Channel catfish drifting setup look like?

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by vince, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. vince

    vince New Member

    Messages:
    53
    State:
    Minnesota
    Hey i will be drifting for channel cats this summer what exactly should i be doing and how should the set up look it? what tackle should i use?

    going after channels in the red river minnesota this spring 12 to 20lb cats
    drifting in 10' to 18' of water. what size hook? thinking 5/0 circle

    give me the ideal set up i will be using spiining rods and reels.

    thanks vince..
     
  2. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    The best drifting set up I know, of is a slip float rig.
     

  3. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    Like CJ says, use the slip float tech. for drifting, and while that is out there taking care of itself, I'd use a bottom bouncer rig and closely tend this with a slow up and down feeling the bottom, and watching the depth finder. Use this technique with a three way swivel and fancy bottom slider sinker.. cant think of the name... lindy little joe?

    bayrunner ray
     
  4. vince

    vince New Member

    Messages:
    53
    State:
    Minnesota
    Do most channels stay close to the bottom?
     
  5. gadzooks

    gadzooks New Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    State:
    Kingwood, Tx (Houston)
    Vince, catfish feed all through the water table. I catch them on float rigs with 3 ft of line below the float, on bottom at 20 ft or more, and in between.
     
  6. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    I have caught most of my channels drifting a slip float rig.
     
  7. Michael Jake

    Michael Jake New Member

    Messages:
    808
    State:
    Troy, Missouri
    Vince, most of the channels you’ll catch will be at the bottom 3 ft of water. While drifting that should be the target area to maintain you bait. In the evenings and mornings of summer time on the rivers in your area, I would fish more shallow water from the depth you gave. If theres been a recent rain where water level is higher then fish the top 1/3 water colume. Hope this helps for what depth to target.
     
  8. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    Vince - I'm a Minnesota Cat Fisherman too. I primarily fish the St Croix River near Stillwater. I've had good success drifting but the technique I use on the St Croix is a bit different than you would use on the Red River. I don't have to contend with that much current. Usually the lower St Croix is more like a lake than a river and there is not much current. I primarily use the wind to control my drifting.

    I will line up my drift using the wind to move me along the drift line I want. I turn my boat sideways into the wind and just drift or if there is too much wind I will deploy a wind sock to control my speed. I like a drift of about 0.5 mph or so - in my opinion, slower is better. We can use 2 rods on the St Croix River because it is boundary waters. My main drift rig consists of a 1/0 snap swivel tied to my main line (I spool my spinning rigs with 30 lb test PowerPro HiVis line). Then I tie a 5/0 circle hook to about a 2' to 3' leader and then I tie a 1/0 barrel swivel to the other end of the leader. I hook the barrel swivel on to the snap swivel and that is the rig. Pretty simple and inexpensive. My bait is almost always a fresh chunk of cut bait (usually sucker). The weight of the snap swivel, the barrel swivel and the chunk of cut bait is usually all that is needed to get your bait into the target zone. I normally have about 50 to 75 feet of line out and you can see the rod tip jump when the hook occasionally tick the bottom. If you are not ticking the bottom then you need to put out more line.

    One other key element is to control your drifts. I use a GPS so I can keep track of the water that I have covered and to find and stay on fish. When you get a fish or a good strike, mark a waypoint location so that you can move back upwind and drift right back down that drift line to stay on fish.

    You say that you want to drift on the Red River. The technique there will be predicated on the current flow you will be experiencing. You will need to position the boat into the current and use your electric trolling motor or your main motor to slip in the current so you can control your drifting bait in the target zone. You will need enough sinker weight on your line to keep your baits almost verticle under the boat or slightly behind the boat. You should be able to just drop your rod point slightly down current and feel your sinker just touch bottom. If you can feel the sinker touch bottom, just lift it up and you are in the target zone. Don't leave that sinker down tumbling on the bottom or you will get hung up. When you feel the sinker touch, lift it back up and just keep repeating that drop, touch, lift every few minutes to keep your bait in the target zone.
     
  9. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    i usually drift with a carolina rig with a 20" mono leader from the swivel. get rod holders or stock up on them spinning setups.
     
  10. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    Steve has some good advice.

    I am no Red River expert and have never fished there, but much of what I have read and seen on TV portrays the good catfish waters as being fairly fast flowing water. Most of those who fish this rapid moving water anchor up and cast out. The channel catfish you can catch are phenominal.

    As for drfiting, I would find water that is slower moving. When I drift I am trying to stay around .75 mph. If you add in current and some wind in the same direction as the current that will be hard to maintain.
     
  11. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    There is a lot of ways I fish for channel cats here below the dam on the Tn river.
    But I use a 3 way rig for them most of the time.
    Sinker on bottom. Then come up 6" inches to a three-way swivel. Then from that come out 6" or so to a hook. For the size fish your talking about I would not go over a 5/0 hook. Most of the time here I use a 3/4 below a 4/0 double hook rig.
    Then from that three-way add a 24" line to one more 3 way swivel. Then a 6" leader from it
    Also on the line to the hooks. Light or no current less or no leader. More current more of a leader. Works all the time.
    While drifting if you have a long leader in slack current. The fish will pick up the bait and come up. And you will miss so many fish its not funny. But less of a leader from the three-way to the hooks and your catch rate will jump way up there.
    On the double hook rig. I bet Akwolf41 (Wild wolf products) may be able to tie you up some of the rigs.
    Now as comanchero posted, If theres current I will control the drift with the trolling motor or I even run the 25hp 4-stroke motor and allow it to hold the boat in the current. My bait may be 40 yards behind the boat in doing this. But I can and do wear the fish out.
    Takes a while to get used to fishing this way. But when you do watch out. It will open up a new world for you .

    Good luck and hope you catch plenty.

    Pete