driving your boat onto long jams for catfishing?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by hank_lineage, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. hank_lineage

    hank_lineage New Member

    for all the river guys out there i have a question...i was going thru an older issue of s.c. game & fish magazine while on my porcelain throne, and i reread an article on 'catching giant cats in tidal rivers'.
    one of the sources for the article was a guide who described a run-n-gun technique which puzzles me (i'm still painfully learning how much i don't know about tidal rivers, and being puzzled is all too common these days, but i digress.)
    anyway, he said that a tactic he employed was to drive his boat practically on top of a log jam (to the extent that he sometimes even steps off his boat onto it) and drops his line straight down. if after a few minutes he doesnt get anything, he runs up the river to find another one...
    apart from running the boat smack dab in the midst of things, it seemed like a reasonable approach. so after reading the article initially, i had figured i'd give it a shot...
    i found a gnarly logjam with swirling water and trees in a prime location, tied up to it, baited a fresh fillet de mullet only minutes from flopping around in my cast net, and envisioned the monsters waiting to inhale it below as i dropped my line straight down...
    only, it didn't go straight down. instead, my bait went on a turbelent loop-de-loop, figure-eight, drunken spiral, spastic roller derby ride that wouldn't end (it was like fighting an invisible fish on crack).
    so i added more weight. ten seconds later i was snagged. i re-rigged, dropped my line, flipped my bail when it hit bottom, reeled in the slack, and was promptly snagged in less than ten seconds again.
    to make a long story short; i couldn't put enough weight on there for it to reach the bottom without it getting immediately tangled (i tried every rig i knew of, from no leader to a lindy no-snag). the only thing that sorta worked was lesser weight (altho more than my very first attempt) which resulted in a compromise: the bait went some of the ways down before being whisked fifty yards downstream.
    i actually ended up catching a small channel cat this way, but drifting was definitely not the technique i wanted to use.
    so my obvious question is...how in the world do u get your bait to get down, yet not get snagged?
    the current was creating tons of little eddies all around the log-jam, is there some sort of sweet spot where it helps to drop your line (like in between the whirlpools, or smack dab in the center, or ...)
    what sort of rig should i be using?
    how much weight should i use? 5 oz. would get it down, but it was still shimmying around so much that it would get tangled almost instantaneously. should i just add more?
    etc. etc.
    all help would be greatly appreciated. God bless and have a wonderful day!
  2. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    SW Ohio
    Just some thoughts here on my end, as I have no real experience with this approach. First of all I would use cut bait, nothing live around heavy snags as they will undoubtedly take you into snags. Second of all I would use a sinker that is attached almost directly inline with the cut bait, almost a Jig rig, so that the hook is protected ( in the cut bait) and youll get your rig back sometimes. Lastly I would look for less current, if there is that much current under a log jam, then I would look for less current times to fish it, or another log jam that has completely blocked the through water under it. Just my thought. I dont think more weight will help. lets face it, if you hook one in the heavy stuff, youll likely never land him anyways, try the front edges or the tailouts below and above these blowouts and drift your bait in to the log jam from above. I hope this helps and would like to hear your success on this approach.

    PS, better keep a tight line....

  3. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Hank, if you had that much trouble getting a bait down, how in the world did you expect to get a big cat out of there? I would suggest fishing the edges if you are in the pile, or anchor out and let the bait drift under. What ever you do Tight-line ! I lost a nice flathead last fall fishing to close while in the clicker mode. :crying: Your best bet is to stand off and cast close. I think the guy in the article you read must have sold line and terminal tackle or owned a boat repair shop.lol
  4. Ulizth

    Ulizth New Member

    St. Clairsville, Ohio
    Maybe you could try upcurrent from the jam. The scent of the bait should go downstream into the jam and just may make a biggin come a sniffin!
  5. chubbahead

    chubbahead Member

    I used to always use the weedless bass hooks when fishing in the heavy snags. The kind that has the wire that loops around the tip of the hook. It might help a little in this situation, but it sounds like the current is just to heavy.
  6. hank_lineage

    hank_lineage New Member

    "First of all I would use cut bait"

    i was.

    "..so that the hook is protected ( in the cut bait) and youll get your rig back sometimes""

    mainly, i used a double swivel with 8lb test going to the weight so it would break off without losing my whole rig...i think i "only" lost the whole shebang twice- once when i went sans swivel altogether, and i think i also might tried a glorified version of a drop shot...otherwise my rig came thru without a problem (i had the hook texposed)...must have just been a sinker bandit down there.

