How often do mature flathead catfish feed?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by flathunter, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    I have read many different views on this subject...Some have said a mature flathead over 30-lbs may only feed a couple times a month because it takes a long time to digest a large fish they catch..Others say they are constantly feeding..I am kinda somewhere in between, I dont think they feed everyday, especially if the have been succesfull in finding large fish to eat.
     
  2. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon New Member

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    3,012
    State:
    Ohio
    I dont know how often, but NOT OFTEN ENOUGH in my opinon! :D
     

  3. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

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    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    I have always wondered the same. I would like to get a HUGE aquarium and then put about a 20lber in there and observe him, then release him after 6months.
     
  4. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    I was reading an article in the new (Feb) issue of In-Fisherman that says radio tracking showed summertime flats were active about 1 hour total out of 24. This was total movement, not necessarily feeding time.
     
  5. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    well i did have a theory that they only fed during the full/new moon periods, but tonight i done some research on a night that a freind of mine caught the biggest flat that ive seen out of my river and a sightly smaller one but he caught it on a last quarter(half) moon night. this is a first for me. i do know that they feed VERY heavily during these periods, every big one i or a friend has caught usually has a very full belly.
     
    Peteluck likes this.
  6. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Blackwater, I need to get that issue, That sure isn't much time to feed. I guess thats why they feed on bigger bait :) It sure would be nice to figure these fish out better.
     
  7. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    I don't think the article specifically addressed actual time spent feeding, in fact it theorized that at least some of the movement may be associated with the position of the sun overhead, and movement involved to get to a more comfortable location.
     
  8. MadKater

    MadKater New Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Evansville,IN
    i honestly beleive a mature flat only needs to feed every 2-3 nights,since they are such good hunters they fill up quick and take a day or 2 to let thier kill digest, i have also herd that a flathead will travel when it hunts and doesnt leave its den to offten unless an easy meal happens upon thier den.
    last year i noticed while i fishd a lake for sevral nights in a row,the first night i caught a real nice flat and had no action the next couple of nights but then on the 3rd night i caught what i thought was the exact same flathead int he same location so i figured i was prolly fishing in his "hunting zone" and he happend upon my bait while out hunting.
     
  9. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    I would say if the waters cold every other day. And if its warm every day and sometimes 3 or 4 times a day.
    If you catch a good flathead on a trot line. And he has a 2 or 3 lb channel cat that took the bait and hook. Any part of that fish that is down in its gut will be gone. Bones will be about all that is left. The acid in there gut will work on what ever they eat fast.
    And this is what I have seen every time. WE have fished lines for over 75 years starting with my granddad then dad. WE always used 1/0 hooks and hope for a drum or a small channel in shallow water.
    You could count on 3 or 4 good flats per morning. And most of them had not been on long. So they were feeding in the Am

    So to answer your question. I would say at least one feeding time per day. And that is if they got a full meal deal when feeding.

    PEte
     
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  10. river scum

    river scum New Member

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    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    i would have to say it depends on the weather and size of pray.
     
  11. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Messages:
    3,734
    State:
    Ohio
    I tried to research this, and finding the right words to search was difficult enough besides all of the scientific jargon. What I got out of it was this.

    Feeding habits are mostly related to the time of year.

    In early spring they are starting to activate after a winter of slowed down metabolism, when a meal can last them a long time. They are not very active and don't use much energy. When the water starts to warm, mother nature kicks in and they turn into an eating machine, building up reserves for the spawn. They slow down for the summer, then kick in again for the fall, heading for the cold winter months.

    Now for the question, do they know hunger as we do, or even a feeling of being full? I don't think so. Predator fish have large stomachs with a smaller intestinal tract, because of the amount of acids they secret. Remember they have no teeth to chew their food up with. When, say a bass is ingested, it breaks down partially in the stomach then is moved on to the intestine where it is dissolved more. Any thing left is evacuated.

    So when nature tells them to start feeding, they just keep pushing one fish in after the other, to the point of some being hardly digested at all. Its no wonder then, that our best fishing is pre spawn and late summer, early fall. Well in my part of the country anyay.

    Their feeding habits are ingraned in them and they have no choice about it. Just like us and fishing for those big cats, lol ;)
     
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  12. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Netmanjack

    Very good post, you know I wondered why you had fish hanging out of your pockets and tied on a string to your pants pocket with a fish hanging on it behind the boat, the day we fished Salt Fork Lake. now I know you was leading all the fish to our spot.

    Glad to see you posting brother, very good post and thanks for the research.
     
  13. Environmentor

    Environmentor New Member

    Messages:
    95
    State:
    Buffalo, Iowa
    I agree with the watermellon, "NOT OFTEN ENOUGH"

    There really is no right answer! Unless the question is temperature based, and I will try to find some fisheries research (if you don't hear back from me then I couldn't find the research)

    Here is why there is no answer:
    All fish are basically the same. Blackwaterkatz is right, activity is not "feeding" but is comprimised of any activity (mating, moving, feeding, stalking, etc). Activity is related to time of day and year, prey activity, tide phase (moon/sun location), mating activity, etc. However, what really plays a major part is temperature (which can be construed as month or climate). The individual (fish and water body temperature) is key to answering the question. Since fish are heterothermic and poikilothermic (cold blooded for the laymen - although this isn't real science terminology anymore) there temperature fluctuates. Metabolism is dependent on temperature. In cold water they will be less active, eat less, metabolise less, and grow less. (This is why some fish, like bass in the north, never reach the size of those in the south. Season affects fish; however, it is rather the temperature associated with the fish that affects fish. Since seasonal temperature varies with region, there is no reasearch based on season that can be applied to everyone (since most fishery research is regionally based by state agencies, the real question has to be temperature based). In warm water, fish are more active, use more energy (increase metabolism), and feed more.
    Age/Size of fish plays a role, too (but I am not sure of the details).
    Netmanjack is also right. Hunger in fish is not the same as other animals/people. Fish can engorge themselves. Fish can eat themselves to death. Many predator fish feed when hormone/chemical signals are sent to the brain (like people) which tell them the stomach is empty: feed now! However, predatory fish (flathead, just like a bass) can't pass up an easy meal. An injured baitfish creates a response causingthe fish to attack the injured baitfish. The baitfish then should be eaten (however, of course this is not always the case).
     
  14. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    DH, Those fish of Netmans were mine! I bringing them to Ryan for bait, til I saw him talking to his drum!!!!

    You coming to the Ohio gathering in May? If you do, bring JW, cause I need an anchor. Even though it's only 2 feet deep, tell him it's safe cause he can stand on his feet stead of his head. Don't want him to drown, but since he's from Kentucky, I thought I'd best give explicit instructions. ;)
     
  15. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Good post netmanjack, Thats why I feel like the yellows will eat cutbait more so in the spring and fall than the summer. I have been told that the flatheads in the aquariums will go weeks sometimes before feeding like crazy.
     
  16. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    Hey Shawn, At least I would still be able to fish while holding the boat in place, while carrying the keg on my bad shoulder. Unlike a short skinny feller like yourself. We couldn't use you for an anchor here cause the water is way to fast, maybe we could use you for a drift sock, LMAO!!!
     
  17. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    I don't know if he would work for an anchor here in ky, our cats here would eat him for shure. He might make good bait. :eek:
     
  18. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Messages:
    3,734
    State:
    Ohio
    Now guys, I am going to have to stick up for Shawn here.

    He wouldn't make a good anchor because he doesn't like to get his feet wet! He will only do that if a big fish is at steak.

    And as for using him for bait, well thats out. He would probably go to sleep, not much action there. lmao :D
     
  19. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    LOL, thanks Jack for warning us, we only want preferred bait.LOL
     
  20. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    Ummm.... Thanks Jack.... I think :confused: :mad: :cursing:


    Well, he knows I hate to be cold and wet. However I could point you Kentucky boys to a real good flathead spot. Its right in the middle of the island. Need a heavy sinker, and bury it about 3 feet deep to get below sea level and them cats come right up on shore through the bushes and dig with their barbels and grab any old dead bait. Just make sure it is dried and has no odor. Why, I've caught dozens there and you will too! ;)