Green River Fishing

Discussion in 'Outdoor Articles' started by DeerHunter01, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Blue Cat Tactics on the Green River

    Fishing the Green River is different than any other river you will ever fish.
    I had started the year out (2006) with a bang on the Ohio River, but with the ups and downs in the weather, things changed. The high water and trees floating down the rivers made finding decent blue cats in the Ohio very difficult. So I decided to start my learning of the Green River.

    The Green River flows due north through the state of Kentucky and dumps into the Ohio River just outside the town of Henderson. I had been fishing it for about three weeks steady now and was having trouble getting fish of any great size. I spent most of this time fishing with cut bait, mainly skipjacks and shad, and was catching catfish in the 6 to 19 pound range with most of them being less than 13 pounds. But in talking to the old time fishermen I heard many times of the huge flatheads and blue cats that they said live in this river system so I knew I had a lot of learning ahead of me.

    I fished the inside of bends and the outside of the bends, in deep holes and in shallow water. Every day that I fished I could find a few fish on the fish finder, set up on them and end up with three to four blue cats, but for some reason the bigger fish had shut down or maybe even took an early spawn.

    One thing I do is try to keep in touch with other people who fish as heavy as I do, so that when I’m having trouble I can get some feedback from them. During this time I spent an hour on the phone with James Noles from Louisville talking about why the fish were not tearing us up at this time of year. He had the same problems as I did and he told me that he found a few 1 inch bass in a pond near his house and was wondering the same thing about an early spawn. This was obviously a problem not just with me, but with all of us fishing this river system.

    This news didn’t stop me though and one day I took off from the house with my wife and headed to a local state park lake in search of some bluegill. We ended up catching about 15 or so and brought them back home to put into my cooler that I have rigged up for live bait. Once my son got home from work that day we took off for the river in search of the huge catfish that didn't seem to want to bite.

    When we got to the Green River in Spotsville Kentucky the water was up 5-6 feet above normal. One of the first things I checked when the boat hit the water off the trailer was the water temps, a surprising 69*! All I could think was with temperatures like that the flatheads should be going nuts and the blues should be feeding well too. As we took off up river the debris was unreal on the water so it was slow going up the river to make sure we didn’t tear the prop off of the boat.

    We had gone about 1 mile up river when I started searching for structure and fish on the fish finder. I had a lowerence X135 system in my boat that I have become to love and enjoy and without it I would of been lost, to say the least. I was looking for that one huge fish sticking out behind a tree stump or tree lying on the bottom of the river. But nightfall was setting in and the debris was just too thick to fish on the full current side of the river, so I started looking for fish in the inside bends where the water current slacks off some.

    It didn’t take us long as the next bend had all what I was looking for. We were about 15 yards off the shore line and over 21 feet of water, the shallowest I had seen so far for that area. We also didn’t have to put up with floating trees and the bottom of the river showed good structure. Soon after, two fish showed up on the screen in the water lying right on the bottom. I was sure we had found two nice flatheads bottomed out on the river. We pulled ahead about 40 yards, dropped anchor and drifted back to where we were about 10 feet from them.

    It was time to set up the rods. The first rod I put about an 8 inch gill hooked just behind the dorsal fin on with an Eagle Claw King Kahle 10/0 hook and tossed it out right about where I figured the fish were laying at. Then I took about a 6 inch gill and placed it out on the edge of the drop off into the channel of the river. This is where I have found flatheads that follow this line when feeding at night. My son rigged up as well and put one about 5 feet off the bank and another one just below the boat about 15 feet off the shore line. Now we just had to wait.

    I use 40 # Berkley Trilene Big Game solar green fishing line with a 4 oz. no roll sinker, with a bead attached behind it right at a 100# barrel swivel to stop the sinker from smashing into the knot. Then I put on a 50 # leader from Sufix fishing line down to the hook. Having fished with all types of hooks since I started fishing, I have come to enjoy circle hooks when the fish are aggressively ramming the bait, but have found that if the fish does not take it and load the pole up then the circle hook fails to get the fish. With the King Kahle Hook you get best of both worlds. You can let the fish run with it and once you lock down your reel, it will set in its mouth just like the circle hooks do or you can do the good old grab the rod and jerk its head off action. Either way, I’ve found you’re less likely to lose a fish with the king kahle than with any other hook.

    After 15 minutes had gone by I noticed the tip of my inside rod jerk down about 3 inches and pop back and then it started to dance. I could tell the bluegill was getting wound up for some reason and just then that pole jerked like it was going to break in half and the bait clicker started to scream. This line was tearing off the reel and as I got up and grabbed it, I engaged the reel trying to pull the rod out of the holder. The pole almost ripped out of my hand as I gave a good sweeping action. Right away I could tell it was a nice fish as I was met with a lot of resistance and the fish started right up river at me. I reeled as fast as I could and when I caught up to him he was right under the boat heading for the anchor rope. It was a good but short fight then since I was right over top of him; he didn't have much of a chance at that point. He came to the top of the water and as soon as I saw the fish I knew I had guessed right in the beginning when I felt it roll a couple of times, a nice 30# blue cat. We got it in the boat, took a few pictures and released it back to its home.

    I looked at my son, Ryan, and said them two fish are blues sitting behind that stump back there. That was enough to start baiting back up and setting the rods out. As I was doing this, I started thinking. This was my first blue cat on live bluegill so maybe the feeding habits were changing. I remembered what James Noles and I had talked about earlier and I knew the crappie and gills were on nests right now in this area, so maybe live bait would be the way to go for the next few weeks.

    Another 20 minutes had gone by when the rod jerked real hard and the clicker started going slow. As I looked at my line it was going right to the middle of the river, had already gone under my other line on the outside and was starting to pick up steam. I got the rod out of the holder and locked the reel down and waited till the fish loaded the pole up. Then I forced the fish to turn sideways and jerked with a full swing and the fish took off. But this fish felt smaller as I felt it roll and then hit the top of the water near the boat. It was another blue catfish caught on live bluegill; this one topping in at 20#.

    On the way home that night I told Ryan how I thought fishing was starting to get harder than deer hunting. Every day you’ve got to have different baits on board with you and you have to try different things to keep up with the fishing. Sometimes we get stuck on one thing or type of fishing and we never think to change it and try something new or different. I hope this has broken my streak of small fish now, but only time will tell. @

    Eric Simcox