Do You Really Know Your Fishery? And Does It Matter?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by catfishrollo, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    It makes me laugh to hear the comments from others year after year, mostly by non catfishermen, about how easy it is to catch catfish. Many of them say things such as," Go throw a piece of meat out anywhere, and they will bite." " They eat all the time!" I usually just grin, and say, "Oh Yeah.." Agreeing to listen more. But, down deep I know from chasing trophy fish, it isn't that easy! And even have days where small fish are hard to come by especially the ellusive flatheads. I have spent many hours over the years not only fishing, but spending my time up and down the river throughout the year trying to gain an edge on these fish. Maps only give you an area to look at, but seeing the area, and learning it throughout all water level stages is essential! I mainly fish a small/ medium sized river compared to large fisheries such as the Ohio, or Mississippi. But, im sure my thinkings as a local goes the same for them as well. Mother nature changes the banks and structures of these systems all the time. I have seen decent sized scour holes turn to outside bend sandbars over the years. I have also learned how a single washed down tree, laying in the right section of the river, can lead to an almost favorite spot for a year or two, until it is carried out by the high waters again. My point is anyone, who pursues trophy fish will tell you, that you have to spend your time burning gas out looking for the "changes". Yes, alot of my scouting is done on my way to a destination to fish. But, it is never bad to get your fishing buddy in the boat, and putt up and down the banks looking for new things not only on the graph, but in person on non fishing days. I think many that try to scout on a trip are too concerned about the fishing they anticipate and drive by and miss small things that can make to be productive areas. Small changes can make a big change when it comes to fish being there or not. I really like to look for surface changes more than anything, especially when looking below fast riffle areas or any other area associated with the river channel. Sunken timber seems to appear every year in new places. Surface timber can also make for good new locations for cats, but it seems to me that floating timber isn't always as good as the timber that runs deeper. These changes can occur at any time of the year. Obviously, strong weather patterns have more of an infuence than a steady system. This is why I like to get out any time I can. It may be the dead of winter, but you need to see whats going on, and get a plan for when its time to chase after them. I have a 30 mile section of river that I mainly fish, and I know like the back of my head. But, I know it from not just fishing it, but from scouting it. I tell people all the time about how there used to be a logjam there, or a rock point there. They almost looked amazed by looking at it then. Not all systems may change like others or as often year to year, but anytime you get to go see it, its an advantage to you. So does it matter much to know it like im saying? All I can say is, spend alittle more time in the slower fishing season if you have one looking for the smaller details to hold fish, and see if it doesn't increase your catching in the future.... goodluck...rollo
     
  2. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Welcome to the site BillieBob...rollo
     

  3. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    looks as if billie bobs post was removed..:smile2:
    c-ya later bille bob:wink: rollo
     
  4. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    Yea Rollo, don't ya just love them folks that think catching a cat is nothing more than throwing some liver out there......

    Amazingly they are usually the same people who ask me for fish to eat . I'm like you, I look and listen to everything. The boat I fish on does not mark fish, depth only , and on top of that we don't have a gas motor. Looking at the land gives me my mental picture of what might be underneath or at least its the best I can do for now.

    I'm by far no pro at this but I do think that every year I do progress and I contribute my catches from hard work and not luck ; )

    I broke my Pb 10 times this year, 8 times on blues and 2 times on flats . It was broke one pound at a time but I don't think it would have happened if I didn't put my studying into it .

    I look forward to having a even better year in 09 and 08 aint over yet. I agree Rollo , good advice bro............

    -Jim-
     
  5. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,463
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    Rollo,
    It has to be said, you are the thinking man's catfisherman.

