Catfish on the Surface Why?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by centralcalcat, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. centralcalcat

    centralcalcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,163
    State:
    Marion, TX
    I have seen this a couple of times myself and have heard of other anglers around here having similar problems, so I figured I would ask:

    On two occasions in the last couple of years I have come accross a school of catfish milling around the surface. I know for a fact they are cats by the fins sticking out of the water and the fact I could physically see the fish. I tried throwing every bait I could think of at them form liver, to dip bait, to shiners, shad, etc. They did not even give it a second look. I first though this might be a freak occurance, but I recieved another report from a friend expieriencing something similar in a different body of water. Then a third report from another source confirmed that this could not be a freak occurance.

    These were channel cats doing this.

    Has anyone else seen this? What are they doing? Can they be caught while doing this activity, if so how?

    Thanks

    -Brian
     
  2. s_self88

    s_self88 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Shawnee, Kansas
    I've seen this a couple of times this year at a small lake. It happens around 8 or 9 pm. I have caught fish while they were doing it, but I'm not sure if they were the fish that were surfacing. They could have been ones feeding under water.
     

  3. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Messages:
    2,090
    State:
    Kansas CIty, MO
    See it all the time. I will admit though I only see this happen after a real heavy rain and there in a feeding mode up in the mouths and creeks that flow into the lake. It's the coolest thing to drop your bait into the water and watch the fish come slam it.
     
  4. centralcalcat

    centralcalcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,163
    State:
    Marion, TX
    The times that it has occured here in both cases I have seen and the two that friends have eye witnessed were on sunny days, nothing out of the ordinary. They were also both accompanied by poor fishing.

    -Brian
     
  5. Mountain Cur

    Mountain Cur New Member

    Messages:
    171
    State:
    Missouri, Warsaw
    That surface action is called shoaling. I don't have any idea why fish do it but I do know they get "lock jaw." They don't seem to be aware of anything around them. We have taken several carp from a school while bow fishing with out much more than a minimal disturbance of the rest of the fish. I have observed several different types of fish doing this. One thought is those fish may have spent some time at a depth that the oxygen level was low and they have come to the surface because of that, it would explain thier lethargy. Thats only a guess.
     
  6. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    I have seen many Wels catfish on the surface, mainly feeding but I have seen them basking in the sun for short spells, I have also seen them around spawning time socialising close together on the surface totally oblivious to any one and ant thing.

    You tend to see fish on the surface for several reasons, feeding is the main one feeding on fly hatches and shoals of small fish that have been rounded up or on surface food introduced, they also take in air to swallow baits ( the clonk) and possibly test the air pressure, temp etc

    Hitting the surface may be a way of communicating?

    One thing its sure nice to see fish behave this way, even if you do not catch them its reassuring to know they are there.

    Maybe try some lure fishing if a group hit the top, maybe the bigger fish are just below the ones hitting the surface? well worth a try!
     
  7. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    i havent seen channels do this before but i have seen blues do it several times. mostly in the mornings. ive seen some hawgs come to the top and just go back down. i cant get them to bite at this time either. i ve seen fish on the depth finder come up to the boat at times also but never actually see the fish. just see a line on the graph coming up and then back down. i think in this case the fish are just checking you out. maybe they hear the ripple of water around the boat and come to check it out. kind of neat to what at times.
     
  8. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    ive seen channels do that on the river once a few years back, couldnt figure it out then either, they had lock-jaw too. it was a very sunny day also. i see bluegill and carp doing it all the time at a local gravel pit/park when we have some really high pressure come in, like 30.40 and above. i think that high pressure makes their swim bladder swell up and causes them to rise high in the water column. that could have been what was causing those channels on the river to do that, but i didnt pay attention to the barometor then. could have been water temp too, if the water gets really hot all the oxygen will be at the top.
     
  9. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    I remember a huge school of small cats doing this over the river channel at Santee.(Football field size)They were small(not big enough to fry whole).The water was like glass.They were gulping at the surface.This school ran from Chapel Branch,to past the 301 bridge.It was before dark,and they were still at it when it got too dark to see.Didn;t notice any fish,but cats,and all seemed about the same size.They were gone the next morning.Seems like there was quite a few dead washed up later,when they had time to bloat.Most of the dead looked to be about the size of the schooling cats.This was mid 50,s.We did not know much about "turnover"back then.Still don;t know what happened.This does not sound like what you saw.peewee-williams
     
  10. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    I catch a lot of channels when they are on the surface. I float a bait on top , you can see the fish hit . Lots of the fish hitting the surface than people call carp are in fact cats.It is not not uncommon to see Flatheads feeding on the surface also.
     
  11. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    check this out in this link Ictalurus punctatus in the channel cat section. Cats do feed on the surface. This is not a rare ocurrence.
    Bill:)
     
  12. elphaba7

    elphaba7 New Member

    Messages:
    795
    State:
    Mo'town, WV
    Could it have something to do with spawning? I saw a school of fish do this last summer (didn't know what they were) on the other side of a tiny river I was fishing in. They just stayed in the same spot, swimming against the current, and no matter what I threw at them, they didn't bite. I wonder if they were either spawning themselves, or something else was, and they were "stalking" it, so to speak.:confused:
     
  13. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    I have seen small cats skipping across the top of the water in a almost upright postion, apparently chasing insects! I have also seen big cats (not carp) breaking surface near shore, sometimes you can catch them and sometimes not a bite!
     
  14. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    Messages:
    488
    State:
    central illinois
    I'd love to catch me some topwater flatheads!!!!! Amagine the explosion of them coming up to grab hold of your bait..... I personally have never seen what you guys are speaking of. Sounds like they would be feeding but, then again they aren't being caught during that period by some anglers>..?
     
  15. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    I would say that the reason more are not caught on top is that most fisherman think cats only feed on the bottom. How many have you seen with the bait on the surface?
     
  16. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    Channels eat algie.
    Bill:)
     
  17. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,160
    State:
    NC
    Good question and no clear answer.

    I seen it some last summer during the big May Fly hatches. Of course every fish in the lake was on the surface too!! Millions of little flies and the water was popping all night. We caught one fish in five hours of fishing; thye did not want our bait.

    The most amazing thing was when a bolt of lightning lit up the sky, scared the crap out of me, and the fish! It sounded like a ton of gravel was scattered in the lake! All of the fish tail slapped when the lightning lit everything up!! Talk about an andrenaline rush! LOL!!

    Other than that, you got me on this one?!?!?!?!
     
  18. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    Channels eat everything!
     
  19. bwolcott

    bwolcott New Member

    Messages:
    27
    State:
    Illinois
    i've seen this before and i got the same reaction like the entire school are zombies. i started to scoop them up with the net since they were so out of it but then i thought they might be sick and then i get sick from eating them. one time my brother and i saw a carp doing this and we tried to catch it but nothing worked, finally the carp disappear under water and hit my brothers line, we pulled him in and took him home he looked fine. we were going to grill him up till we cut him open and the meat just looked terrible like it had been sick, we kept going and found nothing weird but the meat didn't look good so we tossed it out. i would really like to know what those cats are doing.
     
  20. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    I've caught a number of chanels on a flyrod at KY lake during the Mayfly hatch which you just have to see to believe and of course every other fish in the lake is up slurping the flys at that time.CATBUSTER did you get the FINS line I sent to you?