Fall and Winter patterns on MS river

Discussion in 'LOUISIANA RIVERS TALK' started by KajunKat, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. KajunKat

    KajunKat New Member

    Messages:
    57
    State:
    Louisiana
    I have always done fairly well in spring and early summer when the river is up but when it goes all the way down I can't catch snot. Where do they go? Holes? Channels? Shallow? I can catch plenty of bait now (shad and suckers) with a castnet but nothing is bitting. Any hints?
     
  2. Katfishing Cajun

    Katfishing Cajun New Member

    Messages:
    314
    State:
    Louisiana
    Mike, wish I could help you with the Miss. river? The Atchafalaya River has been getting tougher over here the last couple of weeks, water has been low this way also! :confused2:
     

  3. nightrider

    nightrider New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    Louisiana
    [SIZE=+2]Winter Blue Cats[/SIZE]​
    Winter Catfishing is one of the most exciting times of the year to catch the bigger blue cats in your river system. These fish are aggressive feeders even when the water temperature is in the mid to upper 30’s. Hold on for a few moments and lets get started on where, how to find them and baits. We’ll cover tackle, after figuring out where to locate these winter cats.
    River systems without dikes will hold cats in the outside bends, inside bends, drop-offs, and deep ledges with structure. Smaller holes or depressions in the in the bottom of the river can be excellent places for cats to congregate or for a couple of big fish to hold.
    First let’s look at outside and inside bends, you’ll want to drift these areas or anchor. When drifting you want to control your drift with the trolling motor and hold at the edge of the deepest part of the bend looking for rock or wood structure on your depth finder. Eagle Classic, Optima or Lowrance X91 work well for me locating this type of structure. Generally you will catch the larger fish around these types of structures.
    Anchoring technique is another favorite method of wintertime catfishing especially when the water temperature is below the 55-degree mark. There are many ways to start out fishing these outside and inside bends one of my favorite ways is to fish 3 to 4 poles using Driftmaster Rod Holders 25 to 30 degree angle to avoid loosing equipment. Let’s say the deepest part of the bend is 50’ and we anchor in the mid depth at 25’. We would then cast out a pole directly behind the boat, one to the left and one to the right. You have just covered three different depths with this method. You should have one pole in the 10’, 25’ and 50’ range. Time depending on the hole we would want to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 45, if this had been a productive spot in the past. Continue to move down the bend to where you last cast to and re-anchor the boat at the mid-depth range 3 to 4 times. You’ll locate the best spots to fish using this technique and be sure to use landmarks on the bank or GPS to go back to these hotspots that you have located.
    Deep ledges and deep holes in the bottom of the river will hold winter cats. Deep ledges can be found below bends and will often have eddie water and wood structure piled up in them. On the other hand deep holes or depressions scattered up and down the river are excellent places for cats to congregate. You can drift or anchor using the method described in the previous paragraph. The smaller the hole or depression the fewer the fish and bigger fish will often relate to the smaller holes. Remember a hole doesn’t have to be length of a football field, it can be a drop in the bottom of the river with only 5 to 6’ wide at the deepest point. You can usually fish 4 rods in this situation, position 2 at the top of the hole where the drop-off starts and two in the bottom of the hole and give the fish 30 to 45 minutes to hit then go to the next hole.
    Baits will include your usual smorgasbord for catfish. Shad, skipjack, fresh chicken, turkey, and rooster livers. The rule of thumb here is if you want to catch eating size fish use the smaller size of baits and you will catch an occasional big fish to boot. I’m a firm believer if you want to catch big fish use the big bait. How big, as big as your tackle can handle. Live or cut bait will work for these big blue cats.
    Tackle for these wintertime cats will vary depending on the method you use and size of fish you are after. For drift fishing medium action rods are used in low to moderate current, another reason for using them in these conditions is the fish aren’t as apt to let go of the bait if your were using a stiffer rod. I prefer a long handle that I can tuck up under my forearm for support. Heavy action rods are preferred when you know bigger fish are in the area or you are fishing heavy current.
    For anchor type fishing you can use the e-glass type rods such as the Cabela’s King Kat combo’s work well for light to moderate current conditions. Quantum Big Cat rods #3 or # 4 for heavy current conditions. Load these rods up with Quantum Iron series or 7000 ABU reels and they will take care of the job of handling big fish in heavy current.
    Line and Hooks are critical parts of being successful. I prefer braid super lines for my main line and tie off from a 2 or three way swivel to my hook or lead leader with mono so I can break away when hung up in structure. Braid lines that have proven effective are Cabela’s SI Braid, Spiderwire and Whiplash. Generally the braid is higher but in return you will 2 to3 times more fishing out of a spool of braid than monofiliment. Kale hooks are an all time favorite, with many good brands to choose from. Super sharp hooks are a great addition to your tackle box, Daiichi and Cabela’s Pierce brand have some great hooks for catfishing. Daiichi octopus wide is available up to 8/0 in bleeding bait series and black carbon. Bleeding bait series circle wide is available up to 5/0 size. Improved circle hooks are available up to 11/0. Cabela’s Pierce brand favorites are UEC 384 turned up eye circle, LB199 octopus live bait, WGK 750 kale and REC 381 circle hook.
    Last but not least have an oversized dip net on hand, Cablea’s Pro Series big fish or salmon series nets will land that once in a lifetime cat. Frabill makes large nets with handles that extend up to 96”. Whatever brand you choose don’t go catfishing without one of these super size nets and get your heart broke because you couldn’t get the fish’s head in that smaller dip net. We should do our best to preserve these big fish by releasing them after a few photos, they will not grow if you don’t.​
     
