Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Whistler, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member


    Luke Clayton​

    This time of year, I like my catfish “on the rocks”! What? You’re thinking about now, has ole’ Luke had one too many of some type of adult libation or has he been spending too much time working with that word processor again? If you are a catfisherman, chances are pretty good that you like your catfish on the rocks this time of year as well. When waters warm, usually in mid to late April, channel catfish move into areas of rock rip-rap to spawn and catching them is often as easy as dropping a bait vertically into the cracks and crevices created by the irregularly shaped rocks that form the rip-rap that protects slopes adjacent bridges and roadways around reservoirs all across the country.

    Chances are very good that, regardless where you live or which lake you favor for targeting “Mr. Whiskers”, you’re within a short drive of plenty of rip-rap.

    Photo by Luke Clayton

    I recently returned from a morning of “rock fishing” at Lake Lewisville, situated a few miles north of Dallas with guide Bobby Kubin. Bobby knows well the rewards of dunking baits around these rock structures and the good news is that catfish have already began moving shallow into the rip-rap. As we motored toward a stretch of rip-rap adjacent the dam, Bobby and I discussed why rip-rap fishing is so good this time of year. “Rocks absorb and hold heat, he said. “Often the water temperature around rip-rap will be a few degrees warmer in the afternoon. This is not such a big factor as the summer progresses, but early in the season, it’s one of the primary reasons that catfish, and many other species as well, are attracted to the rocks. Baitfish are also attracted to rocks. Catfish have everything they need for spawning in these areas; plenty of food and the irregularly shaped rocks provide perfect protection for their eggs.”

    Kubin says when the channel catfish spawn really gets going, usually in early May, fish can often be found all along the long stretches of rip-rap but features such as points or bends in the rock structures or more open areas around larger rocks can be real hot spots. “Last year, a couple of guys and I pulled three limits from around one large rock that was situated on a bend in the rip-rap. The trick is to position the boat 25 yards or so away from the rocks and cast a little past the intended spot are you are targeting. This technique avoids the “splash” of dropping a bait right on top of the fish which often spooks them.”

    Vertical bait presentation is important when fishing these tackle eating rocks. Kubin prefers using a slip cork set to keep the bait just up from the rocks. “Once I make a cast, I like to leave the bait in placed until a strike occurs. Casting and constantly reeling baits back in is a surefire way to keep yourself hung up in the rocks. Just cast the baits out and let them sit just above the rocks. Good punch baits that leave plenty of scent in the water work well for this type of fishing but when the fish really get going, they will hit anything from earthworms to fresh shrimp. I prefer using punch bait because it’s so convenient to fish with. After it’s been in the water a little while, the little pieces that fall off serve as chum and help to further concentrate catfish.” he added. Since the vast majority of fish caught along the rocks are “eating size” channels in the 1.5-6 pound range, Kubin prefers using a #4 or #6 treble hook and he keeps a pair of needle nose pliers handy to put the correct bend back in the hooks when they are bent by the rocks.

    Bank fishing can also be very good along rock rip-rap but these irregular shaped stones make for rough walking- and they are magnets for snakes, especially after the sun sets.

    Kubin and I fished about 2.5 hours and landed around 20 catfish, the largest around 4 pounds. Had I set the hook on every bite I had, we could have doubled our catch. This is good fishing by anybody’s standards and I now have the making of one whale of a big fish fry. Kubin predicts the action to get really hot in the next week or two-and remain good into June when the fish begin to stage on deeper structure.

    Fishing the rocks is usually not the best method of putting trophy blue catfish in the boat but if it’s action and fillets you’re looking for, give this unique method of fishing a try. I’m betting you too will be “hooked” after you do your time on the rock pile!

    To book a trip with catfish pro Bobby Kubin, call 817-455-2894 or check out his web site at