Prospecting Strategy for blue catfish

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Steve W, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. Steve W

    Steve W New Member

    We all agree that the key to consistently catching Blues is a good understanding of Blue behavior. Successful fisherman know how to predict fish location in an ever changing physical environment. Regardless of whether your fishing primarily rivers or primarily lakes, the seasonal variations in water conditional is the single biggest variable in predicting where the fish will be. A close second place variable is the instinct to spawn, but even this variable is influenced by seasonal inconsistencies. For example early springs bring warmer weather and water, the early bluming of the trees and shrubs, and early movement of the blues from deep winter water habitats into prespawn intermediate depth waters. Summer conditions brings warm weather and warmer water with blues moving into old river channels, mouths of creeks, and in structure located close to deep water. This last variable is important in that I have never caught blues on wide open flats, in shallow warm water without structure ( Crappie spawn water).The last essential variable is the availability of food ( bait fish ). All sport fish move to environments with adequate cover, availability of food and optimum water conditions. The problem I have is determining what consistutes optimum water conditions in the spring and summer. In general we fish in 6-15 feet of water, in areas where big fish can move quickly off into structure or deep water and where we can throw a net and catch shad. I really like a comment one of you guys made about "structure" being anything that changes the physical environment abruptly I.E. thermocline, O2 content, water clarity, water Ph'.
    When you go looking for fish, particularly after you have drifted off the bite.
    what kind of varables are you guys using to relocate the blues. The shad are all over the place on the Arkansas river. Food becomes less of a variable because shad are everywhere. The other vaiable is water current,i.e. hydroelectric dam water release, good current = good fishing. Lastly Time of day as a variable, the general trend is for better fishing early and late. So here's my question to the B.O.C. . I need all this information reduced to an easy to use formula for catching Blues, a never fail prospecting strategy for finding fish. I'm tired of just going fishing!!! I want to go "harvesting" and bring home 10 to 20lb blues every time. But I also don't want to buy fish. I want my cat fishing reputation to grow, so that when little kids walk by, they say " there goes that man that catches all those big catfish" I want women to say I wish my husband could catch big catfish like that like that lady's husband, and for local fisherman to look with envy on my daily catch!!!. NOW if any of you fellows can help me with this problem feel free to reply to this thread or send me a PM
  2. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Bedford, Kentucky
    Steve, I hate to break the news to you, but in fishing there is no such thing as a never fail formula. Heck, even the best of guides will get skunked on occassion. There are however tips that can help you improve your cats in size and number. It seems that you already know these. So if they are not working for you maybe try fishing locations that never produced before for you. Fish will change their patterns from year to year and that hole that has always been full of gar or drum may hold the best blues you have ever seen. Also sometimes I have found blues to be like crappie. They will be in an extremely tight school and if you are throwing outside of there feeding zone you wont get them. Finding them will probably be hard, but if and when you do it will be worth the search. Good luck. Vern

  3. Redd

    Redd New Member

    Southeast Kansas
    That's an intense post there buddy. I wish I could help, but I actually have the same problem. But, if I happen to accidentally run across a "formula" I'll be sure to let you in on it. Good luck in finding one, and tight lines to ya(with big old blues on the other end).

  4. onlyriverfish

    onlyriverfish Member

    Steve man I think you are already on em!
    Anyone thinking that hard is surely doing well or soon will be!

    Our prey is just not studied to the extent that other more commercialized species are-like bass and...

    Things are starting to change though. How far do blues range during the day and seasonal (for sure) and similar day to day & hour to hour habits of these guys.

    We better understand these guys by:
    1.) Fully understanding thier seasonal habits-Wintering, Spawning, Migrations, Feeding methods and forage.
    2.) How blues relate to and use water structure on a lake or river. Better understanding of fluid dynamics-current breaks in a river or lake.

    It seems to be little bits and pieces that we pick up here and there then apply to our own success/failure that is the answer. That I think is why "time on the water" matters so much. There are no hard fast rules that we can follow and thus be sucessful with.

    Are there too many variables? Do we know too little? Are these guys just too unpredictable? When do they sleep?
    They do at times seem like they are all mentally joined like "borgs" responding to a single brain.

    If we could all agree and feel certain that "this is what they do given these conditions" that would be great!

    Then to better understand all the different types of food source in the water fished we would be miles ahead.
  5. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Kannapolis, NC
    I know the feeling that you are feeling, but think of it this way, if you knew you were going to catch a 40 lb. fish every time you went out, that would get old. I know it sounds hard to believe, but yes, it would get old. That is part of what I enjoy about catfishing, trying to figure out something that you can't see except on a graph, and you got to try to make it bite. Here's what I can tell you about blues behavior in the lakes that I fish. I have come to these conclusions based on what I've found and what a few friends fo mine have taught me about catfishing. Blues aren't going to eat all the time. They have feeding times just like people. You don't eat all day and they aren't going to either. Just because you walk in the kitchen doesn't mean you are going to come out with a sancwich. They also sometimes prefer different size baits. Hey, sometimes you want a pizza, sometimes a handful of chips. Certain things will help you determine whether the fish will bite or not. Blues are almost always near baitfish. This time of year, I catch them suspended around schools of shad near the thermocline. Current also plays an important role. Usaully when there is current present such as from a dam, blues will be present and will be feeding. This really holds true in the winter months. In the summer they won't be below the thermocline. Weather also affects 'em. Storms will sometimes shut 'em down and sometimes make 'em bite. I think they binge feed sometime during a storm front and not always before or always after the storm, b/c I've fished all through fronts and caught fish all the way through 'em and been skunked too. usaully I don't do as good on a full moon also, but I've had several really good days during a full moon. There area lot of factors when finding blues, I need a chart that says, if this and this, then that, but if this and not that , then this will happen. Sorry for being longwinded. hope this helps. see-ya'
  6. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    South Carolina
    i fished the other day on a large deep clear res. i drifted a large flat 34 ft deep smooth bottom with alot of schools of bait scattered across it around 4 in the afternoon caught several small 2 to 3 lbs, all blues thermocline was 25 ft down, drifting cut herring. moved to a creek channel 15 to 23 ft deep no thermo and a very snaggy bottom same bait caught sev blues and channels 2 to 3 lbs larger around 5 to 6 lbs. after dark on the way in decided to stop and drift the flat again cause it was more open and sight didnt matter as much cause it was open water, bait was scattered out and not bunched as tight as during the day, drifted cut herring and got 2 in pretty quick that was over ten lbs. size changed from 2 to3 lbs in the day to over 10 at night. and i didnt make a drift near as long cause it was more windy and alittle harder to stay on the same drift i made earlier.