Big Cat Question?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by SDOutdoorsman, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    I've been fishing for flatheads all week. I've been catching 2 or 3 every night in about a 2 hour time frame. They've all been in the 10lbs to 20lbs range. I'd really like to hook up with a monster which I know are in this river. Would you guys recommend moving to a new spot or should I stay in the same spot where I'm already catching a few and wait it out for a big one. I am already using the biggest bullheads I can find for bait, so using bigger bait is not an option. Also I'm fishing at a dam on a small river and generally start fishing right at dark. Any other tips to hooking up with a huge river monster?
     

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  2. milesej05

    milesej05 Member

    Messages:
    639
    State:
    Nebraska
    Name:
    Eric
    Throw bigger baits
     

  3. Fishfeen

    Fishfeen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,766
    State:
    CA/WV
    I would wait it out. They will come. -Fishfeen
     
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  4. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    Sounds like I just need to find a new spot to catch bigger bait fish instead of a new spot to catch catfish. Thanks for the advice guys.
     
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  5. twaskom

    twaskom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    State:
    Indiana
    Name:
    Tom
    Hi Jake, it is somewhat of a crap shoot on whether to move or not but if your getting two to three in 2 hours there is something there that flatheads like. Just out of curiosity, how big is the bait you are using. I don't know if bait size would help anyway. If you can find some big bluegills and if you allowed to use them where you live it might be worth a try.

    Sounds like you know what would be best to try. Welcome to the forum and let us know how you did.
     
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  6. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    I'm using bullheads that are anywhere between 4 and 8 inches. I use the biggest ones I have first. I loved using big bluegills for bait on the Mississippi River when I lived in Wisconsin but unfortunately they are illegal to use here in South Dakota.
     
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  7. twaskom

    twaskom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    State:
    Indiana
    Name:
    Tom
    Figured that might be the case Jake. The 8 inches should be good enough. It is just getting it out when the big Flathead comes by.

    Good luck.
     
    Fishfeen likes this.
  8. RedmanWV

    RedmanWV Member

    Messages:
    104
    State:
    West Virginia
    Name:
    Adam
    Jake, seems like you must be doing something right. I'd wait it out for the big one.
    Congrats on your catches, they look like some nice fish.
     
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  9. Chop1

    Chop1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,055
    State:
    Mississippi
    Name:
    Chad
    At least you are getting some action during the wait! I be proud to catch a 20lb flat right now. My flathead fishing(or catching) is way down this year. But august is on the way when I go to the Ms river, my time will come....................
     
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  10. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    I'd stick it out, big ones can be few and far between. I'd say if 20's are there it's likely bigger ones will be. I sometimes bait one rod with night crawlers before dark for a while, see if I can catch a carp or drum the right size for a big bait. Not sure if that is an option for you.
     
    KurtManning likes this.
  11. halll

    halll Member

    Messages:
    304
    State:
    iowa
    Nice looking cats man! Last year I had a similar situation, I would only cat 5-15 pounders of a huge snag with really great depth for the river I was fishing. That was in may and June but when October came, it was the "spot". I'm no expert but I agree with there's something about that spot if there Are smaller ones there. I also think what affected my spot was guys with bank lines , it gets hit pretty hard in the summer but once fall comes everyone goes crazy for ol mossyhorn! Lol if I've learned anything it's the little things count with flatheads!
     
    cavillac likes this.
  12. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    Friday night a guy was in my spot when I got there. He caught a 28 pounder while I was waiting for him to leave. After he left I caught about a 15 and 10 pounder. This spot certainly is producing well this year. Its a well known spot right in town and gets hammered by fisherman (not just people fishing for catfish). Some years it really produces and other years you can't get a bite. Most guys are keeping every fish they catch (I release all mine) hoping that doesn't affect the fishery as I know it takes the big ones quite awhile to get to that size. I wish I had a boat to try several spots up and down the river. Their at a few other places I could get to from shore but they would be a lot further drive or hard to get to by foot.

    I'm not normally a hardcore catfisherman. When is normally the best time of the year to fish for flatheads? I'm just wondering if this bite is going to continue through out the summer? Does it get better or worse in the fall when the water temp starts going back down?
     
  13. Chop1

    Chop1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,055
    State:
    Mississippi
    Name:
    Chad
    I catch more in the late summer/fall. Alot of people do well in the spring, but the rivers are always high here then. That makes the flats feed up on top alot, good for limblines, not so good for bottom fishing with rodnreel.
     
    halll likes this.
  14. LeeWoolery

    LeeWoolery Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,151
    State:
    Ohio
    Jake:

    Without knowing the ultimate size fish in that stretch of water, it's hard to say if any big flatheads are there?

    You can check with the game warden or fisheries management for that part of the state to find out or see if any local "reputable" bait stores have pictures of trophy catfish.

    Sometimes the big ones are just not in the body of water where we fish as much as we would like them to be.

    Could be that 28 pounder is the largest fish you will ever see.

    Good luck.
     
  15. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    I know without a doubt their are big ones in this river, just not sure if the big ones are in the spot I'm fishing or a different spot on the river. The 63lb 8oz state record came out of the river which beat the previous state record that also came out of this river. Saw a pic of a guy that caught one a few weeks ago that was just 2 pounds shy of the state record. In the past 20 years I've seen numerous 30 to 50lbers most of which were caught by accident by people fishing for walleye.
     
  16. LeeWoolery

    LeeWoolery Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,151
    State:
    Ohio
    Jake:

    I am envious...wish the river 2 minutes from me had monster flatheads like you describe.

    I would fish near the spots where those records were caught looking for some deep cover or creek mouth inlet.

    A lowhead dam is about perfect for a flathead to ambush prey.

    Get a cast net and find the biggest suckers, gizzard shad or carp you can find ( no more than a pound and half ) from the river you are fishing...if laws allow cast nets below dams.

    Bait them with a 12/0 Gamakatsu Big River J Hook or quick strike rig and wait them out this summer.

    Keep the baits good and lively in a floating live well net but with that oxygenated water from the dam, the baits should really stay frisky.

    A 20 pound flathead or channel will grab a one pound bait so be prepared for some surprises when you get a hit on one of your rigs.

    The night you don't fish is the night they will be feeding.

    Use two rods with the big, lively baits on both and you may need 8 ounce sinkers to hold them in current near bottom or keep them in once place if you can find slack water.

    Don't know what kind of tackle you are using but a 7000 C3 size reel and a XXH musky rod or Knockout Catfish Rod would be the minimum and tough, abrasion-resistant mono like 30-40# Big Game or P Line CXX would be my choice for line.

    Also...make sure you have a super-size landing net.

    You hook a 50 pound plus flathead catfish in current with rocks, boulders, tree limbs and other debris...you are in for a fight.

    Good luck and hope you break that state record.
     
    Catpaw likes this.
  17. cavillac

    cavillac Active Member

    Messages:
    736
    State:
    Loveland,Iowa
    Sounds exactly like the section of the MO I fish!!
     
  18. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    I know those state records were caught on this river but have no idea about the exact locations of where they caught them.

    I'm using 2 Abu Garcia 6500 reels on 7ft medium heavy ugly sticks with 80lb power pro on the reel and 40 trilene big game for a leader. 8/0 circle hooks and 2 to 4 ounce sinkers depending on where I'm casting in the current. Using the biggest bull heads for bait. game fish and carp are illegal to use so I'm pretty limited for other bait options. I've never had any luck getting any suckers or shad out of this river. A sheaphead/drum would be an option if I can catch one.

    Here are some pics of what the spot looks like. I've caught my biggest fish right up next to the damn, but caught the most fish in the current seam closest to shore in fairly shallow water (most likely because this bait doesn't get snagged up so its in the water more)

    Seems like the bite has slowed down, haven't seen one caught 3 nights in a row now.

    spot1.jpg spot2.jpg spot3.jpg
     
    Catpaw likes this.
  19. LeeWoolery

    LeeWoolery Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,151
    State:
    Ohio
    Jake:

    Looks like a perfect spot for big fish.

    Are there any blue catfish in this part of the river?

    A 10-16" gizzard shad would just about perfect bait for huge catfish if you could cast net them since they are usually right up against the dam face and that is where the predators ambush them.

    Looks like the fishing laws in your state regarding fish to be used as bait are as restrictive as any I have seen in the United States. You can't even catch baitfish in one body of water and transport them to a another fishing spot unless you use well or tap water that would have to be treated.

    That is very restrictive but they ( like all states ) are trying to keep invasive species under control so it is understandable. They don't even want water from one body of water ( which may contain an invasive specie egg or fry) to be dumped in another body of water.

    You can't catch gizzard shad from one body of water and transport them to another to be used as bait so I would try a cast net.

    You would be limited to catching rough fish ( no carp ) out of that stretch of river and using them for bait or risk a serious fine.

    Best of luck.
     
  20. SDOutdoorsman

    SDOutdoorsman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Name:
    Jake
    Their are blue cats in here but they are far and few between. I can only remember seeing 2 ever being caught. The Game Fish and Parks doesn't even list a blue cat in their "Fishes of South Dakota" handbook so they are pretty rare.