Flathead fishing on James by William's Island

Discussion in 'VIRGINIA RIVERS TALK' started by catfishjoey, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. catfishjoey

    catfishjoey New Member

    Messages:
    14
    State:
    VA/OK
    Quick question for all you catfish experts out there. I'm from richmond and spend the majority of my summer on the James near the Z DAM/ pony pasture... I fish with live bream for flatheads... I've caught several big ones this way, but I miss more fish than I hook. They hit very lightly and they're hard to hook... Once I feel a fish messing with the bait, I try to wait 45 secs to a min before I set the hook, but i still miss many fish... I've tried straight shank, circle hooks, etc... Any tips? Thanks guys.
     
  2. jason berry

    jason berry New Member

    Messages:
    819
    State:
    Evansville
    10/0 King Kahles. Make sure the flat has committed before setting the hook. Sometimes there turtles. Make sure there is alot of room from the bait to the hook, so that you can hook the flat from the live bait. I like the larger hooks for the larger baits because theres more room for the hook to be set. You also have to keep in mind that it could be smaller flats or channel cats hittin your bait. No matter what you do you will never be a 100%. Good luck to ya.
     

  3. Paraguayguy

    Paraguayguy New Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    State:
    Virginia
    Welcome, This is a great place with great guys. I fish mainly for Blue cats east of Richmond. Right now I am fishing for shad downtown almost every afternoon. I keep at least four big rods off the back with cut Hickory Shad and have caught 3 nice flatheads around 20 pounds. All hit like a frieght train and hooked themselves on the 8/0 Gamagatzu circle hooks I was using
     
  4. Halifax

    Halifax New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    Chester ,Va
    Are you fishing with the rod in hand? If so generally the flathead will thump your bait there will be a slight pause then it'll start moving away with it. It's just like bass fishing with a worm texas style, once he starts moving away you give him the rod to the water then bust'em. Try not to let the fish feel you on the other end. We used J hooks for that. I agree with Kenneth if your fishing out of a boat let him hook itself.
     
  5. CatsNstripers

    CatsNstripers New Member

    Messages:
    297
    State:
    Smith Mountain
    I've never flathead fished in that section of the river. But a few years ago I use to fish here in the upper James for flatties in the Eagle Rock- Buchannon and Arcadia. I havent fished the James for a while, mainly im just fishing Flats here on Smith Mtn. On Smith and back on the James. I found you have to let the flathead pull the bait.Like JB said you have to make sure the flat has commited. But yet you'l still have a few misses. There's time you'll have to let the flathead pull atleast 30ft of line before you set the hook. You'll have to judge the stucture your fishng around to the amount of you line your willing to let him to take. With little to no structure give atleast 30ft of line to the flattie.

    The flathead will pull and stop pull and stop. What i feel is best is to let the flat pull and take until it gives a constant pull, once your get a constant pull the flathead has the bait. I use Abu reels with the clicker set, once the flat starts pulling, take off the clicker and use your thumb on the reel like your casting the baitcaster and let him pull against the free spool. With a spinning reel, just open the bell and use your finger so line wont fall from the reel when he pulls. When your feel time is right, set the hook and set it hard.

    I dont like circle hooks at all for flatheads unless it cutbait, still then i give them just a little bit of line before the hook set. I like using eagle claw hooks in 6/0-8/0 #084 bronze. I dont like kahle's but they work.

    Try giving a good amount of line before the hook set and see if your catch rate improves. I hope this helps.
     
  6. catfishjoey

    catfishjoey New Member

    Messages:
    14
    State:
    VA/OK
    Thanks guys! I definitely appreciate the comments and I think I'll just try using some larger hooks and try to be a little more patient. I fish out of a kayak normally, though sometimes I'll just pull up to a rock and fish off of it. Unfortunately even the larger ones I've caught there have never hit like a train/hooked themselves. But I typically fish these spots during the warmer months and high water temperatures may be making them sluggish. I'll definitely give the larger J hooks and Kahle hooks a shot... Thanks again!
     
  7. CatsNstripers

    CatsNstripers New Member

    Messages:
    297
    State:
    Smith Mountain
    Flatheads love hot water. Ive read a couple different studies on flatheads. to sum it up. Flatheads relish warm water. There more tolernt to warm weather then largemouth and are most active the warmer the water. I assume that why you find them in shallow water at night in the dawg dogs of summer...
     
  8. Paraguayguy

    Paraguayguy New Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    State:
    Virginia
    Good post. I don't target flatheads but remember a guide, (Mike Osterlander) I went to see do a seminar a greentop. When he taked about flatties, he said give them some line and then sweep the rod back, not a jerk their lips out hook set or start turning the handle to set the hook. Mike uses circle hooks. I had two really good pull downs where line was moving out aginst my drag set at 14 pounds that didn't hook themselves Wednesday. I thought at the time they were stripers but now I think it was probably flatheads.:smile2: