Drifting for blues

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by cumberlandcat, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    When you guys drift for blues do you use one rod a man or put six rods out and go for it? I am wanting to master this drift fishing to cover more water, but I hate to limit my lines to one, but on the other hand I would think all those rods draggin the bottom could be a nightmare. And also wondering if I should try to keep the lines as straight up and down as possible or let them out a bit. Any input would be great, these blues are hard to find lately and I think drifting would be more successful in these warm water conditions.

    Thanks
     
  2. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Chris,

    This is one of the many challenges of drifting. I typically put out multiple poles and lock them in rod holders. Then if I am not getting any action, i keep one pole in hand and use it to kind of jig the bottom to make sure my bait is active throughout the drift. The one problem is that if you are by yourself and you catch a snag that goes all the way across and multiple lines get hung, you sometimes have to just grab you knife and start cutting lines or your poles may break.
     

  3. catfishcrazy256

    catfishcrazy256 New Member

    Messages:
    2,648
    State:
    Indiana
    I fish several poles at different depts sometimes it works your butt off but I have had 3 or 4 fish on at once ,Lots of fun !!! :big_smile:
     
  4. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    I have never been so lucky as to have multiple fish, but it has really increased my catching ability
     
  5. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    Messages:
    10,798
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I have never tried more than one rod,thats enough for me to keep up with while bobbin around.
     
  6. billcatfish

    billcatfish New Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    State:
    evansville Ind
    the way i started drifting was to watch the lines in the fish finder to do that you need at lest a 4000 watt fish finder so that way its easyer to keep your lines off the bottem an less snages when im drifting i us 4 rods out the back
     
  7. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I don't think I'd limit my drifting to dragging the bottom. I catch an awful lot of blues in the upper part of the water column during the spring & summer when I'm jugfishing. As a matter of fact, I've caught so many fish on my top hook, which was 6' below the surface, that I've added one that's 3' below the surface. Haven't had a chance to try that out, though.
     
  8. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    As usual, we've got folks talking about several different kinds of "Drifting"...

    Folks, please clarify whether you are drifting in a lake or if your "drifting" in a river (which is more correctly called "bottom bouncing")...

    On a lake, it's trivial to fish with multiple poles - I usually fish 5 or 6 at a time with no problems.

    On a river, it's a different story entirely...
     
  9. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Well I tried it today, went well except for the catching fish part. I think I want to get this down though, a man can really cover a lot of water and give them enough time to hit but not sit in the same spot hoping for a bite. But I still can't seem to get a fish in the boat since this water has heated up. I am the man in the winter on this lake but this is really bringing me down. I had one bite in 5 hrs. Summertime blues must get smarter with the warmer water or something. Thanks for the input.
     
  10. insanedrifter

    insanedrifter New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    missouri
    I drift truman lake a,lot from july to october and can usually catch 10-20 blues in a day. The key is to find the biggest area to drift that has the depth the fish are holding in or close to. I drifted last weekend ended up with 12 blues on sat. and 13 on sun.
     
  11. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Well I guess I need to find that depth cause I couldn't find it today. I mark fish off the bottom a few feet and then I also mark them 30 feet up. But I don't know what kind of fish I am marking either.
     
  12. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    If you can see a thermocline on your graph, that's roughly the depth you should start looking for catfish - find where the bottom is at or just below the thermocline, then try to find an area where there's suspended bait and fish on or near the bottom.

    If there's no thermocline, you'll just have to keep looking - try to find flats that parallel deeper water (such as old river channels) and fish at various depths until you find them.

    They're out there and they're hungry so don't give up...
     
  13. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Now that I think about it I did see it on the screen a time or two over this last week. I will try to target that depth. Thanks
     
  14. MSgtCatfish

    MSgtCatfish New Member

    Messages:
    216
    State:
    Alabama
    We mainly drift fish on lakes. We use driftmaster rod holders and usually put out at least 6 and sometimes 7. We let out 100 yards or so to keep the bait on the bottom and natural, if you short line it and you have chop on the water and your rods are constantly slamming up and down, so will your bait, but if you let out a lot of line it's not bad. We never have problems with getting lines tangled up, never. You have to remember to keep your drift as slow as possible, no more than .7 mph but .4 to .5 mph if possible, use gps to help you track your speed. I've drifted Wilson, Pickwick, Milford Lake, Santee Cooper, Nickajack, etc. and never had problems with lines crossing etc.

    The only thing that does suck, if you are on the perfect drift and one rod gets hung on the bottom and you try to get it unhung, you will turn the boat or move it to get it a little off course, try and use your trolling motor to get the boat back in position and lines straight again.

    Try getting away with the least amount of weight it takes to keep you in your target zone or on the bottom, I usually like to use 1 oz and bump it up to 1.5 on windy/choppy days.

    We usually use 2 drift socks as well.

    Try using different baits to figure out what they are wanting that particular day and most of all have fun and catch catfish!
     
  15. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    All sounds like very good advice to me, Keep on trying. I really enjoy drifting, I think you will too once you figure it out.
     
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Drifting on a lake is often a great opportunity to really get your baits spread out by using a couple of planer boards. They don't work when you're floating downriver at the same speed as the current.
     
  17. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Thanks for all of the advice. I went out again today. no fish but getting the drifting down . I was able to have six rods out with no problems. Now I need to fish a fish to drift through.
     
  18. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Another little tip or two:

    Stagger the amount of line out on your rods - the outside ones should be closest to the boat, the center ones farther out. Line counter reels make this a whole lot easier. As you go toward the center, each line should be 25 to 50 ft farther out than the one next to it.

    Then when you reel in one of the middle lines, don't try to throw it back out in the same place; instead, shift all the rods on one side toward the middle, let them out a little farther and throw your line out to the side.

    I assume you're using a "proper" drifting rig - some kind of no-snag sinker (slinky-type, etc.), a 2-way swivel, then 3 to 6 ft of leader with a small foam float about 6 to 12 inches ahead of your hook. Be sure the sinker is attached to the *front* eye of the swivel (closest to your main line).

    The float is critical - it keeps your bait up off the bottom and will help avoid a lot of snags (when the sinker hits something and stops moving forward, the float takes your bait and hook upward, away from the snag. Eventually the sinker gets past the snag and you're back in business. Without the float, the hook just sinks to the bottom and drags right into the snag.) The floats you need are the slotted peg type that www.CatfishSafari.com sells or find them local if you can; Wally-World doesn't usually carry the right kind.

    You'll have to play with the distance from your float to your hook to find what works best on any given day - depends a lot on how aggressive the fish are that day.

    I use home-made 2 oz slinky weights - string 8 1/8 oz egg sinkers on a light (10 to 20 lb) line tied to a snap swivel. Wrap the line through the last sinker 3 or 4 times and smash it with some pliers to hold the whole thing together.

    As for drift sock, I have a 10 ft diameter sock made by Myrtis Easterlin http://carolina-girl.com/ - not cheap but it'll keep your boat at the right speed no matter what the wind is like.
     
  19. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Thanks for the info. I might adjust my rig a bit, but I use a 6 foot piece of 100lb test and make a loop into the center which gives me a 200 lb 10inch leader and this is stiff enough and holds the bait outright. I have used this rig for a 1 1/2 years now and have caught hundreds of fish on it , so I know it works. But my biggest problem is finding the fish on the lake I fish. I can catch hundreds in the cooler months but once that water warms up they disapear. I know everyone has more problems finding blues in the summer months but I have spent probably 60 hrs on the water in the last couple of weeks fishing every place a man could think of and can't boat a fish. I am not the best in the world but am I missing something that a pro can come in and find right away. Fresh bait, shad and skip jack. I have fished deep and shallow structure. Drifted and anchored. Bluffs and coves and shallows. Flats and shaded sides of structures. Heck today I got some chicken livers which I haven't used in ten years. There is a cabelas tourny on my home lake 3 min from my house that I have been looking forward to for 6 months and I can't boat a fish. I guess I am not going to fish it at this point. I can't find a guide on my lake or I would hire one a time or two maybe to point out a thing or two I am missing. Maybe this is just the way blues are in the summer in big lakes, I can catch so many blues in the winter I have considered guiding myself but this well I don't think I am going to fish until winter at this rate. Sorry guys, I am just down I fish hard and weeks of this has got me ready to give
     
  20. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    I don't know your fishing area and water temps but I just wanted to throw in the fact that a lot of cats are just at the end of spawning. Like here the bite is still slow in certain areas. The other day I pulled in a dark, beat up cat that was in spawn. Apparently he happen to be hungry but most other cats aren't feeding hard.

    Maybe it's just slow atm. Keep it up for sure , its a fun way to fish.

    Just a thought
    -Jim-