    We live a long way from the river and so like to spend the time we are there actually fishing. I have no problem taking my time to look for prime spots but it makes my wife (and fishing partner) nuts. Her theory is we would be better with our baits in the water than putting around looking for structure and such.
    Drifting is a great way to balance the fishing versus looking scenario. The baits are in the water, fish are being caught and I am able to survey huge amounts of shoreline, water and bottom features.
    When I lived in England the fishing season was closed between mid march and mid June. All there was to do was look. This enabled me to become very knowledgeable about a place and that knowledge always paid off at some point.
    Where I work, I am the only one thet fishes for cats. Over time I have enlightened them about the catfish's predatory nature. Most everyone here thinks (or used to think) that cats eat crap off the bottom.

    Excellent post Rollo...W
     
  6. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    Good post rollo. Yeah, I can't stand those comments, but I too usually just shrug 'em off. I once took my neighbor cattin' out on Santee. He basically had those same views.

    A few days later I think he began to appreciate/respect it a bit more. Especially when the water got real rough and he ended up hanging his head over the side of the boat vomiting :roll_eyes:

    We stayed out several more hours :smile2:
     
  7. FATFLATTIE

    FATFLATTIE New Member

    Messages:
    2,170
    State:
    ILM, NC
    I would have to agree Rollo. It's a much more difficult thing to catch a large cat than most people think. There's a guy I am friends with that used to fish for cats all the time and quit b/c he thought he should be catching 30-40lb fish every trip and b/c he wasn't he didn't think they were in the river:smile2: Every trip it's good to look and at least scout one new area. The last time I was out on the river I found a nice flat/drop off that we'd just been driving right by every time we fished. It always pays to look and every once in a while drop a few baits in a new area just to see what happens. Also, like you said it definitely pays to read the water and not just run around looking at the depth finder. Some of my best spots I found just by looking at the surface water and what it was doing.
     
  8. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    yep good info! being bank bound on the river i have to spend time exploring. I fish a small/medium sized river and I like to fish the river when its up because the big blues can get around eaiser and are easier to find. so i fish it a few times throught the year while its down to read the bank (cuts and holes ect) and find snags to know were stuff is when its under water. then when its up i know just were to cast. also you can tell by looking at the bank and how the waters swirling were the water drops off and were snags are.
     
  9. payton350

    payton350 New Member

    Messages:
    136
    State:
    Iowa
    I have to say it is greatly important to know your fishery, non catfisherman don't understand this because of the stereotypes, I at one time was one of them, but through lots of practice, reading, videos and the BOC I have found out that these creatures are much more complicated than most think, but the guy that takes time to learn about his local fisheries will boast the most catches.
     
  10. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    Good post Rollo, you are always preaching some knowledge buddy
     
  11. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Do you need to know your fishery?
    Only if you want to catch fish.

    I can go On&On about baits,habitats,tendencies,preferences, Etc...But

    If "YOU" won't spend a fraction of your time for a couple years to learn about the habits of your quarry, you should just give up now.

    I don't say this lightly, I'm just trying to weed out the Uncommited. If you want to catch "Dinks" go for it.

    If you think you want to start catching 40+ Flatheads on a regular basis, You need to slow down and look for the UN-Obvious.
     
  12. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY
    Good post. You are preachin to the choir here. LOL! Problem is most folks want it and they want it now.:wink: Best way to do recon work and electronics tinkerin is to not take any fishin gear with ya. :wink: On my river tide also comes into play. Get out there at low tide and learn that rivers dangers as well. :cool2:
     
  13. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,463
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    BG,
    I didn't think you'd risk bein' out there at low tide with your boat sittin' so low in the water an' all :0a23::0a20:...W
     
  14. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY

    Is this a lame attempt at a fat joke? :smile2:
     
