Flathead Catfish Q&A Thread!

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by catfishrollo, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Well, lets try a question and answer thread pertaining to flathead catfish. Many posts on this site are directed towards flatheads and different subjects pertaining to them. They are all spread throughout the different forums etc. I think this could make it easier for some to posts their questions no matter what they are about rod and reel flathead fishing and hopefully can get prompt answers to their questions. I encourage all to post. Maybe you don't have a question, but have an answer, or even want to make a simple post on " how-to" to help.. Drop a post off here, and lets talk flatheads and techniques from the bank and boat!!!!!! good fishing......rollo
     
  2. CountryHart

    CountryHart New Member

    Messages:
    10,914
    State:
    missouri
    I got a question about bullheads as bait. We call them polly's where i'm from and hear some say they are killer flathead bait. Do ya need to wack the fins/horns off of them first? Also, how is the best way to hook them, and how big is too big? Thanks in advance.
     

  3. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    You certainly can clip the fins off a bit, but you dont have too. They are one of the Flatheads main food sources.......but I think that just about anything that gets in front of a hungry flathead gets eaten!!!!!! We hook them just like we hook our others baits.:wink:I like to fish with the smaller ones up to 7" or 8" long......but I have fished with them up to 12".:eek:oooh:
     
  4. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    If you catch a few flat heads out of one spot will others move into the area ? ( this time of year )

    Good timing on this thread ; ) I just started fishing for them last week, I usually chase the blues. I picked a spot out this week and for three days now this spot has produced about 40 cats, 80% were flatheads. The biggest I got was #13.

    What should I expect out of a spot like this ? will they keep holding there ?

    thanks
    -Jim-

    Oh and Rollo..I know you hate lights but we have been using 2 crappy lights in the water, on all night, every time. There are Bluebacks and threadfins everywhere around us. I cant talk my partner out of turning off the lights to see if a bigger one comes my way....I'm working on him.
     
  5. hunted

    hunted New Member

    Messages:
    1,943
    State:
    washington court house,oh
    just make sure if you hook the bigger ones in the the back,that you don't hook it very deep.they are tough back there,and it will take the strength of then men to rip your hook out of its back.

    we have had pretty good luck with them up to about 6 inches hooking them through the bottom of the mouth out through the top.
     
  6. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Glad to see this post heading the way i imagined. thanks guys for getting it going!!! Jimmy, from what I can tell you, I have had a few unbelievable nights fishing one area or hole. But, it seems we catch multiple fish in the small to medium class range with only one in the dominant catagory if we are lucky to get that!.. Ex.. we boated close to 110 pounds of flatheads a month a go in the Ohio River one night, mostly from one spot! The biggest was 35 pounds, the rest were quality but under 20, with numerous 5 or less pounders that weren't weighed and released! Now, that said the water temps were in the low 70's if I remember, and should have been prime pre-spawn action with them feeding hard. I kept a few for the table and actually had a 5 pounder cut open to see a 32 inch water snake fall from the gut!! Now,,, to your question.... Flatheads are very territorial! If you catch a big flathead from a piece of structure it is highly unlikely you will catch another there.. I have caught some smaller ones from the same piece, but rarely in the same exact spot! Flatheads, especially big flatheads want structure to themselves, and after spawn will often settle into areas they are comfortable defending as their summer home! This is why I move, and move often! Now, if you are out to just catch fish, and are off of an area... I'm not saying to move from a spot on a good night. Likesaid, we had fun catching lots of smaller fish on that night on the Ohio, but don't plan on catching many dominant fish, fishing that way during the summer! :wink: hope this helps... and on the light situation.... everyone has their own opinion on this subject.. whatever works for you is all that matters.. I personally don't like light! And try to present myself and techniques to them as those they are used to day after day, night after night, not creating much change by me being there in their presence. Big Flats are like big bucks! They don't get big by being stupid and I feel you need to blend into their enviroment, not ask them to blend into yours to be sucessful! goodluck......rollo
     
  7. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,173
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    I fished a Ohio river bank spot in WV for 5 years and always was able to catch flatheads out of that same spot. Some nights were good and some were slow but it always seemed to hold flatheads. One particular night I caught 7 flatheads in that same spot.

    No doubt your spot has good structure that favors flathead activity. From my experience if you remove a dominant flathead from a hole, another one will move in.
     
  8. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    This is a very good post. I am impressed with the amount of flathead info getting thrown out there............

    Ah yes! and I am taking diligent notes.
     
  9. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    
    Thanks guys.....this thread is gonna go a long way : )

    The light...I agree with you Rollo. Unfortunately the Captain and I buck heads on this situation. He has been a Striper guild for 30yrs and them boys love the lights, LOL. To make things worse he told me his biggest cat he had was surprisingly only #8. So...... one night I picked a spot looking for blues for him and sure enough...He pulls in a blue that buried out a #50 scale, LOL. I had to go in after him but I got him in. And what my point is... he had that darn light on so now my arguments about lights isn't easy, LOL.

    I really love them Flatheads and I hope to catch more.

    Does anyone like to ram the shore or double anchor about 30' off the shore ? I look for structure but I combine that with a spot that has a nature highway so to say. I like spots where I think fish can travel up and down to search for food. My areas are also very close to deeper water, usually 30-60 foot deep. I just drop my line in the highway and do pretty good, but that's for blues.

    http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/jimmyjonny/100_2557.jpg

    BTW...My lake is up to 160' deep, little to no current, rocks and standing timber that was cut down about 25' below full pond.....This lake is cursed by most fisherman nation wide, LOL. Hartwell Lake also has over 900 miles of shoreline and below its Dam it feeds the Savanna River.

    I'm going out Sunday night to scout out fish. I hunt down fish for Captain Jim's Guide service. That way he can put his clients on fish asap. In return I fish for free ; )~

    Thanks for all your input guys. I really respect you guys for taking your time out to help folks. If yas are ever in SC get with me and lets go fish !!!

    -Jim-

    Here is a pic of me when I landed Captain Jims 50LB plus Blue. I know this is Flathead talk but I just had to show Rollo this fish..we are extremely proud of this team effort catch.

    http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/jimmyjonny/100_2261-1.jpg
     
  10. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk New Member

    Messages:
    1,015
    State:
    NC
    I agree that in the summer months big flats are loners. But one I found is that in the falltime they really gather together. Myself and afew friends have caught 25flats from one area in the falltime. They range from 8lbs- to over 60lbs. If you can find where they gather for the fall, the bite is incredable.
     
  11. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    thanks for sharing the pictures jimmy jonny. I agree with fishing areas that are highways for flatheads to feed. Here in Ohio, the watershed lakes I fish, we look try to keep baits as close as possible to the creek channel that runs throughout the lake. This old river bed is a travel zone for them flatheads to cruise at night. Some of these channels aren't but a couple feet deeper than the rest of the area, but seem to be a major travel zone for these fish to move around. I like to fish points where these creek channels swing in close to. Lake fishing is alot different than fishing the river systems itself, but, with alittle time spent scouting, you can catch some really nice fish from them as well.....rollo
     
  12. bw69r

    bw69r Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,816
    State:
    West Newton, PA
    how do you folks deal with the late part of the spawn? and i am having problems hooking fish with circle hooks, first night with them i could do no wrong , now i can't seem to do anything right. any suggestions?
     
