Methods of Fishing for Wels Catfish?

Discussion in 'Wels Catfishing' started by CatBusster, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    I started this thread to enlighten you on some of my methods for catching the Wels catfish.

    Many methods you will have probably used or seen, however, I will get Tim to include photos and pictures just incase they are new to you.

    I will start off with the pebble rig tomorrow, I hope you enjoy.
     
  2. Dennis69498

    Dennis69498 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    State:
    Spain
    I look forward to seeing the rigs you use as this is my main quarry in the River Ebro Spain.
    Dennis69498
     

  3. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    CB did you get the line I sent you?
     
  4. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    Yes Jim, Many thanks for the braid, your a star for putting this under my nose.

    I have used it to tie the hairs on the hooks and can be seen on the pictures of the pebble rig posted to help illustrate the rigs mechanics.

    I have not had chance to use i yet, but on my return will give it a go and give you some feedback.

    So here goes the pebble rig, I hope you find the content both interesting and thought provoking, maybe dennis you will be changing tactics for this years wels fishing after reading this and looking at the pics.

    It ultimatley forms part of my brochure on catfish care and safe return and will of course be available FOC on the BOC.

    The Pebble Rig
    (AKA Hot Rocks)

    [​IMG]

    The pebble rig was born from a number of theories I had about the relationship between hook holds and free lead weight movements.

    No rig can really guarantee the same hook hold for a given number of times in exactly the same part of the mouth.

    Hook holds are the single most important part of my fishing as without a good one there is little chance of landing 200lb specimen fish.

    The areas that I typically fish require a minimum of a 1lb lead weight to hold bottom in the main flow of the river.

    These lead weights were previously presented on flooded mud flats and sometimes would penetrate the surface crust of the silt and mud, hook-link and hook bait thus being buried for the duration of many a fishing session.

    Hook links were lengthened initially but when hooking any size of catfish I was conscious that I only had a direct line to the 1lb lead and not the hook hold.

    When fishing with these heavy lead weights I had little control and direction over the fish as the lead weight would most often dictate and take the fight out of the fish for me.

    The 1lb weight bounced from side to side as the catfish availed my attempt to near them to the margin for gloving, often leading the fishes head towards the river bed and more often than not resulted in small tears and double hook holds in addition to hooks popping out as the fish was nearing sight.

    The results from bad hook holds were most apparent when unhooking and repairing such damage and re-thinking my rig mechanics became a number one priority.

    I have always loved the idea and fished many a time with the free lined live and static bottom bait method. The only disadvantage of this is that you are limited as to the distance fished from the bank although bite indication does not pose too many a problem.

    The weight is a very important factor not only to hold bottom but to aid in hook penetration when the hair rigged bait is sucked in and spat out.

    I had used breakaway rocks tied to weak-links initially, but under moonlight and many a spotlight I longed for a permanent weight retainer to speed baiting up and setting rods to features.

    In my childhood I had played with many an elastic band and one fishing session saw the rubber band and a clip swivel in unison to form a free running retainer of large round pebbles.

    [​IMG]


    My initial trials saw me landing fish in addition to a 5lb pebble which not surprisingly enough is very hard to play on its own at 200 yards let alone with a Wels catfish on the end.

    Having experimented with several band types and numbers with different weights and shape of pebble I started to land every fish that took the hook bait.

    My increase and overall catch rate is made up of many factors including lady luck but are mainly attributed to the mechanics of my rigs.

    I noticed that the energy produced when the clipped band ejected the pebble was enough to hook the fish, leaving the pebble in place and the rod bent flat with a direct line to the hook hold as opposed to any awkward play from any weight.

    Over time, many pebbles were deposited in a few selected areas covering some 10km of river. These pebbles in turn formed bars and mounds on otherwise baron mud flats and were soon home to families of crayfish and regularly patrolled by the carp.

    When baited these areas would become a hive of activity, the types of noise, signals and movement given off was such that no catfish would resist investigation.