  15. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Good post Rollo....I agree 100%. If one is to consider himself to be a "Trophy Fisherman" this is where the real work begins. You must know your area very good. There are many who just show up at the first sight of water and cast out some livers and many times will catch a few channels or smaller fish. But when one decides to target trophy fish...there are many, many factors to consider. Some of them being....top of the line equipment, good lines, good knots, plenty of patience, plenty of time scouting out the holes. I like to look at shore lines and water lines when the water is down for winter pools. You sometimes can get an idea of what it will look like in summer pool when the water is up several feet higher. Many times the biggest flatheads I've caught have been in places where the water is only a few feet deep in the summer. And would be dry bank in the winter when the water is lower. Fallen trees are visible now as well as rocky banks and sandy shores. All valuable info to the trained eye. I remember one time when I just moved into Western Kentucky and didn't know where to go fishin. I went on a search one day and took a gravel road which led down to the water. The water was over the road and I couldn't get to it. I just so happened to have a good pair of binoculars and I got out of the vehichle and watched an older fellow in his boat catching Channels, Blues, And Flatheads all on the same trot-line. I began to fish this spot with regularity and discovered down the bank from here was a bluff that has over time fallen apart and large rocks have accumilated at the foot of it. This has proven to be one of the best spots I have found on my own to catch good sized Blues, Channels and Flatheads. It is in a bend in the original river channel and the water is swift, deep and full of Baitfish all along the bluffs jagged edges. It is snaggy, but well worth a few extra sinkers sacrificed with lighter sinker leaders. Being a pursuer of Trophy Catfish is a whole different type of fishing altogether.....I saw a t- shirt the other day that said....There is a big difference in catching fish and just standing on the shore looking dumb. I sometimes feel like the latter of the two, but it is an on-going search for wisdom and knowledge. I enjoy your post as always and I have learned good info on here and hope that I have shared some as well. Keep up the good post...people are listening Brother!!!:wink:
     
  16. payton350

    payton350 New Member

    Messages:
    136
    State:
    Iowa
    John you nailed what I think, I don't do to much hunting so I spend time going to the local rivers and streams checking out places I fished in the summer and I also look for othr places that I didn't know about because they were submerged.
     
  17. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    When I lived in Indiana and targeted flathead catfish in the Wabash and Ohio. I have a different view of flatheads. Catching 1 or 2 fish per night was an major accomplishment without having a boat and limited to the bank. Fish averaged 5 to 15 lbs and I never caught anything over 20lbs.

    When I moved out to Philly and found out they were in the river and breeding like rabbits, it was a different ball game. Catching flathead became so so so so much easier because 1. they are invasive and have taken over the river and 2. the river is so so so poluuted that no one dares to eat anything and catch and release is the only option. I've seen bass fisherman catch them off lures, catfisherman catch them off livers and shrimp, and carp fisherman catch themoff corn.

    What I'm trying to say is it all depends on the waters you fish. Fish a river/lake that has high catch and filet, then the fishing won't be as good as a river/lake system that has high catch and release.

    Schuylkill river, it doesn't matter. Just use something lively, have patience and you will be rewarded.
     
  18. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Every system I have seen Tan has been different so far for flatheads. The Ohio River compared to the Muskingum, the Licking River is a lot different than any of those.. And the lakes I have fished are all different from any river! It's amazing how each system can hold its own habits, but they do!! Good post bro...rollo
     
  19. catfish kenny

    catfish kenny New Member

    Messages:
    6,064
    State:
    Iowa
    Rollo ...have you ever considered writing a book? I'd so love to argue with you over a brew but there is no way I can cause you throw it out there and you definatly know yer stuff.....reps to you bro on a great post:roll_eyes:
     
  20. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    State:
    Louisville, Ken
    Great posts, Rollo and catfish John, and to everybody that studies their waters:wink:.

    I bank fish rivers( big and small ) feeder creeks/creeks and lakes and ponds for around 40yrs,and I do just as you describe.I can take a float and sinker and upon weeks and months of casting and adjusting to the depth taking mental notes, can almost draw you a topomap of the bottom of the lakes and ponds I fish, using it as a depth finder and marking the changes, in depth and reading structure along the bank.

    It takes time and lots of it to study the waters you fish( especially If you target WANT Trophy Fish ) After my freezer has enough channels in it during the spring bite,Its all Hog Hunting after that, and sometimes you have to set for days without catching 1 HOG, but when you do!! :big_smile:All the homework you put into it Pays off.:wink: