First Post/Advice/Questions/WOW!

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by John6518, May 31, 2008.

  1. John6518

    John6518 New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Arkansas
    Hello I am John Holleman, in Little Rock, Arkansas. My mid-life suprise was a beautiful baby boy (my first child at 42) rather than a new Corvette and a 28 year old wife (like many of my friends). Fast forward almost four years to a couple of months ago. My little one, Joshua who will be four in August, was with his nanny and saw a fisherman catch a 25 pound flathead catfish about a mile from our house (we live on a hill over-looking the Arkansas River). He then became obsessed with fishing. I thought it would pass in a week or so, but I was dead wrong.

    I have not picked up a rod in 25 years, or done much else other than work, for that matter. I had sense enough to watch some of the guys doing really well, approach them and ask questions about gear. We wound up getting an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000, an American Sprit Night Stick (12 foot, medium/heavy action, 20-50 pound line, 4 to 6 ounce sinker/bait weight). We are using 30 pound clear Stren fishing line, 5/0 to 7/0 hooks, five ounce sinkers.I somewhat wish I was stretching a bit, but for the past two months we have fished nightly when I get home from work (other than in the middle of one tornado and a hail storm with base-ball size hail) and every weekend at Murray Lock & Dam (Little Rock side) until I drag him kicking and screaming home. I firmly believe he would fish 24 hours a day, seven days per week. He tells every one he sees he catch's monster catfish-- he now cares nothing about TV, cartoons, movies, going to the zoo, watching choo-choo trains, etc. His first words in the morning are "daddy, can we go fishing," his last words before bed are, "moon is out, let's fish all night." I actually became worried and spoke with a child therapist I know about his behavior. He said that he wished this was the problem with all his patients and "if it has not passed, slowed down, or been replaced by girls when he is 16, to give him a call back."

    We have been learning over the past couple of months, with some nice channels, blues and flatheads. Then as our experiece grew we started getting better. Our record was a 12 pound blue catfish until a three or four weeks ago, when we were fishing one evening before a major tornado hit Little Rock. We caught a 28.6 pound flathead (on certified digital postal scales) that Josh and I still dream about. Word got around about it in the legal communtiy--maybe because I was bragging about it so much and showing the picture to everyone I see, including strangers--and Josh and I were featured in the Arkansas Trial Lawyer magazine (I tried to attach the article but the file was too big).

    Anyway, over the past couple off weeks it has been almost like a switch has been turned off and the fishing has shut down. I have just learned to thow the cast net really well, too (I have a 6 foot Ole Salt--that is sweet now that I can throw it well). The experts I run in to don't seem to be having much luck either. We saw some monsters snagged last night on the North Little Rock side of the Lock and dam and on Memorial Day, one of our new catfishing friends, Lewis, caught some nice ones below the hydro-electic plant.

    The best part of our trip to try out the North Little Rock side is I met a nice gentleman who gave Josh and I a card for this web-site. Josh and I joined yesterday, and blew an entire afternoon looking at your pictures (he loved it!).

    Advice and questions:
    1. Why have things slowed down so much?
    2. We use for bait the 3-4 inch shad whole--I caught our record on a small, 3 inch shad--or I cut the heads off the bigger shad, drum, blue gills, skip-jack, etc. that I catch. Which is better? Some folks tell me just to use small shad/minnows, some tell me just to use the heads off the bigger baits I catch. Some folks tell me never to use hooks bigger than 2/0, some tell me never to fish with smaller than 10/0. We seem to have the best luck with the 5/0 to 7/0 "round" type hooks.
    3. Some folks tell me never to use smaller than 50 pound test if I want the big fish, some tell me never to use lager than 20. I like the 30 pound Stren we are using. Is that o.k.?
    4. I have learned to cast the Ambassadeur pretty well and can get good distance. The man that we bought or rig from (Tony at Zimmerman's) sprayed some sort of Teflon spay on the line recently when I got it refilled with the Stren. It seemed to really help with my distance. Should I get a can and keep the line sprayed?
    5. I sometimes wish I could cast heavier sinkers, especially with the river so high. But my rod will not handle. I don't understand why if I exceed the sinker weight listed I can only cast short distances, but the lighter the sinker/bait combo (within reason) the farther I can thow. I have been using as the standard a five ounce sinker. But if I change from smaller shad to the cut heads, I have to go down in sinker weight. Some folks tell me never to use heavier than one or two ounces. Some tell me never use ligher than 10 ounces. What should I use? Arkansas River has been at record levels (Josh and I were looking at plans for an Ark). Our baits drift constantly even with the heaviest weights our rod will handle. Some tell me never to have your bait drift/ some tell me drifting is the best way to catch. Who is right?
    6. Hook setting--some folks we watch hold their rods and set the hook allmost like fly-fisherman. Others thow out, set the rod in a holder or rocks, grab a beer and do nothing until the rod is almost being dragged into the river. Which way is best? Josh and I set our rod in heavy rocks and really don't set the hook until we have a major strike pulling the rod down. Are we missing fish?

    I have a million other questions, but have probably already written too much.

    The WOW is this web-site--thank you so much for putting this together--whover did so. I am not very good with computers, the ladies at the office help me, but Josh and I have sort of figured out how to work it. I hope I posted this in the right place and did not say anything wrong. From the posts I have read, you all seem very helpful and gracious to each other.

    John T. Holleman
     
  2. John6518

    John6518 New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Arkansas
    How they attached this time.
     

    Attached Files:


  3. John6518

    John6518 New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Arkansas
    Figured out how to post--I think.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Skipjack

    Skipjack New Member

    Messages:
    309
    State:
    LaGrange, Ky.
    Welcome John! You have done the research, and you are creating memories that will last a lifetime for you and Josh. I will be happy to try to help answer some of those questions. Things have probably slowed because the catfish are starting to spawn. 5 to 7.0 is a good size hook to use for smaller baits. Just use a bigger hook if you want to use a bigger bait. 30 to 50 lb. Stren is fine, I use similar line. If that teflon spray works, and you like it, I would get some more. If you want to cast heavier weight, you should get a heavier rod. Bigger weights will help your bait to stay put better. We use up to 12 oz. or more. You can catch fish either way, but I like for my bait to stay put, or tightline. If you stay with circle hooks, you don't really have to set the hook, just pull it back and start reeling. Check out the Gamakatsu 8.0 hook, or 10.0 King Kahle for bigger baits. Good luck! Dave
     
  5. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Nice fish John, and welcome to the BOC.
     
  6. Wabash River Bear

    Wabash River Bear New Member

    Messages:
    3,019
    State:
    Indiana
  7. boswifedeb

    boswifedeb USCA Jailhouse Lawyer

    Messages:
    13,833
    State:
    Tennessee
    Name:
    Debbie
    Welcome to the BOC, John and Joshua, from your neighbor in Tennessee!!
    Deb
     
  8. MRR

    MRR New Member

    Messages:
    4,947
    State:
    Louisiana,Mo.
    John and Josh to the BOC/SOC FAMILY. And your so right it's a great place to hang out when not fishin,( Or Working) and a bunch of great people who know a n awful lot about the tricks of catching monstor Cats. Looks like you 2 are doing pretty well yourself. I wouldn't worry about the boy wanting to fish all the time just enjoy your time with him.It goes by awful fast.
    Again WELCOME!!
     
  9. tiny b

    tiny b Active Member

    Messages:
    847
    State:
    TX
    Welcome to the BOC from Texas. Really enjoyed your post.Looks like you got a heck of a fishing partner. Keep us posted.
     
  10. catman4926

    catman4926 New Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    State:
    Texas
    JONN,:0a25:

    WELCOM TO THE B O C FROM SO. ALABAMA, THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD INFO HERE YOU WILL NEVER STOP LEARNING , AND YOU MADE A GREAT CHOICE ON THE REEL AND TAKE CARE OF THE LITTLE MAN , NOW YOU HAVE A FRIEND FOR LIFE. GOOD LUCK FISHING. NICE PIC'S OF THE FISH ALSO:0a17::big_smile::big_smile:
     
  11. Boomer

    Boomer New Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    State:
    Oklahoma
    At this time of the year catfish can be picky eaters. I fished tailwaters at Keystone dam on the Arkansas. If the big baits arent producing, dont be afraid to go down to a 1/0 hook with a small slice of shad. I have caught 30-40 lb fish like this when they would not hit nothing else.

    As for the weight issue, I have to rods I use, a 13' Fenwick, that will only handle a 4 oz sinker and a Shikair 10' that will sling a 8 oz. I rarely use over a 4 oz sinker, as long as you are getting the bait to stay where the fish are at then weight size does not matter.
     
  12. ozzy

    ozzy New Member

    Messages:
    3,936
    State:
    Lost Wages
    Welcome to the BOC. ><[[[[º>
     
  13. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,179
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    Advice and questions & answers:

    Probably because of the rising water temps, causing the catfish to spawn. Not sure what the magical number is, but usually flatheads will start spawning when water temps are 70 or above.

    It has been my experience that flatheads prefer live baitfish, (not always) but most of the time for me. Live bluegills, goldfish, creek chubs and suckers have produced good results along with cut bluegill heads or shad. My favorite hooks are the 7/0 Daiichi circle chunk light and the 8/0 Gamakatsu octopus circle hooks.

