River fishing

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Catcaller, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    I consider myself primarily a river catfisherman. My favorite tactic is to wade a series of riffles downstream from a low water dam on the Neosho river here in Kansas. My go to technique is much different than most of the rest of the fishermen that I encounter on my home waters. I'll rig with gar or spoonbill eggs being my first choice...but chicken or turkey livers will work...as well as beef melt. I use no or as little weight as I can get by with....which of course depends on the water levels/current flow. I dont cast my bait. I drop it at my feet and allow the current to sweep it downstream...feeding line as it drifts down. Keep in mind that your bait will bounce along the bottom with the current until it settles in a hole or behind a rock. As long as you're feeding slack line...the bait remains on the bottom...any tension on the line brings your bait up to the top of the water. It takes alot of practice to maintain contact with your bait...if it settles and you dont realize it....you'll keep feeding line and your bait stays put and you end up with too much slack in your line. Most times if your bait stops...its in a hole or a rock as I mentioned above...OR...a fish waiting in ambush behind a current break or in a hole has simply opened it's mouth and has taken your bait. since the fish is lying in wait for an easy meal to wash by...he will not swim away with your bait after he eats it...he just stays put and waits for the next meal to wash by. you must maintain contact with your bait...applying pressure every so often to lift it off the bottom...and then feeding it more slack when you determine that it wasnt a fish that put the brakes on your drifting bait. I might have 100 yards of line out at one time and actually hook a fish that far away. Sometimes you will feel a "Tap" on your line...which is a fish taking your bait...it's time to reel down and set your hook at that point...as the run you may be accustomed to just simply does not happen because the fish doesnt swim away like he would if he were seeking out forage and you were using a heavier sinker to keep your bait in one spot. I have used this method side by side with other anglers using a heavier sinker to anchor their bait presentation, and outfish them 10 to 1...and they cant figure out what I'm doing for the life of them. I've had them ask me....what are you doing??? Fishing a hole right in front of you...because it looks like to them that i am just simply jigging my bait up and down...when in fact as I am letting line out, I'm lowering my rod tip...and after I let out 10 feet or so...I raise my rod tip back up and allow the bait to drift down until it hits the end of the slack and rises back to the surface...at which point I open my bail...let out 10' or so more line and once again lower my rod tip as it drifts downstream with the current. Here they are thinking I'm jigging up and down right in front of me...when in fact I may be 100 yards downstream. Another piece of advice is to thouroughly fish the water right at your feet while wading before letting your bait drift on downstream...as I have caught more 10 - 20 lb channels and blues within 5 feet of where I'm standing. A perfect example was last spring when my buddy was standing in hip deep water in the Neosho river where we were fishing and hooked and landed a 27 lb blue as soon as he dropped his bait in the water...it didnt even hit the bottom before it was nailed by the fish! It took both of us to get that blue cat in...and although he was the crown jewel that day, we both had stringers that day that we could barely carry up the bank of the river when we were done. You may doubt me...but take my advice...before you knock and dimiss this method...try it before you mock it...you may be suprised...and it just may alter the way you pursue your catfish from this day on...it did me. It doesnt take a genius to figure out that it works when you're standing next to a guy using this method I speak of...and you're using a heavy sinker catching dinks...and your buddy is nailing 10 pounders and better on a regular basis. By the way...this method also does work from an anchored boat.
     
  2. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    Kutter and Dave...thanks for your kind words. I know people who horde their techniques like they were a state secret. I believe we're all in this together and I dont mind sharing information if it will help them out. I like to believe we all live dowstream of one another, and there's an old golden rule that goes something like this...help somebody out if you can....even if you dont gain anything by it. I wasnt born with the knowledge I possess...at one time or another the people in my life...past and present...have taught me what I know. I dont presume to know everything, and I learn something new on a regular basis...whether it is taught to me by another brother right here on this site, by an old timer I may or may not know that I'm fishing next to in the river, or whether I figure something out on my own. Glad I could help.
    I will add a thing or two to my post though that didnt occur to me as I was writing it. The diameter of your line also matters in that using heavier line (Such as monofilament 20 lb) makes it more difficult to keep your bait on the bottom when you're releasing line when there is a high water level/flow situation because of the faster waters increased drag on the thicker line. When using the above technique during higher water conditions...a smaller diameter line will keep you in better contact with the bottom. You can use 10 or 12 lb mono and get the desired effect...but obviously you lose tensile strength that you may end up wishing that you had if/when you hook the right fish. This is the reason I have switched to braid line such as Power Pro or Stren braid in 10 lb diameter/40 lb test. I prefer either of those two because of their roundness...which translates to ease of use on a spinning reel...eliminating the tangles associated with the more oval shape of the old spiderwire. i'm not sure if thats still a problem....but I havent tried it since I had that problem in the past. Another thing is that due to the nature of what you're doing....letting your line drift among rocks...especially if using a small split shot or even a heavier sinker during really high water conditions...I use a premium high tensile strength ball bearing barrel swivel with a 25 lb or so test 12" or so long leader. that way when you do get hung up...as you inevitably will...you break off the mono leader instead of losing your high dollar braid line. Also keep in mind that you need to constantly check your braid line for abrasion damage if you're fishing in rocks like I do constantly. Thats the only real gripe I have about braided line is that it isn't the most abrasion resistant stuff out there.