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Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by wolfman, Feb 10, 2007.
Whats your rig for catching flatheads in lakes?
OK, I kind of use both. I want my bait near the surface, but I also want it anchored in place. I usually fish around shoreline structure so if I will be fishing in shallow water (3' or less) I will use a modified three way. To one is a light leader the depth of the water with a heavy weight. To one is a 6-12" heavy leader with hook and bait. To the third I attach my bobber.
If I don't know the depth or if it is deeper, I will put a slip weight on the main line, then a bead and a barrel swivel. To the barrel swivel I tie my leader/hook/bait, and attach the bobber.
That way it is ancored exactly where I want it, yet is also suspended toward the surface.
The goal is to present in on R&R just like it would be presented on a limbline. I am always open to new ideas too.
A Slip Bobber rig works for all cats.
All time I use carolina slip sinker..
I'm generally a bottom fishin man myself. I usually just keep it simple with the slip sinker or a bell sinker, sometimes a leader and whatever size hook fits the bait I'm using. But on occasion fishing a lake in Brown County early and late in the day I'll wing a big bluegill out there under a slip bobber off of this point that is about 4ft. deep with about 8-10ft of water on both sides of it and plenty of stumps. This has produced some decent flatties, mostly 8-15lbers, some channels up to 10lbs, and a couple of my biggest largemouth bass right around 5lbs.
The decisions I make that dictate which rig I use for any species of catfish depends on several variables that dictate what the fish want to see in my presentation on any given day.
Most are very closely related...and frequently come into play simultaneously.
1. Lake or river?
2.Current velocity (or lack therof)
7.Type of bait I'm using
8.Position of the fish in the water column
9.From boat...bank...or wading?
10. Daytime or night?
11. Species of fish
12. Time of year
13. Are there any potential snags?...(such as rocks or submerged brush)
14. Am I anchored or drifting?
These are just a few factors that come to mind immediately...there's probably more.
My personal dillema regarding which rig I use...is that my main squeeze and my favorite place to catfish...the Neosho River in SE Kansas and NE Oklahoma...is a seasonal affair.
The blues, channel, flathead, whitebass, wiper, crappie, and walleye come in hard and heavy during their spawning runs...and many of the bigger specimines stick around and gorge themselves on shad until head back to the lake...seeking deeper water when the river water levels typically drop in July....and the majority of the fish tow along right on their heels.
So from March until July...when there's plenty of water and forage...there's usually great action even on a slow day....even if it may be hybrids...walleye...or crappie instead of catfish that might be the hot bite of the day.
But from July through August...I primarily fish for channel and walleye at a few different local state lakes and several large strip pits...each one very different than the other.
If I were limited to choosing only one presentation...in a lake or in a river....I'd miss out on other opportunities when one rig doesn't work so well that day as another might.
Experimentation and willingness to change if what you're doing isn't putting a bend in your rod...is the name of the game.
Although there are days when nothing seems to work...going on the offensive by trying a different approach sometimes pays dividends.
I voted for the carolina rig. However under certain conditions as listed in other post, I would be quick to change to what I thought would work best. I don't follow the rule "I would rather fight than switch".
Well I didn't vote in the poll because when lake fishing I use both a slip float and the three way rig depending on conditions. I very seldom if ever use a carolina rig, too easy for the bait to lay on the bottom. When using a three way I keep the drop to the hook short, only like three or four inches from the main line to the hook. Last year was the first I used slip floats for flatheads. I had good success with them during the summer. I don't use any weight when using slip floats in a lake, let the bait swim free. Got to watch a couple flatheads chase my bluegill to the top and then hammer them, it was an awsome sight too.
Griz, just picking your brain here. When letting those gills swim free in the lake what type of structure were you fishing? Submerged wood, weeds, over the river channel, rocks, steep rock walls,shallow sand flats, mud flats, deep water,shallow water? I haven't had much luck in my closest resi. I can find them in the river though. Any thoughts would be welcome.
I like a sinker on bottom with a slip bobber and keep live bait about 2 feet off bottom. Works great for me.
i will either carolina rig on bottom, or float a carolina rig with bobber and stopper
i mainly use the carolina rig. this year, though, i am going to experiment some with the 3 way rig. i found one that is a big surgeon's loop, then you cut it to desired length for your leader and weight line. no swivel needed!
I've caught every single catfish I've ever caught on a Carolina rig. I am going to try some trolley rigging as well as some bobbers this summer though. Can't wait to get back out on the lake for some flatheads.
3 way rig myself rick
I use both carolina and 3 way for flats better luck with carolina so I use it most of the time.
I use 2 rigs for flatheads. One is a 3-way swivel with a short hook line and a 3' sinker line. The other is a slip float with a live Bluegill...usually with no weight. I have been thinking about using a sinker to keep the float and bait where I want it to stay. At night I have noticed the Flatheads are coming in close to the bank to feed in the shallows. In daytime I think they are staying a little deeper.:big_smile:
I use a slip sinker with a 2 foot leader. Have not tried anything else yet. I do plan to use that bobber technique sometime.
All three and more at times, even use a big jig on th eold channel drops at time, Kind of a tough answer to just pick one but I choose Carolina set up as probably the most I fish on a given trip. Still awful hard to get past that 1-2 ounce jig and shad or gill :wink:
Carolina rig for me---but then again, I don't catch many fish. I plan to be more open minded this year.
I don't fish for flatheads much, not many in my area, but when I do I use a float forward system. I use a slip sinker on my main line like a carolina rig then tie on a swivel for a 2' leader. I use a 2-3" dropper off my leader close to the top for the hook then peg a fair sized float about a foot from the dropper. When you cast it out give it extra slack so the main line slips through the sinker and the float comes to the surface then take up the slack. Now your bait is about a foot below the surface and your rig is set so it won't drift around. Your bait can't swim to the bottom as it struggles against the float. You can adjust the detph of your bait by just reeling in a little line, your float will sink but won't matter because you're fishing with a taught line.