  4. nightrider

    nightrider New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    Louisiana

    What part of the river are you fishing?
     
  5. KajunKat

    KajunKat New Member

    Messages:
    57
    State:
    Louisiana
    I am in Lutcher near the Memorial bridge. THe most common place I fish is a large sandbar on the inside curve of the river. It is called "Paulina beach" locally. Five minute drive from the house is hard to beat. :big_smile: It also has a short canal or cut on the back side that caused the sand bar to project some into the river. I do only bank fishing on the MS river. Are eddies or swirls a good sign, should I look for slack water, reverse current, strong current? I also have started fishing the Lake DesAllemands area from a flat boat.
     
  6. mullyden

    mullyden New Member

    Messages:
    573
    State:
    Baton Rouge , L
    I have been tracking every one of my fishing trips on the river since 2004. Every once in a while I ask myself why? It is surprising what the data reveals. Attached is a graph of my results. June is the least productive month and March and April are the best. I have plotted data based on water level and get similar results. Water is typically highest in the Feb-March-April. Low water is typically mid summer through fall. The dark blue line shows the average fish per trip for months 1-12. The lines on either side of this represent data scatter or predictability. 67% of the trips result in the number of fish between the pink and yellow lines. In other works I can pretty much count on catching between 20 and 50 fish per trip in March -
    April. In November, we might catch 50 fish, but we also might catch none!
    Obviously Nightrider has some data that I could perhaps use to improve the average catch. I'm going to read his post really close.
    Will the likelihood of catching less fish keep me from going? Not a chance (except maybe June!). I hope this is useful to you. I wish I was smart enough to catch em all the time, but that's the way it has been for me.
    You all take care.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. nightrider

    nightrider New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    Louisiana
    If your catching 50 plus in November I wouldn't change too much, you seem to be on a good pattern. I catfish exclusively on the Atchafalaya River and this year has been lack luster. This has a lot to do with going in a boat with people(my BIL) that don't seem to want to fish where the fish are holding. The article I posted was found on The NET and there are many tatics people use for catching during colder months. Fall is one of the best times to fish for catfish and you can find videos of underwater footage on Youtube of catfish just stacked up on top of each other by the 10s of 100s during fall and winter months. A couple of disadvantanges is that bait seems to be plentiful and fish are not as active during the fall, but a Mully's numbers show it is still a good time to give it a go.