    [​IMG]


    Pebbles can be fished fixed or free running even though eventually they are ejected from the bands. I found using fixed pebbles in certain areas required longer hook lengths due to depth of soft mud and silt.

    When fishing with short hook links on hard bottom the takes would be the fiercest, with the rod initially being very hard to lift from the rest due to the amount of force applied by the fast running fish freshly hooked.

    When fishing longer hook links nearing 1 metre in length I found typically the rod nodding away as the cat carried on feeding, moving its head from side to side oblivious of being hooked and intent on scoffing the entire free pellet that baited the trap.

    Hook bait presentation is also very important as this is the difference between landing and pulling out of a fish half way to the bank. When using pellet I always tie a hair using 30lb .33mm braid to the back of the shank of the hook and present my baits on this so they are free from the hook.

    [​IMG]


    The length of my hair usually is long enough to accommodate eight 28mm drilled hook baits and looped with an over hand knot at the free end. It is important that the hook baits do not come into contact with the bend of the hook when manoeuvred as this will mask its point and result in missed takes.

    The hair is baited then doubled round and placed over the bend of the hook with a few securing turns to form a loop or ring of pellet that sits free from the bend of the hook.

    I tend to use a knot know to me as a no knot hook knot, this is not to be confused with the knotless knot and associated hair positioning problems. My hair knot sits under the no knot hook knot which is whipped to the shank of the hook and then passed through the back of the eye in order for the hook to turn and set properly.

    The hook link is tied to a swivel with a Palomar knot, the clip swivel is either attached to form a fixed weight rig or a bead is placed on the mainline braid allowing the clip to free run.


    [​IMG]



    I have found that large flat smooth pebbles are best as its surface area tends less to penetrate any silt or mud crust, heavy round ones like hot potatoes are the worst for getting buried.

    When banding the pebble it must be done with several twists to allow the band to roll the pebble from its grasp. I have found rubber bands to be an ideal retainer due to flexibility. Bands of Velcro and bicycle tyre inner tubes are poor substitutes and often more expensive.

    [​IMG]


    In conclusion I will continue experimenting with this rig, however it is at a stage where it works perfectly well and as the saying goes don’t fix what is not broke.

    This rig can be used in all sorts of situations from the boat or from the bank; I have presented live baits anchored to the river bed as well as the favoured meal of pellet and even used this rig on a scaled down version for my carp fishing as these pebbles in a smaller size are very castable.

    In addition to its rig mechanics the pebbles are capable of absorbing small volumes of flavour and oil, ideal for fish attraction. I have several tubs of casting pebbles permanently in soak and to an extent in certain situations are more beneficial for fish attraction than a food source due to time release.

    I would welcome any comments, both positive and negative and hope that you may be able to use and improve upon my success with this method.

    Tightest Lines to You

    Stephen

    If you are wondering why we also call it the hot rock rig, as you know the hot sun plays tricks on the brain in spain, if you do not keep your pebbles in the shade the heat retained plays havoc with soft hands when banding! lol
     
  5. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    Messages:
    488
    State:
    central illinois
    Very interesting and unique(to me) methods for catching huge cats!! Is this a common rig for the wells or is this something you have come up with yourself ?
     
  6. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    Its a brand new rig developed by myself early last year,:) all the other guides still use lead on the ebro:sad:

    I like to be different as it gives me the edge on the other fishermen, not just rig wise but with baiting up etc.

    I hope other guides take up this method as it results in less mouth damage and is more environmentally friendly.
     
  7. Catfishhunter

    Catfishhunter New Member

    Messages:
    332
    State:
    Lanesville, In.
    Catbusster, How do you place your baits? Do you use a boat? I would think your rock would come off If you casted it.
     
  8. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    yeas these 5lb pebbles are rowed out and placed, the casting pebbles range from 3 - 5oz.

