Drift Fishing For Blue Catfish

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by cross_their_eyes, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

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    Going to try some drift fishing for the first time this weekend for Blues, should I use a float or just drop the rig straight down off the side of my boat. I'll be on a big muddy river with lots of current. Thought I might try some gill heads. Any info would be appriciated.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Skipjack

    Skipjack New Member

    Messages:
    309
    State:
    LaGrange, Ky.
    We've been catching blue cats in the Ohio river on Skipjack. If you can find a warm water discharge at a power plant, cast a sabiki rig to catch the skipjack. This is the best bait that I have ever used.You can fish them whole or cut. We find holes 35' to 50' deep, then anchor upstream and cast down to the hole. We use 5 oz sinker on the bottom then tie the hook on a loop about 18" up the line to hold the bait up off the bottom. We have caught several big blues, my best one,so far, was 25 lb. Good times! Good luck! David
     

  3. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

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    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    I fish the Tn river and drift fish. I do better if I control the drift. I use the trolling motor to slow the boat down. When fishing this way your bait will be behind the boat.
    AS the current will take it back at an angle. I try to slow the boat enough to let me feel bottom. AS in I feel the sinker hit bottom. And pump the rod and let it settle back to bottom again. Also using a three way rig. Sinker on bottom.
    After you get in control of the boat. You will catch more and bigger fish. AS they fish are hitting the bait harder and have longer to take the bait.

    Just think, If your drifting along with the current. Your bait is passing so many fish, That don't get a chance at your bait. But slow the speed down and catch more fish.
    Also say theres 3 or 4 holes below you and you try to drift through them. Now if your letting your boat go with the flow of current. Well its hard to hit them all.
    But by using the trolling motor and slowing the boat down. You can pull the boat over some and hit each and every hole.
    Theres so many times that my wife and I will be fishing and others are not catching fish. And they only ask about the bait we are using. And don't even think about the other things other then bait.
    Can't tell you the times we have people drift by us wide open and they can't figure out why we can catch 10+ fish per drift. And they are lucky to catch one.
    So good luck and if you will try this it works. But don't expect to get the hang of it the first trip.

    Also find some skipjack and have a better chance of catching fish.

    Pete
     
  4. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

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    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I can vouch for the fact that Pete's an expert at drift fishing, and that he catches fish when no one else can. If you can master his technique, you will definitely find it productive.
    But, particularly in the summer, it isn't necessary to have your bait on the bottom to catch blues. In fact, the hotter the weather/water, the higher on my jugline I seem to catch the most blues. Where I jugfish mostly, my top hook is 6' below the surface, and my bottom hook is 6' below that. In the spring, I'll probably catch more blues on the bottom hook than on both the other hooks combined; in hot weather, I'll catch more on the top hook. Why? My theory is that the blues gang up in packs, like a school of sharks, and roam around looking for food. I've been where I could see 15-20 of my jugs at the same time, and suddenly have hits on several of them within a very short time. Running some jugs right back through the same area may very well not result in a single bite, while in the spring, running jugs back through generally catches more fish.
    So, how to fish? Well, I'd definitely give Pete's method a try. If that works for you, stick with it. Don't mess with success. But if you want to try drifting without using a trolling motor, I'd try bouncing a couple of rigs straight down along the bottom, while having several more spaced out around the boat with large floats, with your depth being anywhere from a few feet below the surface to where the hook/sinker is just off the bottom. That will give you a nice spread to see where and how the fish are hitting. Once you find that out, you can adjust all your rigs accordingly.

    I know that other people are going to have a different opinion, but IMO, cut bluegill is a great bait for channels, but a poor bait for blues. I've tried it, and all I caught were channels, in an area where I usually catch mostly blues. Cured chicken livers in that area result in pretty much a 50/50 split, and cut shad or skipjack results in 90% blues. Fresh is best. I don't think you can beat a nice bloody chunk of fish for blues; and if it's oily, like skipjack, that just makes the smell last longer and spread further.
     
  5. LilRyjoe04

    LilRyjoe04 New Member

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    2,432
    State:
    Indianapolis,Indiana
    Good info guys!! I've never tried that technique before but obviously I should try it. Good Luck in your fishin adventures and post back with results.

    -Later
     
  6. Dave53

    Dave53 New Member

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    411
    State:
    Lonedell M
    Jtrew, have you ever used a drift sock? I made one from a 5 gallon bucket and have only used it to hold the boat straight not drifting. Wonder it that will work like a trolling motor??
     
  7. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Jerry I don't know if I would go that far. I can catch fish drifting . And do catch a lot when othes can't get a bite. :eek:
    But I still like a lot of years to ge to that good..LOL :shy-big:
    PEte
     
  8. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

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    Thanks alot, awesome experience. I'll give it a shot. Missouri is aweful fast. I may need to keep the outboard running just to keep from really falling down the current. It goes about 10-13 MPH. I don't think a trolling motor will help too much.
     
  9. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Mine will hold me in the boils at the dam at Pickwick. AS for the speed that is rapids..LOL
    Get below Pickwick and its about 7 mph and a mile below its around 4 mph.
    Would not even try to drift without help in yoru current.
    I have a boat with a 4-stroke tiller motor that I run the motor on and fish in swift water like that.
    PEte
     
  10. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

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    ShilohRed the MO is pretty quick where I'm at in St. Charles. I can run my motor at a slow speed and still be going backwards pretty fast. I'll have to figure something out, it may be worth it. The fisherman I see drift-fishing normally throw large floats and let them go and stay behind them but, it's moving pretty darn fast. They have to start their motor and chase their floats down the river about every 5 minutes. Not giving very much time for the blues/flats to hit. If I can figure out a way to stay alot slower and drift my bait down close to the bottom in the channel I may have a MUCH, MUCH better chance.
     
  11. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    Hey Bill. I tried the drift fishing method on a few occasions, with very little to no success at all. Perhaps I was not doing it right. Our rivers are much, much faster than the Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland etc etc rivers. I know you like the Missouri alot, and its faster than the Mississippi. If you figure something out, let me know. I spent quite some time at it, and I can tell you, theres not a trolling motor made that can keep up with the current we face. You may have some luck with the outboard. Good Luck :crying:
     
  12. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Pete, how many rods do you use when drifting?
     
  13. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

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    Well, drifting didn't work out so well. I have to go back to the drawing board. I'll tell you one thing, your pole better be tide down well! I snagged something on the bottom and my rod left the boat! I don't know how I got it back. My son was with me and he said I was half-way in the river off the side of the boat and somehow I came up with my rod! I was in the middle of the MO! Crazy! I'll have to give it a shot again sometime. I did get a few nice shad to use, about 4 or 5 inches with the throw net.
     
  14. jim

    jim New Member

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    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    I read a short article a while back that had what I thought was a good idea for drifting in fast current.Find some pieces of large chain and simply tie a rope to it and toss it over.The chain drags along the bottom and acts as a "drift sock".You have to adjust size of link and length of course.If you lose it you aren't out much.The chain will also be freeing up clam mussells etc on the bottom.I would as always keep a knife handy to cut loose if needed.
     
  15. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

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    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    Hey Bill. What area were you locating your Shad? I'll be going out tomorrow on the Mississippi River and was hoping to make life easier on myself. I have been finding them on the steeper mud banks behind the dykes.
     
  16. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

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    Hey jetdriver,
    I got them all in slack water behind the dykes, I consintrated on the mud flats between the dykes...pretty shallow. All of mine were small tho, 2-3 inchers. Occationally took at 4 or 5 incher. IF ANYONE HAD SOME GOOD IDEAS ON HOW TO CATCH LARGE SHAD PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

    Jim I hear ya on the knife comment. I caught some BIG rocks out in the middle with my line. You's have to be ready to quickly cut the line in 10-13 MPH water!
     
  17. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    I only use one rod. And its always in my hand. Also on the current. I fish Pickwick with the flood gates open. And let me tell you its fast.
    Now I will not tell you my T/M will hold me in your river. but I think it Will. Remember I don't stop the boat. I'm moving but slow. All that i do is slow the boat. And I also use small weights. 3 oz or no more then 5 oz. But my bait will be at times 100 yards behind the boat. Also I pump the bait and sinker letting the bait move behind the boat. If you anchor and let out line. And feel the sinker hitting bottom. Then let out a little more line. Until you feel it hit bottom again. That is what it feels like when I drift fish.


    I will agree about the holding boat still. Or taking off up river with the Trolling motor.
    If you have a GPS check the speed with it. And let me know. And the next time I'm in the boils I will check and see what our current runs at the face of the dam. And compare them.

    Also I use a 7 ft Medium heavy rod. Bass rod IM-6 You will not handle a heavy rod working the bait a few hours. it will kill your arm.
     
  18. cross_their_eyes

    cross_their_eyes New Member

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    ShilohRed,
    When I was drifting I could feel the sinker bounce off the bottom. I thought you were just letting the bait go straight down off the side of the boat.

    Thanks for the info, I'll try those tricks. I'll check the current speeds also.
     
  19. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

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    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    NO, NO, NO! Don't check the speed with a GPS. :0a33:

    I used to tell everyone how fast the Mississippi River ran, untill someone challenged me with the ol GPS idea. I went an done it. Came home with my tail between my legs and will never guess river speed again. :0a14:

    I thinks it's sort of like telling folks how far your able to cast, then getting the tape measure out to prove it. Humbling, very humbling.

    This darn mouth of mine has got me into so much trouble over the years. You would think I would learn sooner or later.

    Well, breaks over, got to go back to picking my 5 million bushels of grapes.
    :eek: :0a32:
     
  20. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Kutter, wasn't going to say anything but a real 3 knot current is very fast 5 knots is plumb bad.Water racing out of turbines is realy fast but genrally settles in to a slower pace downstream.There should be some kind of website that gives current speeds in major rivers depending on the flow of course.