    30 lbs will work fine, I use 40 lb Berkley big game in solar green.

    Ive heard of that before, although I dont think is necessary as long as your reels get a good cleaning after each season.

    Casting large weights is usually controlled by the size and action of the rod. (heavy action or medium heavy are the 2 most preferred). Adapt to the current conditions to determine weight size,( stonger current / more weight). I fish the Ohio river and we get some strong wicked currents at times. I will use up to 12oz weights when the river is raging. During normal pool , I use anywhere from 4oz to 8oz. . Drift fishing in a boat is a highly productive technique. You can check out our library section for techniques, rigs and tackle to use.

    It depends on what type of hook you use: The standard "J" style hook requires hook-setting by the angler. With kahle style hooks, you can either set the hook or let the fish hook himself. Kahle hooks are really good with live baits. Then you have circle hook. Circle hooks are designed to slide and turn when a fish grabs your bait. Do not set the hook when using circles, let the fish load the pole up and bam he's on there. Just reel in your catch. Circle hooks are not for everyone, you just have to experiment for yourself.

    Good luck to you and Josh, will expect to see more pics soon.
     
  14. Catgirl

    Catgirl New Member

    Messages:
    13,546
    Welcome, welcome to the Holleman boys.....John and Joshua! We're happy to have you as a part of our Brotherhood of Catfisherman family. :big_smile:

    Thanks for sharing your pictures. Joshua, looks like you're doing a very good job of teaching your Dad how to fish :wink:; and I love your mop of red hair!

    Post away John. Don't worry about how long-winded ya are. Some of us go on an on, but nobody minds.

    Again, welcome. Enjoy catfish1.com and all the Brotherhood of Catfishermen has to offer. :cool2: You'll have to attend a gathering sometime!
     
  15. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    Welcome to the BOC John and Josh. Enjoyed your interesting story.
     
  16. TOPS

    TOPS New Member

    Messages:
    4,099
    State:
    Cabot,Arkansas
    John, I would like to welcome you and your son to the B.O.C., I live In London,Arkansas, just outside Russellville, I hope you and I and your son can meet and fish some of spots here.
     
  17. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Welcome, you two. I see myself at that age in Josh, and I'll bet I'm not the only one.:big_smile:
     
  18. CATFISHERMAN001

    CATFISHERMAN001 New Member

    Messages:
    259
    State:
    ALABAMA
    Welcome to the BOC John and Joshua. Walter pretty much covered things but you can catch big cats on a variety of different types of tackle. Some don't use anything bigger than 20# and some will not use anything less than 50#. It is personal preference and casting ability. It takes some learning but your spool tension on that ambassador you have is the key to casting. Just remember when casting the reel, if is over spooling then you need to tighten up your spool tension. I use Shamano reels but ambassadors are excellent reels. I have many of them too. I use Gamatsu Hooks 7/0, 8/0.

    This is the time of the year that the fish are spawning so if you are bank fishing it is going to slow down, don't worry it will pick back up. As far as bait goes all the advice you will get from anyone will work otherwise they wouldn't be telling that is what they use. You have to determine what works best in the waters you fish and what you are targeting. Like Walter said if you are targeting flatheads live bait is best but they will hit dead bait too.

    I have agree with the doc, if fishing is all he wants to do then you have little worries. I have 2 little ones of my own and they absolutely love to fish with daddy and catch the big ones. Treasure these days, cause one day they may not to spend as much time with dad.

    There is a wealth of knowledge here and at times can be confusing cause not all the knowledge is the same for fishing for the same things but remember what I said. It all works but what is your preference.
     
  19. ChannelCatBen

    ChannelCatBen New Member

    Messages:
    179
    State:
    Minnesota
    Lots of good info here. One thing I'll say is this: Don't be afraid to downsize your bait when the big baits aren't producing. Sometimes they don't want a whole meal, they just want a snack. My best channel cat (about 15 lbs) hit a 1" strip of sucker minnow.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.
     
  20. John6518

    John6518 New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Arkansas
    I have been absolutley overwhelmed by the response I have received to the post on behalf of Joshua and me. Most of what you seem to hear about the internet, message boards, etc. is negative. One of my best friends is a local police chief who specializes in catching ineternet predators, and he has let me watch several stings. That has been my general view of the internet.

    Then you have an experience like this, and you find out what I have already known--that 99% of the people you meet are honest, decent, thoughtful, caring folks. Especailly those who love the outdoors and have an ethic showing appreciation for God's creation, whether it be fish, or rivers, or children, or friends.

    John Holleman