  13. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    well, this may be a post someone else should touch on.. But, for the time being I will try. I don't fish circle hooks for flatheads. I fish mostly 8-10/0 Gamukatsu Octupus J-style hooks. However, I do fish them on cutbait for channel cats often. The worst thing you can do is set the hook or whip the rod. Circles are designed to turn when in the mouth and snag up when light to medium pressure is applied to them. Moreless allowing the hook to set itself, by letting the rod load up when the fish takes the bait in other words. Now to the spawn, fishing can be frustrating now. After the spawn has mostly passed and you start picking up them flatheads that look like they have been in a war with all the sores and cuts, I fish mostly mid summer spots. Logjams can and will be productive for them again, I like rock piles, and even below riffles can be good feeding zones for them. Especially, when the water temperatures soar, and the "dog days" of summer are here. Riffles provide adequate oxygen levels for the fish, and they often spend more time below them than usual. Lowhead dams can also offer the same scenario.. hope this helps some....rollo
     
  14. CountryHart

    CountryHart New Member

    Messages:
    10,914
    State:
    missouri
    Keep em coming fellows, i'm soakin this knowledge up like a sponge.Good post Rollo, with lots of good input here. Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge and experience.
     
  15. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Well, seen alot of small flatheads last night weighed in a local tourney that are obviously coming off spawn. If you have never seen one it is a sight to see. Lots of scratches, cuts, red sores on them, along with the slender look of hunger! It's a good thing though, we know they are reproducing along with getting ready to bite better again soon! :wink: ....rollo
     
  16. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    Rollo about summed it up. I use circle hooks also and if your getting bits but they are short striking I will run a stinger hook. My top hook, the main hook is usually only a 3/0 or 5/0 and my bottom stinger is a 2/0 hook. Yea there are debates on what hook size to use but I'm using herring so a 3/0 hook gives me plenty of gap and that's what's important. Just match the gap to the bait size your using I rarely miss a fish but if I am, a stinger will get them for sure.

    I also set my drag down pretty tight. With the circles let the rod load and start reeling BEFORE up pick up the rod...this is were a lot of people go wrong and get frustrated. A smooth and steady retrieve is best, especially if using a stinger hook because stinger hooks are famous for whisker hooking because of their short striking bait.

    Hope this helps
    -Jim-

    Ps.. Stinger hooks do not gut hook fish like some folks will try to tell ya.
     
  17. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    According to a top flathead trotliner who almost always catches several 50+# flatheads every spring, when a big flattie is caught from a good spot, another will move in within just a few days.
     
  18. Redneck in a Skiboat

    Redneck in a Skiboat New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    South Caro
    Which is better for flats live or cut bait? The biggest I ever caught was on a blue back head. I read a Magazine article once that said sometimes they just sit there and wait until the live bait died. I think that is probably bull. What about bluegills? Someone told me to trim the tail fins to slow them down and make them bleed. What do you guys think?
     
  19. fugeman

    fugeman New Member

    Messages:
    24
    State:
    ALABAMA
    I fish Wheeler Lake on the Tenn. River and am wanting to get into a mess of flatheads. My question is there certain things that I should look for when wanting to catch flatheads? I heard that they were structure oriented but what kind of structure? I've only caught one on a jug and am wanting to catch more just don't know where to start scouting and what to scout out.
     
  20. jagdoctor1

    jagdoctor1 New Member

    Messages:
    708
    State:
    CA/AZ
    Look it's like this, Cut is better than live at ceartain times in ceartain places. However as a recent poll on this forum showed Live bait is most popular. I can tell you I have done well on both and I try to fish with both at the same time. Last night for instance my daughters pole had a bluegill head on it, she caught the first flathead. As a rule I always catch the first flathead on the bluegill head, now get this. The next fish caught was bigger and on a live bluegill. The next fish caught was on the same bluegill head as the first fish and bigger than the last fish. The next fish caught was bigger and caught on a live bluegill, We finished the night off by catching a channel cat on the same damn bluegill head I had thrown out there for the third time lol. So both work, try to have live bait, if some dye or are weak cut them. I'll post pics later but I would estimate sizes in th is order 4pds,10pds,18pds,28pds the channel is very nice prob 12 pds.

    I like rock piles, and even below riffles can be good feeding zones for them. Especially, when the water temperatures soar, and the "dog days" of summer are here. Riffles provide adequate oxygen levels for the fish, and they often spend more time below them than usual. Lowhead dams can also offer the same scenario(QUOTE)
    I never thought of this bit of info Rollo. Here the water gets very warm and this is a great point.