Locating Blue Catfish - Marking Current Breaks

Discussion in 'MISSOURI LAKES / RESERVOIRS TALK' started by Bigmagic, May 1, 2006.

  1. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    I studied my hotspots LOZ map Saturday night and went out Sunday to mark some spots and see if they held fish. I located an old roadbed and some places that I believe are fish travel lanes. I am trying to spend at least one day a week on the water but not fishing. I did have some problems. I was using GPS data from the hotspots maps and it was difficult to get exactly on the co-ordinates that were on the map. It wasn't a big deal since the bottom did have the ditches that gave away the roadbed but I need to get better at using GPS co-ordinates.

    I also noticed that most of the large fish Blues I think were on the bottom behind rocks or stumps. The water was rising but there was no current except a strong wind. I found a few large Blues mixed in with a bunch of small ones trailing shad. To answer the question of "how did you know they were Blues" I can only say the area is one I've fished a lot. There seemed to be hundreds of small Blues in the area with an occasional large one in the mix. All of these fish were on the bottom. This would explain why my recent catches haven't been quite what I'm used to. I intend to run over the same areas today and see what a little current will do to these fish.

    I am starting this thread to help all of us learn from each other and get better at locating large trophy Blues. I will try to spend at least one day a week searching for new spots and I will post my results here. I would like everyone who may be locating new spots to do the same. Locating fish is probably the most difficult part of the equation when going after trophy fish.

    Jeff Williams has a sig that says it all "The harder I work the luckier I get"
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Great information, Ron. Learning to use the sonar is one of my main goals for this fishing season. Just having used one for a few months now, I can't imagine ever fishing without it.

    I don't have to much trouble marking fish and having a pretty good idea what they are and what the pictures on the sonar tell me.

    My problem is in figuring out how and where to set up on the fish I've marked - by the time they show up on the sonar, they're already behind the boat by "some distance" - and it always seems to be the case that I have the boat turned the wrong way such that I need to circle around again and get oriented correctly. But then I never can find the same fish again and it gets frustrating.

    Maybe that's just a matter of practicing a lot more? Or not worrying about it so much? From DH's thread on reading streams & rivers, I got the distinct impression that he marks fish and the specifically sets up on *those* fish and is confident that he's caught them. He's one heckuva fisherman, but I just wonder how precise you can be with sonar? Can you really put yourself in position to drop your bait right in front of the fish you paint on sonar?


    BTW - trying to navigate to a specific GPS coordinate is a challenge for sure - if your unit has a "go to" feature where you can have it take you right to the coordinate, that would help. There should be a display mode that shows a heading indicator with a mark on it - the mark is where you want to go and the heading indicator shows where you are going. Put one on top of the other and you'll go exactly where you're headed. (Of course, this may be a bit easier for me since I'm a pilot. But with practice, anyone can do it...)
     

  3. SeedTick

    SeedTick New Member

    Messages:
    1,414
    State:
    Conway Arkansas
    Bigmagic, I've been chomping at the bit ever since you mentioned doing this. This is going to be so helpful to us. Take plenty of pictures. Thank you sir.

    ST
     
  4. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Well I went out today and fished the areas I marked. I caught fish on all the marked areas once the current started shortly before noon. One of the mid lake humps with a large piece of structure or current break on top produced only channel cats. The largest fish I caught today came from the roadbed area. All areas produced multiple fish and bites. I didn't get any pictures today Greg but I think I can kind of answer Marty's questions.

    Marty the first thing I do is make sure I know where the wavpoint break is, I don't know about you but all my wavepoints on small breaks are easy to miss if you don't pass over them dead on the money. Once located I move up current(today current was GREAT) about 50 to 75 feet past the wavpoint and leave my motor running(the boat will continue forward while I am moving to the anchor) I throw out the anchor and back up till the rope is tight and then drop the back anchor. With practice you'll be a short cast away from the wavpoint. I watched Chris Harris do this with precision when I went with him and adapted it to my own fishing.

    This week shapes up to be a really good week of fishing. In addition to over 30 cats I caught today I managed a 7-1/2 lb Hybrid on cut shad. The largest fish I caught were around ten pounds but that will only get better with more current scheduled for tomorrow. See ya on the water!
     
  5. beeheck

    beeheck New Member

    Messages:
    631
    State:
    Iowa / Missouri
    Good stuff, keep it coming.
     
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    I guess I'm a bonehead. :embarassed:

    Here I am with this nifty GPS unit on my sonar, but for some reason, I never think to push the "mark" button when I see something interested painted on sonar...
     
  7. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    I don't know how yours is Marty but I push WPT twice and its marked. Sometimes if its a hard to get over piece of structure I'll mark it a couple of times. GPS is GREAT! See ya on the water!
     
  8. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    I am adding a crude drawing of one of the areas I was fishing today. Although I call it a hump it is actually the end of a mud flat that is no longer above water. Basically this is catfishing 101. This is not a sharp drop series of ledges it is a gradual slope that meanders down into the channel. It was stacked with fish using the ledges as a current break. Sorry for the lousy artwork. See ya on the water!
     

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  9. tbones23

    tbones23 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    State:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    this is a big help. I've used a fish finder for quite a few years but always felt I could learn more with it. I may start spending time on the water just using the finder and getting to know the tool better.
     
  10. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Located a new current break, I got bites but failed with any hookups. The current was really mobiling. I caught around 20 fish total prior to 10:30(roughly when the current turned on). The wind was blowing opposite of the current and hard and it made it tough out there today. I managed a few cats after the current got going but it was tough with the easterly wind direction. See ya on the water!
     
