"Immediately inhales any baitfish"...Agree or Not?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Flatspontoons, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Flatspontoons

    Flatspontoons New Member

    Messages:
    32
    State:
    Texas
    Many of you may have seen an In-Fisherman catfish video titled "Flathead Catfish: Day on the River"....with Doug Stange and Steve Hoffman.

    Excellent video and really goes into detail on locating the best places on small rivers to set-up on flatheads......

    One of the main points that Doug Stange emphasizes is NOT letting a big flathead run with a bait......says that because a flathead has such a huge mouth, 9 times out of 10 a big flathead will simpy inhale about any size of baitfish on the initial strike.....he really gives a stern warning that when fishing for flatheads in heavy log/timber cover, if you let a flathead run even 2 or 3 feet after the strike, he will usually wrap the line in limbs/logs and end-up breaking off.....

    Makes sense to me.....but yet I read on the BOC that many guys let flatheads run quite a bit before setting the hook?

    Maybe these guys are fishing deep holes with no cover? Or dam tailwaters with no wood cover?

    After seeing the heavy timber cover that Doug and Steve were fishing next to, it's easy to see that letting a big flattie run even just a little bit would result in tangling them in underwater cover right away!

    What say you guys?
     
  2. jagdoctor1

    jagdoctor1 New Member

    Messages:
    708
    State:
    CA/AZ
    If your in that kind of cover you have no choice but to try to set the hook and pull him out it doesn't matter what he is doing with it. However in answer to whether they immediatly inhale any bait ... NO. They have attitudes. One day you can't miss and are hooking up with every fish that touches your bait and another day you can let them swim all over the river with it and still pull the bait out of thier mouths when you try to set the hook. Just depends on what's goin on in thier head.
     

  3. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    I own that video your talking about. It has some real good information in it. One point they make is that the Flathead will ambush prey from cover and grab the bait and then head back to cover. This could be to avoid competition. If a fish swims around with a fish hangin out of it's mouth theres a chance something else could snatch it from him.
     
  4. chubbahead

    chubbahead Member

    Messages:
    332
    State:
    Ohio
    I haven't seen the video, but you have to agree with the info they gave you based on those circumstances. But, every time you flathead fish won't fall into those circumstances.

    There are two big factors I take into consideration on when to jerk-

    1. how big is your bait, and you better have a hook that corresponds to your bait. If I have a big bait (10 inches plus) that isn't around much structure, I'll let him run for a few minutes. If I'm fishing a smaller bait, but still with the correct hook for the bait, I can set the hook within the first few seconds and usually still catch the fish.

    2. how close are you to structure. it also depends on what kind of structure. If it is trees, logs, rebar sticking out of concrete, or anything that is super easy to wrap around, you better jerk pretty quick no matter what size the bait. I usually down size my baits a bit if I'm really close to the structure just to make sure when I jerk, the bait is nearly down the throat. You just can't afford to let them run.

    There are different things you can do though, to help keep your bait out of some structures. For example, I've recently started using bobbers, actually balloons, to keep my bait up a little away from the boulders and concrete. I'm still fishing a fixed position, with my weight being the lowest on my line, but only my weight will get snagged, and I can break that off and still reel in a fish. It is just a little bit of extra help to reel in a big one.
     
  5. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I DO NOT believe in letting flatheads run with a bait, so I guess I agree with the guys from In-Fish (although I have not seen the video). I fish with the rod in a holder and the reel engaged and let the fish hook themselves. I don't think flatheads mess with a bait at all - that they simply suck the whole thing in in the situations I fish - 98% of the time. There are probably times when they are in an off mood or somethnig, but I see no point in worrying about what happens 2% of the time.
     
  6. FATFLATTIE

    FATFLATTIE New Member

    Messages:
    2,170
    State:
    ILM, NC
    I would have to agree. I don't see any point at all in letting them "run with the bait". A flathead around 3-5lbs can inhale a bait as big as your hand in probably about 3 seconds. I use clickers and as soon as I hear the clicker start I engage the reel and set the hook as soon as I can. If you'll watch the rod tip you can tell what's going on down there. First you'll see the rod tip start shaking(bait is freaking out b/c he knows what's about to happen) then the rod will thump kinda hard, bounce up, and then the clicker starts. As soon as you hear the clicker the bait is completely in his mouth. I personally use a clicker b/c I believe that when fishing near structure if you can get him coming towards you before he knows what is going on you're much better off. Also, if you're setting the hook quickly and not getting hook-ups their likely not flatheads that are hitting your baits, that's been my experience anyway.

    I'd agree with JAinSC in that there may be occasions that they aren't aggressive or whatever, but it's really not enough to worry about.
     
  7. FLATHEAD STEVE

    FLATHEAD STEVE New Member

    Messages:
    1,772
    State:
    DESMOINES IOWA
    Agree, but I "need to know he's there before I hook him up......... And in some of the other IN_FISHERMAN videos you will see both of them letting the fish run quite abit before they stick em
     
  8. slikk03

    slikk03 New Member

    Messages:
    2,507
    State:
    illinois
    nice post, iv had this debate in my mind also, ive done it both ways,ive had beter luck in freespool with a cliker than loked down in a holder, most flatheads iv had wont even take the gill if i dont let them run off, but thats just me
     
  9. Flatspontoons

    Flatspontoons New Member

    Messages:
    32
    State:
    Texas
    Wes,

    Your comments quite closely reflect what I have always suspected about a flatheads "usual" attack method when hunting....which is simply sucking that puppy in immediately! :wink:

    Thanks to you and all the guys for your input!

