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I fish a local man made lake here in California for channel cats. I fish from a kayak. The lake is fairly flat, about thirteen feet at most, a few islands, a lot of overgrown cattails. My question is, how do you fish for larger cats when there really isn't any deep water? I have caught a couple of okay channel cats, one 19 inches, the other 22 inches. I know there are larger ones in this lake. Any tips would be great!
 

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Raymond welcome to the forum first off. Second I fish a lake here in Utah that sounds very similar. It's a large flat bottom with average depth of about 8-9 feet. We only have channel cats and am avg one is about 22" and 3 lbs. Right now they are catching 30-32"ers by trolling. By moving you cover more ground and can increase odds of finding fish. Then they are using 1 1/2" -2" size pieces of bait. 7-9' is our lucky number for big cats as far as depth. Our lake is about 60 degrees give our take 3 degrees right now and that 7-9' they love that depth. We don't look for structure in most cases unless you can find weeds in 3-4' and anchor up and cast right next to the weeds almost in them. But that is what works for us on our flat bottom lake. It's Utah lake.
 

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Steven from Georgia
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Welcome to the board Raymond!

Bigger bait is the first thing that comes to mind. (bait fish)
Ive also caught some nice channels on live bream.

Justin i like the drifting / trolling idea. Without alot of structure they could be anywhere. You could drift until you find some. Then anchor and see if you could catch some larger ones.
 

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Thank you Justin, and Steven, for the tips. I will try trolling/drifting with larger baits this weekend, very the depth until I find the sweet spot. Thanks guys.
 

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We have a lake that is oner and thus has a somewhat flatter bottom with few snags. Justin is saying what I would recommend. Move your baits by drifting suspended or I also like to brag baits.

I net shad minnows about 2 to 4 inches long, hook then thru the mouth with a 4/0 or 5/0 circle and drag them. It is just like trolling but baits are right at the bottom all the time. If you need more details just ask.

I drag 3 lines (Indiana waters limit) in a constant direction and when I want to turn, I usually stop, bring the lines in, make the turn and then put lines back out.

I like to target the part of a lake where the feeder creek comes in if I can. I think cats like a little water flow if there is any.

good luck.
 

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Raymond welcome to USCA. Great to have you on board. Youtube poster Dieter Melhorn has been doing a series on using strips of chicken breast for catfishing and having good results.
He also has covered those strips in jello powder and having good results also.
 

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Thank you for all for the tips and welcome. Here in California it's rough. We can't net our own bait, unless its with a dip net, and we certainly can't catch it either, Bluegill would be awesome. Mostly use team catfish sudden impact fiber bait, and cut frozen bait like mackerel and sardines. This weekend I'm heading out for some drifting with mackerel and Jello chicken breast. Thanks.
 

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Aaron......Indiana
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The chicken breast tip above is a good one. Cut it in the size you want to use, put it in a Tupperware container, add a pack of strawberry or cherry kool aid (some people around here use Big Red, but that may not be available in California), and for extra attraction add minced garlic. Let it sit a day before using. Good luck!
 

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I fish a local man made lake here in California for channel cats. I fish from a kayak. The lake is fairly flat, about thirteen feet at most, a few islands, a lot of overgrown cattails. My question is, how do you fish for larger cats when there really isn't any deep water? I have caught a couple of okay channel cats, one 19 inches, the other 22 inches. I know there are larger ones in this lake. Any tips would be great!
The lake we usually fish is about 8-9ft deep. I am not sure if this will get you larger cats, but this summer our most effective (and cheap) bait fishing in a lake is a cheap hotdog ($1 per package) + strawberry jello. Cut them up, microwave a minute or two to make it tougher, mix with jello, then let it marinate 1 - 2 days before using it.
 

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OkC Oklahoma
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Raymond welcome to USCA. Great to have you on board. Youtube poster Dieter Melhorn has been doing a series on using strips of chicken breast for catfishing and having good results.
He also has covered those strips in jello powder and having good results also.
Dieter doesn’t seem to want to admit (joking, I think) that, at times he catches more larger cats with the jello chcken than he does with other baits. (Mostly cut bluegill)
I like his videos. I just with I could catch a fraction of the number of fish he does. :)
 

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The lake we usually fish is about 8-9ft deep. I am not sure if this will get you larger cats, but this summer our most effective (and cheap) bait fishing in a lake is a cheap hotdog ($1 per package) + strawberry jello. Cut them up, microwave a minute or two to make it tougher, mix with jello, then let it marinate 1 - 2 days before using it.
Hmmm! Dollar General or Dollar Tree hotdog with strawberry jello?
I tried the strawberry/chicken, very poor results. (ie: nary a bite. Like it was a repellent rather than attractant)..
I’ll try the strawberry dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited by Moderator)
Went on the lake Sunday with jello chicken breast, mackerel soaked in Team Catfish Dead Red Spray. I caught one with the jello chicken, and was the largest of 4 fish, but only 1 1/2 pounds, fought like heck. The other three, and most of the bites were on the mackerel. Got blown off the water early. Will try the chicken again, and maybe hotdogs, people locally say it works. Thanks for all the advice everybody.
 

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Drifting unfamiliar water is always a great place to start. You can eliminate a lot of barren water by just simply moving across it. That being said, nothing has ever aided me more when picking spots than the old adage "In a world where everything is the same, fish what's different".

If you can't get your eyes on a map of the water you're planning on hitting, drifting is a great way to 'map' it. If you can, look for a change. The more the dramatic the better. A lone tree laying on the bottom of a huge barren flat piques my interest far more than a forest. A steep wall next to a hole grabs me far more than the slow descent on the opposing side of a hole. Etc., etc..

Good luck,
Chad
 

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I fish a local man made lake here in California for channel cats. I fish from a kayak. The lake is fairly flat, about thirteen feet at most, a few islands, a lot of overgrown cattails. My question is, how do you fish for larger cats when there really isn't any deep water? I have caught a couple of okay channel cats, one 19 inches, the other 22 inches. I know there are larger ones in this lake. Any tips would be great!
 

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Theres a lake in my area similar to what you describe and i have a buddy that catches cats over 30lbs and he does it by bank fishing casting out huge chunks of cut bait.Its a slow a process and requires a lot of patience bucause theres so many little catfish to get past but it works for him.
 
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