Flathead Catfish a typical night on the river.

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by DTro, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. DTro

    DTro Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    Minnesota
    A typical night on the river means different things to different people. For some it is a chance to get out and spend some time with friends, for others it means enjoying the sights and sounds, and others a chance to do battle with a world class Flathead Catfish.

    For myself, it’s a combination of the three.

    A typical night of fishing for me consists of several steps, the first is securing plans on launch location and who I will be fishing with. Launch location depends a lot on the current water levels and the confidence I feel about particular spots. One of the biggest myths about river fishing is that one particular stretch is better than the other. While that may hold true during certain circumstances, you can take any 10 mile stretch from Mankato to Minneapolis, and find things about that stretch that make it better than any other spot. The fish are there, I guarantee it.

    Once a launch location is decided on, the next step is to take that stretch and pick a few key areas that should (based on prior experiences) hold some fish. If I’m in a new area, the first 4 things I’m looking for are:
    1. Creek Inlets
    2. Sharp Bends, or a series of sharp bends
    3. Large old logjams or snags
    4. Rocky or Rapids type area

    If I can only have one, I would pick number 3. There’s a good chance that snag is going to hold at least a couple of fish throughout the year, which can’t be said for the others. However there are times when a Creek or Bend will outproduce a snag 2 to 1.

    After finding one of those four, I will look to see if there is deep water available in the general vicinity. If I find a creek inlet, but the water is only 3-5 ft deep in the area, I won’t even bother with it. Does this mean there are no fish there? No way, but your odds are lowered significantly with the shallow water. I would much rather see anywhere from 8-15 ft and maybe even a deeper hole nearby.

    Once a few of these key areas are located, the next thing is to get a good boat position. This will obviously change from boat to boat, but generally you want the bow of the boat facing the current, with one anchor to hold you in place off the bow, and another off the side or back to keep you from swaying.

    Now that the boat is positioned, I will survey the area to see how current is reacting to the area we are fishing. I look for seams, eddys, or breaks that alter the normal flow of current. This will be the area that will collect the food that Mr. Whiskers is looking for. In my opinion, bait placement could be the most important factor in being a successful fisherman. Put the bait in the wrong place, and not only will you get fewer bites, you might not get bit at all.

    With a couple of areas picked out for bait placement, it’s only a matter of making sure you have a lively bait, sharp hook, strong line, and the all important.... patience.

    Speaking of patience, one question we are always asking ourselves is, how long do we stay and wait for a bite? Boy that is a tricky one that really has no right or wrong answer. It basically comes down to gut feeling and perhaps prior experiences in that spot. I find it much easier to sit for several hours in a spot that I know has produced a big fish in the past. Those areas that I don’t give much time could very well hold several huge fish, but until I catch one of those I find myself reverting to old favorites. This doesn’t mean I won’t come back and try it again though. Some of the best spots I’ve fished haven’t produced until sitting there 5 or 6 times. I can’t stress it enough, KEEP TRYING NEW SPOTS.

    How many fish do I expect to catch on a typical night? Honestly, I don’t. That tends to make things much easier. Low expectations means less disappointment. Do I get discouraged when I get skunked? Of course I do, but I also see it as a learning experience. Chalk it up and move on I say. I think if you are getting 1-5 Flatheads in a night, you’ve done well. Anything over 5 is great. Then you have one of those nights that can’t be described, the fish just keep biting and keep getting bigger. When you have one of those nights, cherish it, because they are few and far between.

    Generally on a weeknight I will fish until about 11 or 12, and extend that by a couple of hours on the weekend. Nothing can help your success more than time on the water, plain and simple.

    That’s my typical night on the river and now throw in high/low water levels, logjams, sandbars and a few fireworks and you have a fun filled Catfish season.

    I truly wish for everyone to pose for a picture with their personal best they caught this year…..Good Luck!

    Now let's hear about your typical night.
     
  2. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Looks like library material to me.. Excellent write-up Darren.. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with everyone.....rollo
     

  3. flathead-kid

    flathead-kid New Member

    Messages:
    26
    State:
    China Grove, NC
    ok now with all this said .... what time of the year can i start targeting flatheads again?
     
  4. DTro

    DTro Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    Minnesota
    Much different period (time wise) for all of us in different regions of the country, but 50 degree water temp is a good start.
     
  5. raybait1

    raybait1 New Member

    Messages:
    210
    State:
    SE Texas
    This is my biggest problem. If Im on a spot that has produced well in the past, I may sit there for 10-12 hours without a bite. I will hunt new spots at times but not often enough. I may be too patient sometimes :smile2:
     
  6. allflats

    allflats Member

    Messages:
    251
    State:
    Kentucky
    Speaking of patience, one question we are always asking ourselves is, how long do we stay and wait for a bite? Boy that is a tricky one that really has no right or wrong answer. It basically comes down to gut feeling and perhaps prior experiences in that spot. I find it much easier to sit for several hours in a spot that I know has produced a big fish in the past. Those areas that I don’t give much time could very well hold several huge fish, but until I catch one of those I find myself reverting to old favorites. This doesn’t mean I won’t come back and try it again though. Some of the best spots I’ve fished haven’t produced until sitting there 5 or 6 times. I can’t stress it enough, KEEP TRYING NEW SPOTS.



