test tied off this swivel. If a fish hits it in rushing water it snaps the 12 lb test easily.
  8. catfishing is fun

    catfishing is fun New Member

    A couple things to think about when bank fishing...

    1) if its easy for you to get there... its easy for everyone else to get there too... my fix for this... get some good hiking boots and find a spot that isn't over fished

    2) Depending on what type of cat your going for should determine where you fish... blues.. tailraces hands down favorite, if you want big flats... go find the biggest bunch of fallen trees in your area and toss a live bullhead in there... use big line and dont be afraid to loose a set up

    3) If the fish arn't biting... move... I used to think that if I would just sit in one spot the fish would come to me... it doesn't always happen... that doesn't have to mean move to a new spot... just cast to a different area... or maybe move your chair over a few feet...

    Hope this helps you out
  9. Pacman

    Pacman New Member

    South Carolina
    I hate to lose my rig due to snags too. Circle hooks are definitely not snag proof, but I think they snag less than a j type hook. Sacrificial weight is a good idea. "Slinky snake weights" made with parachute cord stuffed with buckshot lead slide over snags better than pyramid weights for example but they don't hold very well in swift water. And if the current is not too strong, a small float near the hook will keep it off the bottom. Lately I have been using balloons blown up about half the size of a golf ball and tied on the line. If you snag and lose it---big get 100 for a dollar at Dollar Tree. However, I think it's Bill Dance that says, "If you ain't snaggin' you ain't fishin'" Keep fishing brother!
  10. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Memphis TN
    Man thats one heck of a nice fish you got there Pacman. Is that a Flathead or Channel? I've never seen a channel that big. Thanks for the advice on the hangin up situation, it sure can be a predicament at times, especially when you ain't catchin nothin.
    I've decided to lay off the big river and will be fishing a new spot I found today. It's a backwater drainage basin area of the Loosahatchie river which is fed by the Mississippi. I've seen pictures of big Flatheads that have come out of the Hatchie river so I can only hope theres some back in the bottoms too and the backwater section is huge. When I found it today I noticed allot surface activity, probally Gar and Buffalo.
    I plan on catching some nice Bluegill and throwin out a few lines near some Cypress trees tommorrow evening. I'll be sure and let y'all know what happens.
    Anyway thanks for all the posts. I appreciated all of ya'lls experience!
  11. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    I have been a bank fisherman all my life, dont like boats.

    Good bank spots are hard to come by, and even harder to keep secrete.

    A worn down path usually means a fished out hole.
  12. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    a good bank spot is usually one you have to make yourself. study a lake map and look for spots where the channel sweeps in close to the bank, or hard bends in the channel close to the bank. I have a spot on my lake that I actually escavated about 15 yards of river bank so i can cast my 10-12 ft rods and have plenty of room to setup. It's also about a mile walk through some thick woods. Now i have my boat im still gonna fish there, but im not gonna walk to it anymore, lol. I like sandbars too on a river, but they change form year to year. Keep being persistant and you will find a honey hole. I'm also gonna experiment baiting holes with range cubes this summer, good luck-bassmassey
  13. Jerry60k

    Jerry60k Member

    Chelyan, West V
    I tend to differ from so many other bank fisherman in the fact I love to settle in just above a active boat ramp.I catch nice fish consistently in holes that at times there can be as many as 15-20 people lined up.On the other side of that I absolutely hate to fish the locks and dams unless I can get access to the backside.If you notice 1 thing all boat ramps have common is they are usualy swarming with baitfish.

    Another factor you can use to your advantage is this.Make a early day trip with some crappie minnows and mealworms.Start wearing out the panfish and keep an eye for shad schools while your at it.

    BIG sunfish in a spot with very few small sunfish means that there is a concentration of large predatory fish in the vicinity.Mark that spot cause you want to try it out later.Just keep moving around fishing for sunfish until your tired of it and mark the holes where you see ALOT of baitfish action,schools of shad,and of course the spots with the biggest and most plentiful big sunfish.

    Bridge areas can and will produce fish due to washouts downstream from the pilings.The bad thing about these areas are the seem to collect alot of nasty snags such as shopping carts.(Maybe from homeless people who knows)

    My biggest and best peice of advice would be to remember not having a boat isnt that big of a disadvantage.90% of the structure boaters are looking for start at the bank.
  14. radish

    radish Member

    Try at night the big fish move to the shallow water to feed. I have had better luck at night from the bank.
  15. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Memphis TN
    Well the elusive Flathead has again evaded me. I had hope to hook into one today during my trip to the Reelfoot Lake spillway. Here are some pics of my trip to the Reefoot Lake Spillway. I did'nt catch any Catfish but hooked onto some really big Carp and Buffalo. I had my line snapped once, set the hook and the fish made a quick powerful burst and it broke my 25 lb. test like a thread. We saw some Gar that were as big as Jon Boats. this place is a "Rough Fish" paradise. Enjoy!:wink:

    Attached Files:

  16. ChannelCatBen

    ChannelCatBen New Member

    I fish from the bank 95% of the time. Boats ain't cheap, so I make do with what I got: my feet.

