Original posted by Jackie Johnson(Abilene) on September 16, 2004Structure For Catfish
Often but not always the structure will be on the bottom. I believe the bigger the fish, the more it will relate to structure and the deeper it will prefer the structure to be.
It's all about location, location, location... and location is about structure. Catfish like cover, if they can't get in it or under it, they will crowd up beside it. They like to be in the shadow side of rocks and ledges. They want to see the little fishies before the little fishies see them. They will suspend beside ledges though I never thought they would do it vertically.
When we used to grabble for cats in the Brazos we felt up under rocks and undercut banks. Holes on the bottom are good also. In smaller rivers such as the Brazos, at least in this area, you can walk around in it because it's mostly four or five foot deep except for the holes. The bigger fish prefer the holes, thought at times you may find one almost anywhere. Holes are to be found below riffles and on the outside of bends. That's where the ledges will most likely be. The bigger the fish, the deeper he likes it but only if it is close to the shallows, as in the case of river bends. The washed outside of the bend is very close to the shallow inside of the bend. Some of us believe the biggest cats of all prefer to not move much at all, and when they do, they generally don't move far. If it can sit it's self up in a corner of the cafeteria, where the food is, that's where it will stay. It's pretty much the same pattern in a lake with a few exceptions. When blues gets to the size that scavaging the shallows don't quite get it, they move to the deeper, open water and follow and feed on schools of shad. If the shad run up into the shallows, the blues will be right behind them and they will even herd them into the shallows themselves. They suspend in the open water and at different depths, mostly on ledges and channel bends.
If we fish from the bank on a lake, most of the time we must depend on the movement of fish to bring them close enough for us to have a chance to catch some. If there is a point, they will follow it from the deeper water to more shallow water looking for the little fishies. If there is a riverbed that runs into the lake, they will follow it into the shallows. Of course once the cats are actively feeding in the shallows, structure is less important to them than it is for the little fishies who do not wish to be eaten. However, if there is cover in the shallows, a cat could very well spend some time there.
One of my favorite places for big flats on the lake is where the channel runs parellel to the bank. We can cast to the channel which is only a four foot drop in 35 foot of water and let our little fishies on our circle hooks wait for a flat. Once in a great while, we may get lucky.
There are no points here but there is a old construction road that was cut through the rock ledge we fish from when they were building the lake in 1928. The mule drawn wagons and a few trucks hauled rock from the lake bed to build the dam with, which is nearby. Some blue and channels use this roadbed to move to the shallows and sometimes they spend some time in the bed it's self. Some of the best fish attracting cover are docks that reach out over or even better, float on top of the water. Especially if they are close to deeper water with a channel or some kind of structure. Depth and cover are both important, especially close to shallow coves and inlets.