    I start out with spots i know hold fish and then if no bites in a Hour or so look for new places to give em a try.
     
  7. allflats

    allflats Member

    Messages:
    251
    State:
    Kentucky
    Speaking of patience, one question we are always asking ourselves is, how long do we stay and wait for a bite? Boy that is a tricky one that really has no right or wrong answer. It basically comes down to gut feeling and perhaps prior experiences in that spot. I find it much easier to sit for several hours in a spot that I know has produced a big fish in the past. Those areas that I don’t give much time could very well hold several huge fish, but until I catch one of those I find myself reverting to old favorites. This doesn’t mean I won’t come back and try it again though. Some of the best spots I’ve fished haven’t produced until sitting there 5 or 6 times. I can’t stress it enough, KEEP TRYING NEW SPOTS.



    I start out with spots i know hold fish and then if no bites in a Hour or so look for new places to give em a try.
     
  8. andrew76

    andrew76 New Member

    Messages:
    457
    State:
    southwest ohio
    Jason said it all!
     
  9. allflats

    allflats Member

    Messages:
    251
    State:
    Kentucky
    I like to wait a hour or two in spots i have had luck with.If my good luck spots fail in producing anything its time to look for new locations and give em a try.
     
  10. allflats

    allflats Member

    Messages:
    251
    State:
    Kentucky
    Wow sorry for all the posts it didnt take the first time i thought.
     
  11. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Cory, I'm down in Charleston, SC and I know the flatheads around here will be moving by March, April for sure. It looks like you are a little more inland than I am, and north of course, so you might be a bit cooler, but I still bet you could get one in March if you want to push it, or April for certain.
     
  12. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    My typical night of flathead fishing always starts around noon up until mid afternoon: every flathead trip for me starts with spending the afternoon fishing for sunfish. I don't have the ability to keep livebaits on hand, and besides, catching the baits is part of the experience and half the fun.

    You talked some about your process of choosing an area of the river to fish. I have tended to fish the same areas pretty consistently over the last few years - the idea being that learning a good section of river really well would be a very good learning experience.

    Depending on tide (yup - I usually fish the tidewaters - fresh water that goes up and down and even changes direction twice a day) I choose a spot to start after cats around dusk. My river does not have the great big old log jams that some rivers do, more like a smattering of woody cover all along the deeper bank. My favorite stretches tend to have a good long bank with cover all along. Some stretches have up to a mile of good cover. I figure that type area has the potential to hold a number of good fish, while a single good piece of cover will only hold a few fish at most.

    I think I tend to move around more than many catfishermen. Good spots that have produced in the past, I will not give more than an hour to produce. New or less proven spots, I will not stay for more than 30 minutes. Fishing from dusk until 2 or 3 AM, I will fish from probably 5 to 8 anchor positions. That does not mean that I am running all over the river, though. Sometimes I will only move 100 yards or less and set up again. I have discussed my theory on flathead position before, but in a nutshell, I think there are times when the fish are out moving a lot, prowling and looking for food. If you are lucky enough to hit one of those nights, then great. But I believe that most nights they come out and prowl around for a bit after sundown and then settle into ambush spots. If I sit and wait, the fish are not coming to me. If I move and put a bait within the range of their senses so they can hear or feel or smell it, then they come and eat.

    I think maybe this year I should branch out a bit and try some new sections of the river. Maybe I'll do that, after I get a few in the boat from my old proven haunts.
     
  13. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Here's my typical schedule come mid April:

    I go to work from 8:30AM until 3:00PM. Upon dissmissing the school children, I jump into my already packed car and drive down to the nearest bait hole. I change in my car into my flathead attire and catch enough bait for 3 to 4 people to fish for 4 to 5 hours. I then call up my Fishing Entourage and we plan a meet up time and deliberate about which spot to fish. I get a bite to eat and by 6PM. I got my lines out. Since it's a school night, i try to limit myself to 4 to 5 hours of banktime. some nights, I jump into bed around 2 Am and have to get back up at 7am:embarassed:.

    Come late June when the school year is over is when sh%t really hits the fan!:cool2: This is when I morph into a piece-of-crap fisherman! on a typical summer day from late June to early September, i usually wake up around noon and even 1 PM:eek:oooh:. I relax and chill with the
    air conditioner until around 5 to 6 PM when the weather isn't as hot and go bait catching. Again, call the Entourage, get dinner, and hit the banks. I usually fish until 3 or 4 am, go home, sleep until the nest afternoon, and get ready to DO IT AGAIN:wink:

    Come September when school is in session, I go back to my spring routine and sleep deprivation until the quit biting in November.

    Do I catch fish every night? Definitely NO! But grandfather alway told me, the only way to catch the fish is being out there trying to catch them. You will not catch fish sitting at home.
     
  14. DANNYfrmINDY

    DANNYfrmINDY New Member

    Messages:
    194
    State:
    Martinsville, Indiana
    I love this quote. Thank you for sharing it with us Blacky.