Lake Norman Flatheads

Discussion in 'NORTH CAROLINA LAKES / RESERVOIRS' started by Mac-b, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,253
    State:
    North Caro
    I went to the weigh in for the NCCATS tournament this AM and it verified a trend that I have been seeing all year. This year I have caught more than my share of flatheads and I do not target them as such. Karl Emerson, Vice President of the Carolina Catfish Club, was chatting with me while we were waiting for the tournament fishermen to come in and he was telling me about all the flatheads that he has been catching. Of the twelve teams fishing the NCCATS tournament, I only saw maybe two Ark. Blues weighed in and the rest were flatheads. Now this was a two fish tournament due to the new Ark. Blue reg's for LKN and maybe the flatheads were bigger than the blues they caught, but most said that it was a flathead night. The largest fish in the tournament was a 31.10 pound flathead. There was one larger, but it was disqualified because it's gills were no longer moving, it also was a flathead.

    Karl and myself slow troll for catfish using side planer boards with live or cut bait on them. He runs as many as six boards and I run two to four at a time, plus my rear lines. We both agreed that you can fish almost any place South of the Hwy 150 (River Bridge) and find flatheads during the summer months and in the winter you can go North of the bridge and be successful.

    I have always favored smaller baits for catfishing, but I have gone to 6 to 9" live baits on the side planer boards which has generated more strikes from flatheads. I am also hooking the perch thru the eyes with a no. 8/0 circle hook. The white perch (alive or the head and gut section) have produced more numbers for me, and Karl is using large bream and white perch with great success.

    For several years, my production on guide trips has consisted mostly of Ark. Blues and Channel cats, with an occassional flathead in the 15 to 49.8 pound range. Now, this year, when I do a trip, I'm disappointed if we don't tag a 15 to 25 pounded each time out. My fishing style is fishing open waters, running across dropoffs, deep and shallow points, flats, natural holes, junctions of creeks or coves with the main channel, plus working outside of shoals, docks and other man made structures.

    Also, it is becoming common place to catch a flathead in the 4 to 15 pound range or larger jigging for white perch. Garrett Goodson pulled up a 58 pounder several years ago jigging a spoon during a catfish tournament. If you'll have read my post this year, you would have noticed that I have been mentioning this all along.

    Capt. Gus, my friend Cliff and others have informed me all year of their flathead catches, which they don't target but catch on a regular basis fishing for perch or drifting in the vicinity of white perch. Thus, it appears that the white perch, which I and others have blamed for destroying the white bass and racoon perch population has contributed to the population growth of the flathead on LKN. So, on LKN, I guess we can thank the white perch for this situation.

    The neat thing about flatheads on LKN is that you can almost predict where you are going to catch a flathead at. I have done this on several occassions with mifit98 (Mac Mc) last year and with him again this week with one of his bassin buddies, plus others like turfman and other clients.

    Now I'm not talking about night time fishing for flatheads, but morning fishing. Full sun or cloud cover, it does not appear to have an affect on the flathead bite. If you have a white perch or bream/gill out there on a planer board, soon or later it will cross the kill zone of a flathead. I would suggest that you release it right where you caught it and you can return over and over again within a 500 to 1000' radius and catch it again.

    You don't have to use planer boards, you can use slip floats or just plain floats and get a flathead bite as long as you are moving your baits over areas that they patrol. If you have never experience the fight of a flathead at the boat, there is a treat in store for you when it happens.

    If any one needs any information on planer boards or bait prepartation and presentation, you can go to the top of the forum 'Catfish Publication' and scroll down to 'Mac Byrum's Catfish University' and find what you need to know to get started with this technique.
     
  2. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    very nice. nothing better than a spread of nice fish pics. keep em coming mac.:wink:
     

  3. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Thanks for this valuable information and good luck in the future
     
  4. supra06

    supra06 New Member

    Messages:
    50
    State:
    North Carolina
    Do the LKN fishers believe there is a good balance of cats as well as other species?
     
  5. willcat

    willcat New Member

    Messages:
    2,463
    State:
    texas
    great info Mac, thanks i willread up on that palner board thing too
     
  6. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,253
    State:
    North Caro
    Brian, according to the NC DNR people we do. But, to us fishermen/women we are not sure. The reason we are not sure is that LKN is so big, 520 miles of shoreline and over 35,000 acres and none of us fish the whole lake in a years time. If we have a problem, it would be our natural bait, such as threadfins shad. They have a die off every winter when the water temp. gets to 41 degrees, but we have the blue backs, white perch, bream/gills, small carp and river mussells that do not die off.

    The bass clubs and the FLW and BASS are pleased with out current bass population. The stripers clubs are not pleased with the striper population and the size of the current crop. Crappie fishermen/women that know how to fish for crappie are more than pleased with their crop or crappie, due in part to a fairly new reg's controlling the size and number of crappie that you can keep. That leaves the catfish population of which I fish for several times a week. The catches of large cats (those over 20 pounds) has lessen in the past several years as it relates to the Ark. Blue cat. But has impoved as it relates to the flathead. Also, we have noticed an up trend in the number of Ark. Blues that we are catching on a dailey basis in the five to nine pound range. It is a known fact that some of our larger Ark. Blues have been relocated to other places on a yearly basis for more than five years and this might explain the shortage of large blues and the increase in the five to nine pound blues. This is only my opinion and I'm just a fisherman, so who knows what is the real cause and effect of what is taking place as it relates to the shortage of our big Ark. Blues. Let's not leave out the Channel cat, we have more than an ample supply of small channel cats and a big one on LKN is somewhere around 8 to 9 pounds and they are rare. Why don't they get larger I do not know, unless the flatheads are dinning on them or there is too much competition for the same food source from other species. Last but not least is our White Catfish population, which I feel is small, due to the fact that we only catch several per year.

    I hope I covered what you wanted to know. Mac
     
  7. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk New Member

    Messages:
    1,015
    State:
    NC
    Thats some good info Mack. The more we can spread the education of catfish the better.
     
  8. supra06

    supra06 New Member

    Messages:
    50
    State:
    North Carolina
    ye, thanks Mac. That's some good info. I was kinda wondering if we should keep every eatin sized flathead for the table. It sounds like they might be putting a little pressure on other species. And have you guys caught a flathead w/ cloudy eyes, what's the reason for that? : hot water, bacteria, or is it natural?
     
  9. rob128146

    rob128146 New Member

    Messages:
    299
    State:
    Rockwell, North Carolina
    Thanks for the info Mac and by the way was it cold?????:smile2::smile2: Looks like you dressed for winter!!!!:smile2::smile2::eek:oooh:
     
  10. Bryan8552

    Bryan8552 New Member

    Messages:
    422
    State:
    nc
    Yeah, that's an unusal looking foto, you don't see many folks holding a flathead in the dead of winter.
     
  11. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,253
    State:
    North Caro
    I eat Ark. Blues and Flatheads, below ten pounds on a regular basis. I see nothing wrong with eating fish that you catch under a certain size.

    I have not noticed any flatheads with cloudy eyes, could be a lot of things that could create this problem, not necessarly hot water or bacteria, which could. Fish, animals and humans all have cataracts or other eye diseases and this might be the case.
     
  12. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,253
    State:
    North Caro
    Bryan, large flatheads are caught all year round on LKN. You just need to know where they are and how to fish them.
     
  13. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    They are in the water most of the time:big_smile: