How I Driftfish for Channelcat 101

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by jdstraka, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,720
    State:
    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Name:
    John
    Hello, I love to Drift fishing for channel Catfish it is one of the most relaxing ways to fish I know of and it will put some channel Cat Filets in the freezer to boot.
    First you need some bait,and here in Iowa we have an abundance of lakes and small ponds that will fill that need. I like to use either Fresh Bluegill,Crappie Filets,or Fresh cut Shad.(Skipjack will work great also but are hard to come by here in Iowa) Make sure You check the fish and game laws in your state to make sure you are allowed to use Bluegill or crappie fpr bait OK. here in Iowa you are allowed to use them as long as you catch them with hook and rod and reel from the same lake as you are fishing.
    for My bait catching I use an ultra lite spinning rod and a very small hook tipped with a small piece of night crawler and. I sometimes use a small float about a foot and a half up from the hook and fish around the rocks and riprap or a brush pile. I also carry a set of hemostat plires as some times the Bluegill will swallow the hook and it makes it easier to remove the hook.I have a 5 gallon bucket filled half way with lake water to put my bait in to keep them alive.and if it is hot I also have a minnow miser battery operated airator running in the bucket.now after I have caught the bait for the day which sometimes takes an hour or so sometimes less. I will place the fish in a zip lock bag and put it on ice in a cooler keeps them good and fresh for the trip.
    Now to prepair your bait for fishing I scale the fish leaving the skin on and cut a filet off both sides by leaving the skin on the filet it makes it harder for the cats to get it off the hook.
    I then cut the head off the Bluegill and save to use which I will explain how to rig in a moment,I don't keep the crappie heads as they have a large mouth and have a tendansey to collect mud and gunk in there large mouth as the bait bounces along the bottom while drifting,not like the Bluegill heads which have a small mouth and it is not a problem.
    This is how I rig my lines.I like to use a Matzueo sickle hook or a kahlie hook 4/0 or 5/0.I make a leader 12" long out of 20 pound Big game mono and attach your hook to one end(I prefer to snell the line to the hook)I attach a swivel on the other end useing a polimer knot for this. I attach this to My main line now just above the swivel I will put a #1 split shot to help keep the bait on the bottom and if the wing is blowing and the lake is rough i will use two split shot.
    For My drifting I prefer to use spinning reels on a med.7' rod.I use Penn 4500 reels they are bullit proof and most of your channel cat will be between 1# and a Large one will go #20 and the reels will handle them bad boys just fine. now bait casters work super also i just like spinners for this application better.
    Now I start off with a filet on one rod and i weave it on the hook three times and remember to leave your hook exposed as catfish are not hook shy OK,now with the bluegill heads put your hook through both eyes also leaving the hook exposed,this way I can see which bait the cats prefer that doy and then change both rods to that bait.I like to change My bait every 20 minutes or so to keep it fresh.
    Now your ready to start drifting I turn My boat sideways to the wind and start my drift,Slower is always better when drifting I like to keep it at about 1 mile an hour or less,if the wind is blowing I will use one or two drift socks to slow the drift down,you can also use 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom and tied to the side of the boat with about 6/8 foot of rope.
    I like to drift shore lines at night and the main lake in the day.Points on the lake will produce well most times as you will have shallow water dropping to deeper water. Now when you catch a fish either mark the spot as best you can either visualy or on your electronics if you have them,and make another pass over that same area again because i have found that the cats will move in schools sometimes and i can catch several in the same area.
    If You have any Questions just ask and I will try to help any way I can.If You happen to be a New Member to the Boc A BIG OL Welcome to the BOC.We are Happy to have You Join Us,And if Your just checking us out come on and Join Us It's Painless It is WITHOUT the Best Site for Outdoor folks and Catmen and Cat :0a26:ladies on the Web.
    God Bless
    Your friend
    J.D.
     
  2. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks JD for presenting an excellent drift pattern. I believe that will work in my neck of the country.
     

  3. Gordhawk

    Gordhawk New Member

    Messages:
    1,378
    State:
    Iowa
    John,
    Sounds like you have a plan! Do you do this mostly in lakes or do you do it in rivers too? If you do it in rivers too,do you use the same rigs as you use in lakes? Sorry,for all of the questions,but I was just curious.
    Thanks,
    Glenn
     
  4. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,720
    State:
    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Name:
    John
    Hi Glen, I Guess I should have stated that this is used for lakes or inpoundments,Most of the Rivers around here in western Iowa move to swift for this system to work. J.D.
    :0a26:
     
  5. catfeveriowa

    catfeveriowa New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Council Bluffs Iowa
    That sounds like Manawa fishing J.D. :wink:, and I couldn't quite tell but it sounds like a 18' LUND boat also heehee.
     
  6. jdstraka

    jdstraka Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,720
    State:
    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Name:
    John
    Yep It's works on Manawa Billy. But I'll Tell You It Works BETTER on Green Valley State Park just north of Creston Ia. Or Mazingo just east of Marysvill Mo.The Last Two are with out a Doubt KILLER Channel Cat Lakes.I Highly Recommend Both.J.D.:wink:
     
  7. catfeveriowa

    catfeveriowa New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Council Bluffs Iowa
    Ya me and Larry Trescott (catfishlarryiowa) are going to Mozingo first chance we get were hungry for some cold water channels, and oh by the way we will be doing us some drifting.
     
  8. catfishcrazy256

    catfishcrazy256 New Member

    Messages:
    2,648
    State:
    Indiana
    :big_smile:drifting is great fun
     
  9. Goofy

    Goofy Member

    Messages:
    58
    State:
    Moline, Illinois
    Thanks J.D. with those instructions I am going to try it after the hard water leaves.
     
  10. Rhinocat

    Rhinocat New Member

    Messages:
    69
    State:
    North Dakota
    i like to drift the slow currents on the River here.. works great just after ice out..