  11. dougc

    dougc Active Member

    Messages:
    1,710
    State:
    Independen
    It's a good deal to see and hear the pros on this website. Thanks for all the info provided.
     
  12. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    I owe it all to you Jeff, you are the man, you got me thinking differently. I now own a 20ft cast net and don't have a problem catching shad in cold weather(this morning I got a bunch on nice ones). Your attention to detail i and good work ethic is what makes you successful. I will always give you a five star rating. Don't forget to sneak back here and teach me about them Truman Hybrids!

    What are you guiding out of? I saw a bunch of what looked like Brand New Carolina Skiffs going down the river the last two days one after another.

    Jeff are you fishing the USCATS tourney this weekend Jeff? My wife is nixing me because of my granddaughters birthday party. I hope I'll see ya at one of the other tourneys. I really wanted to fish the tourney and I still may if I can avoid a divorce. Jeff before you head back to Oklahoma make sure to give me a couple of good hump locations. You ever fish those humps down by Duncans Point(Brown Bend)? I'm going to have to get your home number and talk your ear off one of these nights about LOZ and Truman. I hope I see you on the river before you get out of here. If you see my Green Monster on your way stop and say hi!
     
  13. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Jeff one DVD is bootable in your DVD player and the other one is the footage straight from the camera. If you need any help with the edit or making it small enough for your web page let me know. I love that philosophy of learning a new spot before returning to the old one.

    I have kind of pounded my favorite spot to death(you know where) and am just now getting serious about new ones. I have fished Brown Bend quite a bit over the last three years with mixed results. I am better with my electronics after fishing with you and talking with you as well as being more confidant in what I do. I love catching Blue cats and watching others catch them. Once its in your blood your hooked and I'm hooked!

    If you fish the tourney this weekend good luck Jeff I wish I were there. If I can't fish it I am thinking about trying the Ken Freeman tourney in Columbia later this month(I think).

    I have had mixed results with my experiment with alternative baits. I used perch some and got bombarded by Channel cats. I used Drum and the results were so so.

    Good luck all. See ya on the water!
     
  14. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Well the fishing was fantastic today! I lost count after 40 fish and I stayed out all day which I never do. I fished three new areas(taking Jeff's advice)and was thankful I did after the episode with the tournament anglers.(they ain't getting my #1 spot). Both spots were current breaks and with the current ripping about any break is going to produce a lot of fish. The bite was so good that I could tell if my bait got off because if the rod would sit over a minute without a bite I reeled it in and sure enough the bait was gone. I ran out of bait in the afternoon and had to go get some more but boy was it fun. Get down here and fish LOZ before the current stops! See ya on the water!
     
  15. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Ron, be very careful about leaving your outboard in gear so that it's running upstream while you drop your anchor, especially if you are in a heavy current. It's very easy to run over your anchor rope while you're getting back to the throttle. I've seen one boat capsize from running over the anchor rope, and at least one person on the BOC has run over theirs. That anchor rope will wind around your prop and kill your engine faster than you can even think about it. Then you're anchored by your motor with water coming over your transom. The boat I watched took about 5 seconds to fill with water and flip over. If the two guys in the boat hadn't been wearing their life vests, they would almost certainly have drowned.
     
  16. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Good advice Jerry! I should have noted that I put it in reverse before heading to the front of the boat. I actually read an article years ago about just what you mention. I think it happened in Oklahoma below one of the dams. I guess thats why the Corps of Engineers won't let boats go in the water imediately below Truman.
     
  17. spoonfish

    spoonfish New Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    State:
    Warsaw, Mo.
    Good to see you on here Jeff!
    Great info Ron. Off to work, plan to read more of this later.
    Good luck on the water guys.....
    See you at the Gathering in 2 weeks...
     
  18. SeedTick

    SeedTick New Member

    Messages:
    1,414
    State:
    Conway Arkansas
    Hey Bigmagic, Top carried me fishing Wednesday and I finally got in more than 3 feet of water with my new depth finder. I took some pictures to put on here and let ya'll interpret them. I hope I get time to do it tomorrow. I'm sure enjoying this thread.

    ST
     
  19. Bigmagic

    Bigmagic New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Edwards Missouri
    Well if you saw the fish we caught today on LOZ you know that even though we had no current and no wind and were unable to drift and miserable weather we caught some of the largest fish of the year. As many of you know I have experimented with baits and concluded that the larger fish are attracted to larger bait than our shad. Its not that they won't hit shad they will but if we want to entice them with more regularity something else might work better.

    Around a year and a half ago I lost the largest Blue I've ever seen in person on a strip of cut carp. Well guess what bait we were using today to catch these large fish! No not Carp.....Buffalo! We were searching for shad and found a large injured Buffalo in the back of a creek. We caught him cut him up and used him for bait and the first fish that hit was the 55lber followed closely by a 25lber. No we didn't catch a large number of fish(though we did have a lot of bites) we were trophy fishing at one of my best spots. It was going to be my prime spot for the tourney had I entered.

    The area that I'm speaking of I found this spring while motoring over an area I had caught some large Blues in. I marked it on my GPS and this is only the third trip of the season to this spot. The other time we caught a number of large fish I posted pictures of in another thread. I have no idea how much weight won the USCATS touney but I think we could have been in the hunt.
    See ya on the water!
     
  20. Catfish Pursuit

    Catfish Pursuit New Member

    Messages:
    1,081
    State:
    Missouri
    I agree with ya on the large bait theory. My favorite is a whole 10 inch or larger shad or a eating size bluegill. I think the main reason is that the bigger fish will eat the larger bait and be satisfied without having to use a lot of effort to chase a bunch of smaller baits. Plus the smaller cats wont bother it as much allowing the bigger fish to find it. What size hooks were ya using? Chris