Locating catfish in rivers (Big Black River)

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by JHow, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. JHow

    JHow New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    South East
    Hey guys! This is my second post on this site, but I've already learned a ton!
    if you read my other thread in the "fishfinder" section, you'll learn a little more about me.

    I love all kinds of fishing, and I do all of it from my kayak. I've kayaked down about 17 miles of the Big Black River twice last summer. I've heard stories of huge catfish there, and after the first trial run, I went back with a friend. we were armed with.... walmart bait. I saw the Berkley gulp livers, and had to get them. I also bought some other stuff that looked good. we didn't get a SINGLE bite all day.

    you can skip the next part if you want- not fishing related

    I'm going back the second week of May to do a (minimum) 3 day 2 night kayak trip further down the river

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=...051,-90.409756&spn=0.066034,0.107803&t=h&om=1

    We'll be putting in probably at Highway 49. Follow the river down a long arse way (ok so we might be 4 or 5 days), and you will see our destination just upstream of I-20. We will be visiting a the local Conservation office to get good maps and a better Idea of how long it will take.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=...542,-90.519447&spn=0.264415,0.431213&t=h&om=1
    another map showing roughly beg. and end.

    ok now fishing stuff resumes.

    On our next visit, I would love to catch some big cats, for the fun of it, and to supplement our rations. I've already learned that my bait was probably not a smart move. so I'm plannin on bringing cured liver, frozen bream (cutpieces and head from a fish fry) and catching bait as I travel.

    The river is not particularly fast flowing, and I'm not sure how deep it can get. There is a TON of log jams and wood structure scattered around the river. In some places, I had to sorta "ramp" logs to continue down river.
    Its very twisty (check out the link) with high walls and there are sand bars scattered around.

    My questions are:
    With all of the structure, how do i pick out the most likely spots (theres tons of structure)?

    How do i read the river to pick out the "deep holes" everyone talks about?

    What other places in the river should I fish?



    I also might try to set a trotline one night just for the fun of it (and for breakfast). Where would be a good place for it?

    oh and I'm targeting any species of cat over 2lbs!
    THANKS A TON!
     
  2. JHow

    JHow New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    South East
    sorry for the rambling in the above post. I'll get to the point.

    The river is not particularly fast flowing, and I'm not sure how deep it can get. There is a TON of log jams and wood structure scattered around the river. In some places, I had to sorta "ramp" logs to continue down river.
    Its very twisty (check out the link) with high walls and there are sand bars scattered around.

    My questions are:
    *With all of the structure, how do i pick out the most likely spots (there's tons of structure)?
    *How do i read the river to pick out the "deep holes" everyone talks about?
    *What other places in the river should I fish?

     

  3. tspergin

    tspergin New Member

    Messages:
    867
    State:
    newark ohio
    try the logjams on the outside bends and fish the top of the scour holes below riffles and any dams you might pass,fish shallow at night for flatheads around wood and undercut banks.,hope this helps you out
     
  4. rebelzgrl76

    rebelzgrl76 New Member

    Messages:
    1,359
    State:
    CO
    welcome to the BOC, Wonderful to have you and I am glad that you are learning. Theres alot of men and women (yes we grls know a thing or two as well) that have alot of knowledge about fishing.

    So Glad To Have You!:smile2:
     
  5. P. nasuta

    P. nasuta New Member

    Messages:
    46
    State:
    Louisiana
    Hi There,

    I do most of my fishing in a good size river from the bank. My best spots are the outside edge of bends, my experience is that they are generally deeper than the areas above and below the bends. It is also important to have a good food source near the deeper water. My favorite spot has some stumps along the bank and a mudflat directly above the bend that alway has a lot of shad on it. The stumps along the bank always have plenty of sunfish and crappie a round them. So, a good food source is very close to the area the big cats live. It took a lot of trial and error fishing to determine that this is my favorite spot. I alway try to look for three situations when looking for new spots: 1) deep water near the bank, 2) structure in the deep water as well as a long the bank, and 3) an abundant food source. These will usually put you on fish.

    Good Luck,
    P. nasuta
     
  6. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    They sell a portable fish finder that I have seen people use in the small inflatable tubes that people fish from. This would help you find the deeper holes and check for fish at the same time. You might want to also get a small casting net for bait.:roll_eyes:
     
  7. JHow

    JHow New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    South East
    Hey Guys, Thanks for the replies! I marked a few spots in the river I plan to fish and was wondering if anyone could help me out. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=U...d=100922538890438978855.000001125055f10d7b345

    From just looking at the ariel map, which spots would you fish first and why? Is Loc 1 better than Loc 2? Loc 5 better than Loc 3? Why?

