Mississippi River Question

Discussion in 'MISSOURI RIVERS TALK' started by DJH1, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. DJH1

    DJH1 New Member

    Messages:
    184
    State:
    Missouri
    I've been catfishing all of my life, but just got into fishing the river last year when I bought a boat. I fish the Mississippi River from New Madrid and had some decent trips last year. My biggest problem is catching fish with any size to 'em. I think the biggest fish I caught all year was 10lb flathead, and I caught TONS of fish from 2-9 lbs. I was just wondering if anyone could give me some tips on targeting big fish (15 lbs and up).

    I mostly fish the downstream sides of dikes, rip rap banks, and eddies. The bait I used most of the time was cut herring, all bought at the local bait shop because I really have no experience catching them. Should I be using big chunks, small chunks, other baits? Whole shad? Whole bluegill?

    I've been using cheap 808 spincasting combos w/med-heavy action rods and 20lb test line b/c thats what I'm used to. This year I'll be switching to a baitcaster with a little better rod, probably a berkely big game or catmaxx. Any suggestions on line size or test? Mono or braid?

    Also wondering about rigging hooks and sinkers. been using a pretty basic slip sinker over a snap swivel with a length of line under the swivel with a J-style hook. I have no experience with circle hooks, but should I be using them? Should I be using a different rigging with the sinker? What size and shape sinker for average MS river current?

    I tight line fish exclusively because thats all Ive ever done on the river. Should I be using a "bait clicker"? I literally have no idea how this is done.

    Lastly, and probably most importantly, if there is anyone that fishes the river at New Madrid that needs a partner to go sometime, just let me know. I by no means want to know anybody's honey hole, just need some guidance on how to go after these big fish. I am a responsible adult who is eager to learn and will help out any way I can.

    I know this is a lot of info, sorry to go on for so long. But if anyone could help me at all, I would sure appreciate it.

    Thanks

    Joey
     
  2. TEAM CATTER

    TEAM CATTER New Member

    Messages:
    210
    State:
    COLUMBIA,IL
    cats move throughout the year into deep holes,flats, behind wingdams ect... don't just one thing. use your fishfinder to locate them and baitfish.bait fsh are a big factor in catching big cats. you would go to a Mc Donald and sit to eat if thrers no food would you.
     

  3. RIVER-RAT

    RIVER-RAT New Member

    Messages:
    3,128
    State:
    MO / MT
    Well DJH1, about 2 years ago I was in the "same boat" so to speak. I could go out and catch all kind of those little farts but since I don't keep any to eat, I became more interested in targeting the large fish. I use to fish the Missouri River exclusively because I lived 10 minutes from it, then late '06 I moved and got closer to the Mississippi and began fishing it.

    I experimented with both spinning reels and bait casters and ultimately went with the baitcasters instead of the spinning. I just like them better, more compact then the great big spinners but I still tend to use a spinner every now and then. I think that just depends on personal preference.

    I too used the J-style hooks and then met a fella on the river that shared with me some of the most valuable information I've recieved to date. He actually came out with me and showed me what to look for and what kind of rig to use. I now use a 8/0 - 9/0 Gamakatsu circle hook. Keep your line tight, which you stated you already do, and most of the time the fish will actually hook itself on the circle. When you see your rod a buckin' in the holder, grap it and start reeling! That was a major improvement to my percentage of fish in the boat!

    As for line, I strictly use PowerPro braided line. Most of the time I go with 80 pound test. Look on ebay, you can get great deals on powerpro on there. That's the only place I purchase it from. If you're wanting to hook a big daddy blue, you're going to want a strong durable fishing line to fight that fish with! Trust me on this one, I have lost several nice fish due to cheap line and bad knots. With the braided PowerPro, I use the palomer knot to attach all terminal tackle.

    A good rod.....you can't go wrong for a catmaxx combo from BassPro, especially for the price, but once you start hooking into these big brutes, you'll probably want top of the line everything just like everybody else here on the BOC!:smile2: But if you're like me and on a tighter budget, the catmaxx is pretty reasonable and it will definately do the job.