    "I would suggest fishing the edges if you are in the pile, or anchor out and let the bait drift under."

    i read recently (here?) that log jams often are responsible for scooping out huge holes down below b/c of the water pressure...would those probably be on the edges or directly underneath?...i tried a drift rig using slip bobber, but even with the weight pulling the bobber underwater, the float would catch the gulfstream and zip out outta there...

    "What ever you do Tight-line"

    i probably made it sound like i was on the cast, but as a side result of a "senko" habit i developed for added feel, i actually stop the line with my fingers as soon as it hits bottom, so i only have a minimum amt. of slack overrun.

    "if you had that much trouble getting a bait down, how in the world did you expect to get a big cat out of there?"

    ya'll aint never heard of wrasslin' ??? :rolleyes: ;)
  7. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Floating logs can open up,let you fall through and then close up on you.You have a very real danger of being traped under or between logs in a jam.Some jams are very stable,many are not.Sometimes the movement is slow,some times it is sudden.If you often walk around on the jams to fish,you will find mother natures traps.Some are hollow,and you can step through a very safe looking log.They are a wonderful place to find fish.They can also be deadly.They are best fished with a buddy.A few miles west of the I-95 bridge over the Santee,there is a flooded swamp.The locals called it "the Woods."In the 50,s,there was a huge log jam in it,that covered many acres.Many people camped out and cooked with open fires on the huge water soaked logs.Not only was the fishing great,it had it,s resident wildlife.I saw many coons,possoms,and once a bobcat.A bear once left a lot of claw and bite marks,while tearing into the hollow logs and trees.I never saw the bear.I allways figgered he was hunting for the coons and possoms in the hollows.It took a while for them to come back.If any of this is left,submerged or surface,it should still be a wonderful place to fish.peewee-williams
  8. nosnag

    nosnag New Member

    I'll try to explain the way I do it for you Hank.
    I run up on a jam from the upstream side.Check the current around the jamb ,and watch for the lee sides of the deepest logs.Jambs in current it will usually be at the furthest end from the bank,and bankside jambs will be more to the center of the jamb.Rather than climbing completely out of the boat,I keep one leg in the hull.
    I use a 12' med./hvy. rod with a conventional reel.I rig with a 4 to 5 oz bank sinker weight tied to the end of the line with a rubber band ,attached to a loop at the end of my line.I tie the line with a dropper loop 6" long about 10" from the weight.
    Drop the line into the holes in the jamb and as soon as it touches down tightline it.Use cut bait hooked from the front to keep it from pinwheeling.Then just leave it there for a while and pay attention to it.I always use circle hooks for this because the point turns in making it less likely to snag wood.
    As soon as you see the tip of the rod dip down just reel like he-- and the sinker will break off 95% of the time so it wo'nt get tangled in the webs of wood.Reeling fast and hard and lifting the rod will amaze you of how fast the cat will come up and out.Trick is getting the head facing up.
    If you do'nt get a bite,just reel in slow and steady.The hook in the bait will make it semi-weedless and the rubber band will jump the weight around snags most of the time.
    You will still lose weights and hooks some of the time but it is the price you pay for this type of fishing.
    From what you said in the post,you were fishing in the wrong areas of the jambs.Read the water more and you will have a blast.
    Let me know how it works with this info if you try again.I think I covered it pretty well.
    Long post ,but had to put in a lot of info.:0a26:

  9. hank_lineage

    hank_lineage New Member

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the info! I'll try to make good use of it!

    Pee-wee - what city is that place you were describing in?
  10. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Keith Sutton wrote something like that in a Game and Fish Magazine article.. "Crashin' and Thrashin'" he calls it. Talks about running the boat up on a snag and climbing out on the logs to drop baits in the boil behind the snag.

    big bunch of bull crap if you ask me.

    I like fishing very close to cover either casting close to some nasty wood, or drifting a slip float rig up close. I've tried a little fishing dropping the bait straight down into some stuff too. But get out of the boat and climb up on there? Not a chance...especially if you're targeting big fish. If you can fish out of the boat and still work your cover, why take a chance on something bad happening?


    "Never get out of the boat. Absolutely GD right." Capt. Willard (from Apocolypse Now)
  11. Willy

    Willy New Member

    One of the better ideas I have tried is to run up on a snag and run the fish out of the cover and fish the spot where you think they will feed at. Think about this the fish is not feeding under the cover but you run him out and maybe he will be in a feeding mood while he is out in the hole. I know it works in places as I have had luck doing it for years. Kinda like jump starting them sometimes.