    I must admit I am quite proud of this rig and hope it brings you as much success as it has done for me.
     
  9. moe

    moe New Member

    Messages:
    22
    State:
    nc
    Hi Steven I'm new to this board hope you will forgive my ignorance of how it works. I've seen photos of large wels cats and I think they would be a lota fun to catch. What are the pellets you use for bait and where do you get them? We use up to 14 oz. teardrop sinkers on the James River in VA in heavy current on a carolina rig set up for huge blue cats. Are you familiar with that kind of rig? We also use 8/0 circle hooks that give a good corner of the mouth hook up. The fish are tough there and hook holds well. You lose very few fish with circle hooks and it don't gut hook them. The wels looks like our flathead catfish and they have a real hard mouth in the center but soft and tough in the coner. That make the circle hook perfect. I appreciate any advise, thanks.

    Dennis (moe)
     
  10. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Awesome looking setup. Where do you guys get those hooks.And what size are they?
     
  11. moe

    moe New Member

    Messages:
    22
    State:
    nc
    Do you guys have a size or length limit and creel limit on these huge catfish?

    Dennis(moe)
     
  12. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    we get our hooks from Japan, I have a better pic of them in my member gallery.

    you can legally take catfish of upto 2 metres in length moe!
     
  13. brandon

    brandon New Member

    Messages:
    58
    State:
    oklahoma
    What is used for bait to catch Wels. How is the bite.
     
  14. moe

    moe New Member

    Messages:
    22
    State:
    nc
    I still haven't seen a reply to what the round pellet bait is? If it's a secret I'll understand.

    moe
     
  15. CoonX

    CoonX Member

    Messages:
    737
    State:
    Oklahoma City O
    Moe, those pellets are Halibut Pellets. Unfortunetly, as far as I know, they can't be imported to the states due to the mad cow scare.
    Will
     
  16. moe

    moe New Member

    Messages:
    22
    State:
    nc
    Thanks CoonX 'peciate the infomation.

    moe
     
  17. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    No moe Im not familiar with the carolina rig, if you have time post and let me in on it.

    The rigs I tend to use are fro static bottom baits, I prefer free running rigs as watching the tips whack over is breathtaking specially when the rod almost bends flat backwards as you struggle to get the butt out the rest. The takes range depending on length of hooklink and type of bottom your fishing on, the running rigs are wicked to see as the clutch is set relatively loose. When i say clutch i mean your thumb (cant rely on no machine!)

    I think your right about the flats being not to disimilar from the wels but have never used circle hooks as I like the wide gape short shank jobs but may give them a try because the wels suck and blow bottom baits almost like a carp does.

    The pellet is not a secret its like a hard fish buscuit barrel shaped and drilled, I think because of the quantity used as feed it has become a good bait and the wels where i fish recognise it now as a food source.

    simcat if you want a packet of hooks to try pm me your address and i will pop a pack in the post (same goes to any other member)

    hope this helps moe and sorry for such a late reply
     
  18. gettin'fatter

    gettin'fatter New Member

    Messages:
    15
    State:
    Virginia
    Those things are just craaazy
     
  19. catman in spain

    catman in spain New Member

    Messages:
    4
    State:
    tarragona
    i have been using this rig since i was a kid for sea fishing. and catfishing ,its not a new invention i am sorry to knock you off your peddle-stool. to start with we did use spark plug for the snags when dog fishing and thiis rig was then adopted for me and my mates when we were kids. yep little brats on the rivers fishing in amongst the stoney areas and the most snaggys swims.
     
  20. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    You must mean breakaway style using low breaking strain mono for the spark plug rig and not elastic bands and pebbles Gary, no wonder you used the spark plug trick as its an old one just like the bike chain rig.

    I spoke with some of your clients, they say you use lead?

    Now you have rediscovered the pebble rig here on this website, and welcome by the way, I hope you use it in either the way you know best or as I have found it and catch lots of catfish this year.

    :)