    I know it will also depend on the depth and structure, but I'm trying to learn how to read the river better and get everything I can out of just looking at the river.

    Thanks in advance.
    - John
     
  8. cubedweller

    cubedweller New Member

    Messages:
    454
    State:
    MO
    On rivers, the pattern is: Riffle => Hole => Run (repeat)

    This is all relative, though. On a small creek, the R-H-R sequence may be very pronounced... The riffles may only be 20 yards long and a few inches deep. The holes may be 10 yards long and 5 feet deep. The run may extend from the the end of the hole and steeply rise to meet the next riffle only 10 yards away.

    The pattern exists for a simple reason: Current will wash away any substrate that is not deep enough to be out of the current, or hard enough to resist the current. The riffle exists because it is usually rockier (or denser mud) and more resistant to current. The hole exists because it is made of softer substrate that is scoured by the current. The run up to the next riffle exists because scoured materials are being deposited by the current as it slows down (and then speeds back up as it meets the riffle).

    On a large river, the pattern may be more difficult to see. A riffle may be 5-10 feet deep. A hole may be 100' wide and 90' deep and 200' long. A run may actually just be a flat that extends 1000 yards to the next riffle.

    So, where's the good place to fish? Look for structure at the end of a hole. Structure in the middle of a hole may contain fish, but only for current break. The structure at the end of a hole should contain fish who are looking for a meal. But any kind of structure that provides a relief from the current as it flows past is a good place to run your bait.

    Then again, take this with a grain of salt. I've been skunked more times than not...so I'm probably wrong on this. Good luck!
     
  9. JHow

    JHow New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    South East
    I'm leavin for my trip in the morning, heres a better map if anyone's interested. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&...551444,-90.380402&spn=0.528423,0.862427&z=11I feel underprepared, and I'll have to catch all of my live bait on the river. I went fishing for a long time today, but I only caught two bream under six inches. Most people would consider that a good thing! I'll take a camera and take some pictures if I get any thing. maybe I can put to use everything that I've learned
     
  10. bnorth

    bnorth New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Indiana
    I dunno if this will help you or not but I'll give 'er a shot, all the outside bends you marked on the map have potential, when you get to each one of them, check them for cover. The outside bends should be the deeper than the inside: centrifugal force slingshots water around the bend and picks up loose substrate with it as it speeds up, it will also undercut the bank on that side.

    Don't discount those bream you catch that are over 6'', I caught a flathead just the other night that I could have stuck my foot in his mouth, 6'' blugill would have been like popping M&M's for a snack. Big fish eat big bait.

    Fish the downstream side of cover. As current breaks past the cover it will create a seam of moving water colliding with still water behind the cover. Fish that seam. Fish will wait in still water along the seam and let the current bring food to them. The same concept is used when fishing for smallmouth bass in rivers and streams.

    Flatheads like live or very, very fresh cut bait.
    Channels and Blues will take live or cut bait.

    IMO I prefer using cut fish heads over cut anything else. Catfish eat their food head first so as to avoid the spines on the fins going down the wrong direction, so it makes sense to me to present the part they are going to swallow first (no head, no meal?).

    Anyway, have a fun, safe trip. Happy fishing.
     
  11. JHow

    JHow New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    South East
    Well, I just got back and it was quite an experience. One night I set the trotline across the mouth of a creek and through a deep hole on the bank. I tried to bring some live bream with me, but that didn't work out. We ended up having to use frozen cut bream and cured livers for bait. We set it around 9:30 and fell asleep. When we checked it, we had one ten pound flathead, one straightened hook, one broken high quality hook, and a BROKEN main line. I'll have pics shortly.
     
  12. JMarrs328

    JMarrs328 New Member

    Messages:
    471
    State:
    York/Harrisburg, PA
    sounds like u found the right spot to fish!!!
     
  13. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,694
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    i would go back there with my rod and fish that area with live bream.use some 30 or 40 lb.test line should have a ball.
     
  14. JHow

    JHow New Member

    Messages:
    28
    State:
    South East
    I learned my lesson. I used a cheap majic bait kit from walmart, and now I'll go make my own. The hook that was broken was a very thick, high quality chrome circle hook. The one that was straightened was from the kit. I'm planning on going back with a much stronger setup and live bait. What in the heck breaks a hook? thats a first for me.

    here's the flattie that I pulled off the salvaged trotline. How much do you think it weighed?
    [​IMG]

    I skinned it, and while my friend was cooking it, I used the flathead's liver to catch this
    [​IMG]

    oh and here is a few pic of the river, some times the cover was so dense, I couldn't get through without scraping against something.

    [​IMG]

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