    Now as far as what to look for, I read the bottom of the river. Looking for changes on the river bottom. Most of the time when you find a spot that looks like a wash board on the bottom, there will be some decent size cats. I personally haven't had much luck fishing the scour holes behind wingdykes, I have caught all my big fish in current near the main channel where I found a wash board or a nice drop-off, current is your friend when you're looking for the big summer time blues.

    Sinker size, I purchased a mold that makes 8's, 10's, 12's and 16 ouncers. I mostly use the 8's but when the water is high or fishing in really deep current, I've had to use the 16's or more.

    Winter time blues is another story. So far this winter I haven't had any luck finding them, but hook up with me this summer and I will put you on some decent size fish! :cool2:

    Welcome to the BOC, you're in a great area for BIG BLUES I can tell you that for sure. It won't be long and you'll be posting a new personal best that will be in the 50's I'm sure! One thing about it, there are ALOT of great people in this BrotherHood that are more than willing to share their tactics and ideas, not to mention take you out fish with ya!!

    Once again, welcome to the BOC!!!
     
  4. catfeveriowa

    catfeveriowa New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Council Bluffs Iowa
    Welcome to the BOC Joey. I like using baitcasters, better drags IMO, with powerpro 80# braid with big circle hooks and no roll sinkers. I like to use live big baits for the flatheads on the Missouri River in warmer weather heehee. Finding the BOC is one of the best ways of improveing your fishing skills, good luck.
     
  5. Malichi1970

    Malichi1970 New Member

    Messages:
    1,334
    State:
    Fenton, Missouri
    Listen to what the Rat is telling you, he gave you some good advise. The only thing I'll add to that is bait size. It's not a guarantee that you won't catch big fish on small baits, but if your trying to target the big ones you can keep the smaller ones away with larger baits. Go get yourself a throw bet, look in the library here on how to throw them and get yourself some fresh bait the bigger the better (you can always cut it down). In the summer I like using 8-10 inch long fillets of asian carp
     
  6. DJH1

    DJH1 New Member

    Messages:
    184
    State:
    Missouri
    Thanks for all the good info so far. Bill, I may just take you up on that offer this summer!
     
  7. RIVER-RAT

    RIVER-RAT New Member

    Messages:
    3,128
    State:
    MO / MT
    I forgot to mention bait. :crazy::crazy::crazy:

    Fresh is best!!! Mike gave excellent advice, get a throw net and catch fresh bait for every outing!!
     
  8. stlcatman

    stlcatman New Member

    Messages:
    2,408
    State:
    Imperial, MO
    Well I have nothing to add to what Bill told you. That is some good information. Reps to you Bill.

    Welcome to the BOC Joey, you have found the best place for good information and great people. I look forward to reading your posts and seeing your future pictures of big fish.
     
  9. crane

    crane New Member

    Messages:
    368
    State:
    Paragould, AR
    First of all, you are in a good area to catch some really nice fish. Now secondly, you need to be really careful out there catching them catfish on the mighty mississippi. Just pay careful attention to thing floating down the river and think twice before you make any quick decisions, that river dosen't give second chances when things go wrong. Use good common sense and everything will be fine.

    When choosing a reel, make sure that the reel has a good drag system. A 50 pound blue in the current will really test any reel out there and I have had them pull off 200' or more of line in a very quick time. Penn makes some good reels for a decent price, and my choice of reel is the quantum reels. They are a little pricey but if you watch ebay you can find them at a decent price.

    We fish with the catmaxx rods and have had great luck with them. Zebco also makes a rod called "Bigcat", I have heard of people having problems with them, but we have never had any problems with them and have fished them for over 3 years now.

    As far as where to fish on the river, that depends on the size of your boat in my opinion. When i first fished on the mississippi I had a 15 foot jon boat and I was really limited to where I could SAFELY fish. That meant I could only fish back current areas and behind dikes. After buying a 20 jon boat we were able to anchor out in the main river current safely. Our bigger fish come from areas where the main channel with deep water (50' to 75') comes close to the bank. You will have to be able to anchor in some heavy current areas and fish with some heavy weights to hold the bait down. 12oz to 24oz weights are not uncommon. These are the areas where you need to be very cautious, life jackets must be worn at all times while anchoring and un-anchoring. The biggest threat is having the anchor rope getting caught in the motor and the current pulling the boat down when the boat spins around backwards with the water coming over the transom. If you don't have any experience with this please have someone with experience take you out and give you pointers on it.

    I fish the new madrid area occasionally and if you would like to go out sometime just give me a hollar and we will give them fishies a try.
     
  10. DJH1

    DJH1 New Member

    Messages:
    184
    State:
    Missouri
    Daryl,

    Thanks for the good info. The boat I use is a 17' Generation III aluminum bass boat with a 75hp Mariner, its worked out pretty good so far. I may take you up on that offer to go out next time your up this way.

    Have a couple more questions for ya'll if you've got the time:

    1. Should I put rodholders across the back of my boat? How many? Whats a good holder for a reasonable price? How many poles do you usually use at a time?

    2. I've seen people talk about using skipjack fillets and shad, do you use a whole fillet, or do you cut it into little pieces?

    Thanks again guys, this is the kinda stuff I need to know.

    Joey
     
  11. BajaCoop

    BajaCoop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,199
    State:
    Poplar Bluff,MO
    The limited amount of knowledge I have about catfishing so far is that different things work on different days and different spots. I would reccomend trying a variety of all the bait that you have at your disposal at see what the fish in that spot want on that day.
     
  12. russ

    russ New Member

    Messages:
    853
    State:
    dexter. mo
    joey, my name is rusty. i own the bait store at new madrid, dale runs it. i fish all the time down there, the big fish are there, i will be more than happy to take you out there and show you where we fish & how we fish the diff. spots. we are very lucky on this part of the river. we have it all. a lot of holes are 100 feet deep. alot of wing dikes ect. il be fishing soon. you can call me at 573-820-2054. day or night. im up late so anytime is ok. rusty.
     
  13. DJH1

    DJH1 New Member

    Messages:
    184
    State:
    Missouri
    Sent you a pm russ.
     
  14. rwilley3

    rwilley3 New Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    State:
    Brighton, Tenne
    Rusty
    Better be careful about posting that phone number. I may end up wanting to give you a call and take me a little road trip and come up that way. :smile2:
     
  15. russ

    russ New Member

    Messages:
    853
    State:
    dexter. mo
    hey that invite goes out to anyone that wants to go fishing glad to have ya.
     
  16. RIVER-RAT

    RIVER-RAT New Member

    Messages:
    3,128
    State:
    MO / MT
    Now that is what the BOC is all about, way to go Rusty!!! Reps to ya my friend!!
     
  17. dank1

    dank1 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    missouri
    hey joey my name is craig from waverly mo fish new madrid king kat tournaments been fishing drift master rod holders for 11 years some of best on market rod is usually easy to get out of witch is critical in fishing big blues they hit hard and fast most of time i have 6 rod holders n back of boat if all you are fishing is rivers thats all you need i have more down both sides b
    but i drift fish lakes to . make sure they are sturdy mounted ihave found that bluecats are very current orinated fish look for steap ledges and dropoffs slipjack is one of the best baits to be using i throw medium to big cunks sometimes hole fish cut to where will bleed when i use shad the freaher the better for either bait i fish stickly for big blues when fishing shad like 8 to 12 inch they nead to be alive still cut up usually cut in half and use head half and remember big rivers dont have much forgivness for mistakes so be safe and what the other guy told you
     
  18. dank1

    dank1 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    missouri
    russ will be there for king kats tounament will stop by and see you when get there i own bait store in waverly will stop to chat if you are going to be around
     
  19. russ

    russ New Member

    Messages:
    853
    State:
    dexter. mo
    craig, i think i met you last yr. at the king kat tourney down here. hope you make it this yr. this yr. i think im going to have fresh skip jack at the bait store. if i have time to go get it. il make a post a few days before the toureny, if not we all ways have frozen on hand. anyway come by we always have coffee & all the bs a guy can stand......lol:wink:
     
  20. Rusty

    Rusty Member

    Messages:
    752
    State:
    Spickard Missouri
    Hey Rusty. Rusty here. I fish your area down to Brunswick. If you get fresh skip jack will you please send me a pm. I will be down to get some. I live about 60 miles north of you. We need to hook up and wet a line sometime.