Fishing For Suspended Catfish

Discussion in 'Mac Byrum's Catfish University' started by Mac-b, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    North Caro
    When the water gets hot, usually in the mid 80's, catfish, not all but some, will leave the bottom and start searching for food where there is a better oxygen and ready food supply. In lakes or rivers that have Rockfish or Striper's and plenty of Blue Backs, Gizzard Shad, Threadfin Shad or other types of bait fish that school together, this is where you can find Mr. Blue hanging around just under the Striper's and bait fish. Mr. Blue is a tad lazy and some say it has poor eyesight :eek:oooh:, but let a Striper bust a school of bait fish and see who is there waiting on some bait fish to flutter down to Mr. Blues zone. A Striper will chase a large bait, but schools of five to seven inch bait fish, it will slam them with it's tail or body, make a downward turn and get the stunned fish as they momentarily fall. Those that the Striper misses are consumed by Mr. Blue.

    You might wonder how you fish for suspended Blues. First you need a fairly decent sonar system with GPS, so you can find the bait fish, Striper's and Blue's. Second thing you will need to know is how to rig your catfish rigs for suspended fish. Rod, reel and line remains the same as you normally use and in some cases your rigging for anchor fishing is the same as for suspended fishing. To your fishing line place an egg sinker (1 to 2 oz), add a swivel, then your shock leader and your hook (circle hooks work real good for this type of fishing). Hook sizes vary and you can use 3/0 up to 8/0 or larger if you have trophy size Blues. Another piece of equipment you need is a rod holder that has a flat or horizontal position.

    Now that we have our equipment ready, how do we decided how deep we will fish? Your sonar will guide you in the placement of your bait. If the sonar is showing bait fish at 40 feet and Striper's at 41 or 42 feet, you will need to place your bait in the zone just below the Striper's position. Which could be 43 or 45 feet. How the heck do I do that, reasonable question. Most rods having a spacing between the reel and the first guide on the rod positioned about two feet (you will need to verify that this is true for your rod, if not, you will have to adjust). In the example presented it has been given that the cats will be in the 43 to 45 foot zone. Thus, to place your bait in the proper position, you would pull your line from the reel to the first guide eye 21.5 to 22.5 times (example: 21.5 X 2 feet equals 43 feet), now place the butt of your rod in your rod holder. If you want to get real technical, your transducer is normally located one to two feet below the water line and you can add a half pull to a full pull to make up for this difference). I have found that those using live baits for this technique do not fair as well as those using cut bait or dead whole baits. Remember, the Blue's are accustomed at this point to eating something that offers no resistance or major movement, their routine following the Striper's is to eat something recently stunned or killed.

    Earlier I mentioned having a GPS system would help you. We all have different types of sonar/GPS systems and all have a system whereby you can leave a permanent mark on your topo or lake map. On my Lowrance I hit my Waypoint button twice and it leaves a mark on the map. Each time I catch a suspended fish I hit the Waypoint button. After a while my lake map is dotted with Waypoints and I can just circle or straight line from one Waypoint to another, catching cats and making more marks on my map. It is hard on a large body of water to remember exactly where you were when you had multiple hits and with the Waypoint system, you are always within striking distance of where your suspended fish are.

    If you want some real excitement, down grade your rod to a medium lite action and put some 12 or 15 pound test line on your reel, then the game is on. Usually you are in open water with plenty of room for you to fight the cat without worry about brush, rock, etc that can be found on the bottom. You still need to have a good shock leader to keep the cats from nicking your line and thus, weaken it.

    As with all suggestion offer by me, please feel free to PM me with your question or submit your question to the Carolina Catfish Club section and I or one of the members will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Added by Mac:

    I left one detail out and that is that I use the technique described while I'm drifting using my trolling motor. So, it would be nice and beneficial to the guys and gals if you could insert that this technique is used while you are wind drifting or using your trolling motor to pull you along. Thanks, Mac.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2009
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