Was wondering if you guys have a favorite way or technique of fishing for catfish from a boat? Do you like to anchor up in a likely spot and wait em out, or drift fish, or scout around til you find them by running and gunning or locating them on sonar? I really think my favorite method is to drift fish, wether it is on a lake or river doesn't really matter to me as long as I can do it efficiently without too many hangups. if you fish a given body of water very much you will learn where you can go and where you shouldn't. To me you can cover much more water by drifting and can present your bait to many more fish. Don't get me wrong, I try and fish different ways as I enjoy them all, but to me drifting is kinda relaxin, and thats what fishing is all about to me.
I like drifting better. You can cover lots of water and find out where they are in a given body of water in a short period of time. I do like to anchor up in the river above a snag and horse them out of there home.
I don't do much drifting,mainly because I don't have my boat set up to do a productive drift.I pull up on a hole and anchor.Bait up about 12 rods and do a scearch and rescue>> I fish lakes so I can cast from all directions I pull up on them like a S.W.A.T team.I love it when you hit that spot where you can' fish all your rigs.
I tried drifting the other day. It was kind of fun. I was wondering, though, if it's better to drift the deep parts of a lake during the day and drift the shallow flats at night? There are some submerged roadbeds in a lake I fish a lot that are a little deeper than the surrounding water that look like they would be a good place to drift.
Typically, though, I anchor up and fish whatever spot looks good. Never tried drifting the river, usually just fish the ***** or whatever spot looks like it might have a fish in it.
If I'm fishing a local body of water that I already know...I already have in mind what I'm looking for. The dropoff thats in 30' of water at strip pit #32...the holes that dot the tailwaters and riffles below the low water dam on the Neosho river...Moccasin bend right below #10 bridge on Spring river...the brushpiles beneath the boat docks in Shoal creek...the Cherry creek channel that extends out into the main channel of the Neosh river...the rip rap that lines the Bernice bridge on Grand lake...the 60' holes around Sailboat bridge on Grand. All of these spots I found way before I had the benefit of sonar, gps, or topographical maps by trial and error...fishing there and not catching a damn thing...or maybe catching alot...wading the river and "finding" holes that are over head deep...or perhaps it was passed down to me from an old fishing buddy. Things like that tend to make you remember how hard they were to come by.
Nowadays if i'm fishing an unfamiliar body of water I'll cruise around first using a depthfinder to locate areas of interest. It's possible now to make your own maps using a sonar and a paper and pen in lieu of a gps in hours instead of months or years like it used to take.
If I'm in a river, I'll cruise the edges and look for holes with structure in or near them. If you find a hole...especially a hole that is deeper than the rest of them...with structure such as logs or rocks inside it...mark them because they likely will be holding fish. I'll anchor and cast in front of the hole and let the current sweep my bait into the hole and let it settle. How long I wait depends on how rushed I am or how much confidence I have in the spot.
In a lake or pit I will find submerged humps...dropoffs...edges of weed beds...and points that extend out into deep water. Once again...structure within this structure is critical to finding success...logs, brush, rocks. If you are fishing during the day...you'll find a rule of thumb to be that the fish are holding in an area rich in dissolved oxygen (DO), since during the daytime heat DO is at its lowest level and also they will hold relative to some type of shade or other means to hide from the sun...since they have no eye lids. They will be deeper to find the DO levels they are seeking...but do not underestimate the importance of the thermocline either. There will be a level during the hottest months that there will not be enough oxygen below a certain depth that is able to sustain life. You can locate this thermocline by turning the manual sensitivity level on your sonar all the way up and turning it down slowly until you pick up a line of clutter between the surface and the bottom...do not fish below that line. The thermocline will go away after the water begins to cool in the late fall. During these hot days the fish will be catchable...but you need to cover larger amounts of water during the daylight hours. After dark the water begins to cool and the DO content of the water is more widespread. This triggers the fish to start moving about in search of food....although the fish can still be turned off or on by other factors such as barometric pressure or as some believe...moon phases. This is when the structure you found and its proximity to shallow water becomes important. IMO...I have found that fish are a routine oriented animal and will typically use the same migration paths to and from their daytime lairs and their feeding grounds. For instance...there is a strip pit here that I fish that has a pointthat extends out some distance...and it also is where the deep water meets some shallow water mud flats. I'll anchor in the deeper water...but close to the edge, and fish the weed line that extends around 4' from the bank and is around 5 - 8' of water and then drops immediately into 20' of water. Now just around the point...the water is shallow...and the fish in the deep water will be going there to feed. However...they will first head for the edges of the deep water and cruise up the bank and feed along the way before they reach the shallow stuff up around the point. You can be successful in the shallow flats...but the fish are more spread out. Along the edges of the bordering deep water...the fish seemingly swim single file for several hours both going to the shallow water...and then again coming back to the deeper water sometime right before daylight after eating all night. I'll be catching them one or two at a time as they swim the edge that leads to the feeding grounds just like they do every other night of their lives. In a weedy pit such as this one I also believe the fish have trails going through the weeds much the same as a deer has deer trails going through a patch of timber leading to where they feed, and then the same trail leading back where they bed. They are creatures of habit...learn those habits and you'll have a better understanding of the why and what-fors of the reasons that you catch fish in certain areas during certain time frames...and at other times you dont. Establishing a pattern is important when you dont know the body of water you're fishing intimately...it will cut down on the time spent between bites...and another nice thing about a pattern is that sometimes they are portable...and can be utilized to one degree or another in another body of water under similar circumstances. This is also where a fishing log becomes very useful in recognizing what those circumstances are and utilizing a technique that worked for it in the past. Learn from your mistakes...and a bad fishing trip cannot be considered a failure.
I either drift fish, troll, or anchor depending on the conditions and area I choose to fish. All 3 methods have their pros and cons and each method can be more productive than the others depending on the conditions that particular day.