    Richard
     
  10. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    This is sort of along this topic. I read some stuff in a Catfish book earlier by Kieth Sutton called "Pro Tactics". One thing he mentioned is that a fish like us people and even moreso uses all of it's senses when it decides to eat. Example: You go into a restaurant, you smell great food, your really hungry, you see people eating so you order a steak. Your mouth is watering as your waiter brings you your food. He puts your silverware down, refills your drink and sets your plate on the table but your steak is "blue". That ain't right! I don't know about you but if my food ain't right I ain't eating it. Sutton says that Catfish are like one big tounge. There sense of smell and taste are so keen that if it senses something that ain't right like bug spray, tobacco, gasoline etc. It will instinctively move on. I wonder if some of those weak bites, dropped baits, missed hook sets etc. that I've had could have been due to impurities or something not seeming quite right to the catfish?
     
  11. hunted

    hunted New Member

    Messages:
    1,943
    State:
    washington court house,oh
    ive seen em hooked both ways,i think the biggest factor is bait size.the mood of the fish could be a factor too.i like when the fish runs,its good to hear the clicker going off.
     
  12. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    You may have something there - and it doesn't have to be a smell or taste either - maybe too heavy a leader or a great big hook or some noise from the boat - just about anything could turn them off.
     
  13. mattoonboy4

    mattoonboy4 New Member

    Messages:
    89
    State:
    Illinois
    i'm guessin they inhale em considerin that so many(including me) catch flattys on limb lines, bank poles, and trot lines.
     
  14. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    I've often wondered the same things and also whether or not the sinker could cause one to feel resistance and let go?
     
  15. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Also might depend on how hungry he is.....if he just ate 3 or 4 bluegills and he is just mouthing yours or if he hasn't had anything to eat in a couple days:crazy:
     
  16. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    A local Mempian and Mississippi River Catfishing guide James Patterson says that he uses a Quantam "Big Cat" rod that has a medium action and a butt that is real strong. He claims that with a medium action rod the fish is less likely to drop the bait due to "feeling" the resistance of the rod tip.
     
  17. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    I rod and reel fish flathead at the Neosho river in Se Kansas and Neo Oklahoma...primarily during the daytime...but sometimes at night as well.

    First of all...when I get a bite...a run isn't always necessary for me to set the hook...perhaps the flattie has merely taken in the bait and doesn't plan on going anywhere...and is waiting for the next victim to come its way laying behind his rocky lair or under a log.

    It's all about pressure...you can tell if there's something on your line by reeling down slowly and slightly raising your rod tip....when in doubt...keep reeling...and if it pulls back...well...you know what to do then...eh?

    That being said....

    What I have noticed during the day is that when you fish the rockpiles and holes at the base of the dam...or a gnarly brushpile in a known fish producing eddy...is that the immediate "hit and run" is a rare occurence.

    A guy will get a hard "TAP"...and then nothing. You raise your rod to feel for pressure...and there's just nothing there. (Except your bait)

    Ten minutes pass...another hard "TAP"...and the black perch on the hook is freaking plumb the hell out.

    And then FINALLY...perhaps a few minutes later...you get a short run...and the 7/0 Gamakatsu circle hook does its magic...and makes it's pivot...and it's fish on.

    Other times...those short runs tease you...you reel down...and NOTHING.

    Only after a few of them...you finally get him...and other times...you don't get jack.

    This all reminds me of fishing for a bass with a plastic worm...you get a bite...and then wait for the run before you set the hook.

    We're talking using a perfect sized lively black perch...2"-6"...with the properly sized hook...and these flatties are not dinks.

    An average flathead score on the Neosho during peak season in the spring is 10-20 lb...with the possibility of something MUCH bigger stress testing your equipment for you.

    HOWEVER...at night...a hit and run is the norm...even at the exact same spot you may have been fishing hours earlier with much different results.

    I tend to think that when our flatties are "holed" up during their resting cycle after a long night of cruising and actively feeding...they are more finicky...and will be more likely to play with their food.

    At night we'll be anchored in front of the dam...or beside a bunch of old bridge pilings and concrete tiles...or at the head or base of a riffle...and have a couple of rods apiece out with clickers on...and there is a VERY good chance that the silence will be occasionally broken with that wonderful music of the clicker screaming suddenly and loudly...awakening you from your inevitable inattentiveness during the sometimes long lulls between bites.

    These flatheads are actively searching for food and looking for trouble. MUCH more agressive than their daytime patterns prove to be.

    They also have to compete with other catfish actively cruising the buffet as well besides just the other flatheads. We routinely get a few nice blues and big channel on our perch rigs when targeting the elusive flatheads that we so love.

    Also during the night...it seems that there are "shifts" of fish that take over during the course of the night.

    What I mean is that we'll get several bites and catch several of them from dusk until 1 or 2 am...then a definate lull until 4 or 5 am...and that continues until maybe 8 or 9 am. After that...around 11 am or so...you can start trying your daytime patterns again...because the riffles are now empty.

    These have been my observations after 30 years of experience on the same body of water...and it's just a fact that our flatheads habits do change hour to hour.

    The way flatheads bite can't be covered with a blanket policy regarding how they bite...as weather conditions, seasons, bait availability, and water levels all affect the bite.

    The bottom line for success in these parts is that a guy has to be willing to adapt your technique in order to stay on the fish as they change their habits.

    And it truly is a constantly evolving affair.