Catching Baby Flathead Catfish

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by NCCatter, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    Messages:
    462
    State:
    North Carolina
    I have heard of people catching baby flatheads in eel pots and minnow traps. I want to purposefully catch one or two so I can put them in my aquarium and see where they hang out and how they feed etc. Any tips on catching these babies (without rod and reel)? LOL
     
  2. TexasCatfish

    TexasCatfish New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    Texas
    I'd like to do the same thing. I caught a tiny channel cat and put him in my aquarium about a year ago, but I let him go because he was beginning to outgrow it. Also, don't let the game warden catch you driving around with one of those, much less two. :p
     

  3. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    Messages:
    462
    State:
    North Carolina
    If they are a nongame fish, why should I be concerned?
     
  4. TexasCatfish

    TexasCatfish New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    Texas
    They aren't a game fish in NC?
     
  5. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    Messages:
    462
    State:
    North Carolina
    They are non native so there is no closed season or creel limit. Just can't snag them. There are some lakes where you can't keep but like 6 or something b/c of stocking and stuff. Here is a link to the NCWRC: http://216.27.49.98/pg02_Regs/pg2b1.pdf
     
  6. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    i caught one once about the size of the channel in my avatar. was fishing for smallmouth with nightcrawlers when i caught him. those baby flats grow extremely fast so i would guess the hatch from last year are close to a pound now. i caught mine in september so you might want to wait till late summer to get one from this years hatch. i built some "sams bluegill traps" (see library) this winter, i might stuff it with shad parts and try and see if i can get some babys in it later in the year.
     
  7. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    Messages:
    462
    State:
    North Carolina
    Thanks Dink,
    I had some channels last year and I wanted to see how they moved around and fed-I want to do the same with flatheads and just see how they normally behave. I know it won't be identical to real life situation, but better than just guessing all the time!
     
  8. bigblaze

    bigblaze New Member

    Messages:
    738
    State:
    NC
    hey NCCatter we got a small one (channel) out of our cast net this weekend..

    It's in my bait tank...just in it's brief time, I have noticed it behaves differently than the eels, or bluegills...it faces the current and is always below the other fish basically holds tight to the bottom and lets the food (worms minnows) come to it....

    I cant decide if it will become part of my tank or bait when flathead season comes around..

    Yea, Texascatfish the cats are not protected here in NC, I wish the cats were a sportfish in NC but they are not...
     
  9. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    Messages:
    462
    State:
    North Carolina
    BigBlaze,
    Joe said he would catch them in eel pots or castnet (I can't remember) but he would take them home, but he would bring them back when they outgrew the tank and release them. That's what I would do, cuz I have no reason to keep them forever. I have caught a baby channel in my castnet before below the dam. It was about 1.5" long and I kept it for about 6 months. Of course it didnt' grow as rapidly as it would have in the wild...
     
  10. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    they have one in the fish tank at bass pro in concord. evertime i have been in there that fish is laying on the same old rock. i have heard when the light get turned down at closing he moves around some but i have never seen him move. i have been it that store at least 50 times.
     
  11. 01 Mudslinger

    01 Mudslinger New Member

    Messages:
    264
    State:
    Gretna, Va
    i had a largemouth bass and too blue gills in a aquarium once. that bass got to be pretty descent size. was kinda neat to watch it.
     
  12. C_wernett

    C_wernett New Member

    Messages:
    693
    State:
    North Carolina
    Some of you may remember a post I put up a while back in the flathead forums about this subject, and my experiment with a captive specimen last year. But as it goes, my buddy went out one night and caught one that was mayb 8 or 10 inches long. So, we do exactly what you're proposing to do. Here are my findings on flatheads.

    1.)If it get's close enough and will fit in it's mouth, it will try to eat it. What is too big to eat, it will chew off what it can and spit out the rest. Mine devoured all my blue spot sunfish, 10" long redfinned pickeral, and later killed of 6 bullheads that were nearly the same size as the flathead in less than a weeks time.

    2.)These thing grow at amazing rates! In two months my captive specimen went from 8" to nearly 12". That's more than most fish grow in an entire year.

    3.)You will never see them move, but you'll find them in different areas each time you wake up after falling asleep trying to stay awake with the lights off long enough to catch them move!

    4.)Take a hookless Zoom Super Fluke on a line with a weight and jig it passed that nasty buggers face at night with the lights off. He will BLAST it! Which leads me to believer that in a lot of cases, the rely more on an acute sence of vibrations before smell to detect prey items.

    5.)If you're fishing, and get hit hard, but miss the hookset, chances are it wasn't a flathead. After watching what these guys will eat, and are capable of eating, it's almost impossible for them not to properly inhale a hook. They don't mouth a bait first like channels or blues, they simply just suck the entire thing in and keep move on.

    And for an interesting side note, mine preferred to lay in a transition spot between a piece of driftwood and a rock, with not real correlation to the current in the tank. He never stuck his head out the side without rock, or other cover outside of the driftwood.

    It was really interesting, it just got too expensive to keep him, and I couldn't keep any other fish in the tank with him! So I took him back down to the river and let him go. I'm waiting to hear from other who experiment also, and are willing to share their findings.
     
  13. bigblaze

    bigblaze New Member

    Messages:
    738
    State:
    NC
    good info...c_wernett and as for Joe i wouldnt be surprised if that flathead in his avatar wasant his pet flathead that he has tied up down at the river...he brings it out once a year and takes a pic of it and then ties it back up down at the river.....LOL joe
     
  14. catseeman

    catseeman New Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    State:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    thanks C_Wernett. I have at various times put different types of wild fish in my tank to watch.the wild ones always eat the tank fish .
     
  15. suddawg

    suddawg New Member

    Good info C_wernett. I can't believe Flatheads aren't game fish in N.C. Seems like everything is considered gamefish in Nebraska.

    SudDawg
     
  16. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    Messages:
    462
    State:
    North Carolina
    One question C_Wernett:
    Would the current in the tank be sufficient enough to make the flathead act normal? I mean they are current oriented fish, so if there was not enough current, that may not be the normal behavior of that fish. I was just asking out of curiosity and trying to consider all the variables.