    I don't mind walking a ways. Like hunting public land: get away from the crowds and you'll do better. I load up a backpack and a small cooler (and a bait bucket if I'm fishing flatheads) and hike on in. One of my favorite spots is a stretch of shoreline about a mile from the nearest paved road. There's a jogging/walking path, and although I often see joggers, I never see anyone fishing. I've taken lots of 10+ lb channels out of there.

    Another one of my best spots is next to a lock & dam, on the upstream side. There's a visitor center, and lots of people walking back and forth, taking pictures... none of them fishing. Most people don't even realize that you can fish there. I've seen numerous big flatheads pulled from that spot. I found the spot while sightseeing with an out-of-town visitor, and I thought to myself, "Why not?" The spot continues to produce for me, and it's been four years since I started fishing there.

    It's tough to find good spots. It takes some legwork, like scouting out the big bucks. But man, when you find a few good spots that nobody else knows about... that's almost as much fun as the fish you're after.
  17. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Welcome to the BOC brother. First off I just want to say that I have been a bank fisherman all my life. I prefer it that way. I used to live in Tennessee and fished the cumberland river exclusively ( Old Hickory Lake). I have caught many big fish over the years. I now live in western Kentucky and still fish the cumberland river system ( Lake Barkley). Within the last 30 days or so, I have caught my 2 biggest Flatheads ever. On 4-22-08 landed a 43.1 lb Flathead. On 5-27-08 landed a 67.2 lb Flathead. On 11-13-07 landed a 47.9 lb Bluecat. All of these were personal best for me and all were caught from the bank. I dont move around at all and all of these spots are heavily fished. I know that I have some good spots and I will fish them with all confidence. I use nothing but live Bluegills for Flatheads and cut Bluegill heads for Blues in the winter months. This is what works for me. Like mentioned earlier in a post by Radish.....the bigguns come in shallow at night to feast. Especially in the warmer months of spring and summer and fall. In the winter I move to deeper water to fish for Blues. One thing I do is fish mostly at night because that is when all my big ones have been caught. I always look for deep water with a shallow flat nearby. I usually put out about 4-5 rods and use heavy duty rod holders that stick into the ground so as not to loose a rod. I usually cast one or two rods into some of the deeper water close to a shallow. And I cast some of the rods into very shallow water. The last 2 Flatheads were caught in 4-6 feet of water late at night. I always listen to what the water has to that I mean, listen for big splashes at night. This will let you know where the bigguns are feeding at usually. If you are not hearing some good splashes at night, then you might consider relocating. But if you are in a good spot with deep and shallow water nearby...then fish live bluegills with all the confidence you can have and stay all night!!!! I hope this helps a little and good luck brother:big_smile:
  18. massa_jorge

    massa_jorge New Member

    i would chunk up that carp and use him as bait! a lot of my bigger fish come on cut or live carp. what i wanted to say is that fishing below a dam... get on a hill above the river when they aren't letting out water, and take note of the holes. heck take or draw a picture if you have to, because when the water runs fast the cats will be in those holes! i used to get frustrated because i couldn't get even a no roll to land in the holes. now i throw well above the hole and keep a tight line, and let the current take may bait there. sometimes when the fish are hitting good you will hook up within 10 feet of the hole, because they know the food is coming. i have caught blues to 38 pounds on r&r like this.
    i don't get to fish rivers for flatheads like i used to, it's all lakes up here. we have a lot of cliffs around most of our lakes, and i get up there and look down on the water. you'd be surprised at what you don't see at eye level with the water. i have found a lot of good fishing spots like this, giving me my pb r&r flat at 40 pounds. that was in a 'common area' right by a gas station for boats, right by a marina, where countless fishermen start on the water everyday. boat ramps can be awesome like jerry said, i am just a little leary of catching anything in front of a lot of people!
    i would start fishing more 'native' baits that are in the water you're fishing. you will start hanging into cats that are actively hunting the same thing you are using this way. and monster blues are hard to come by this time of year, for me anyway. 20 pounds is an awesome blue this time of year for me. later on in december and january, i start catching them way bigger. good luck to you bud!
  19. mrmarkedwards

    mrmarkedwards Active Member

    doug stange once said "go beyond forked stick country" i agree but sometimes that doesn't mean moving it can mean casting farther out. where i fish we have huge mud flats and as the tide goes out they get more and more shallow and most fishermen leave but i'll stay downsize my baits and cast farther and still catch fish when others can't. sometimes it just pays to use your head for something besides a hatrest
  20. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Great thread, y'all. That's all.:big_smile: