Shallow water blue catfish

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Rookie12, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Alright, I'm lookin' for anyone out there that fishes man made reservoirs and fishes blue cats year round and has a good pattern for catching them in shallow water when times are right. I fished a tourney today and got beat bigitme by somebody fishing back in a cove while I was fishing textbook river channel ledges on outside bends and points. Depth back in there was probably 10 ft. or less I'm guessing. What I really need to know is how do you know when they are in there. You ain't gonna' mark a blue in 10 ft. of water or I ain't never done it anyways. Thanks for the help guys!!!
     
  2. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat Active Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    10 feet of water this time of year man I wouldn't even think of trying an area like that myself. I would like to know too. Cause right now I'd be fishing edges and channels too.
     

  3. Michael Jake

    Michael Jake New Member

    Messages:
    808
    State:
    Troy, Missouri
    I ain't an expert Chris, but hopefully can help shed a little light. You said it was today so I'm assumming cold water conditions. The only thing that would bring them up into the shallows this time of year is food, lots of food... with out knowing any other conditions my call would definitely be a good steady strong wind blowing into the cove you mentioned. Blowing all the goody little plankton then the baitfish following into the funnel of the cove. We have here where I live a shad die off from winter that blow into the shallows causing a feeding frenzy. Either way, it's the food consentrated for their taking. You can make a sweep through areas with these conditions with your trolling motor while watching you finder and the water by eye for signs of bait concentrations either live or dead. If you find them move out then anchor letting out enough as you drift in to set up. You have to look for the food, find it and the blues will be there. hope this helps
     
  4. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    There is no book on what a blue will do at times. Yes you can set up and fish ledges and bends but take a cue from the folks in Oklahoma and see how they fish for blues in the winter. I learned several years ago and fish shallow water if the fish are in there as it is warmer at times and they like eating the shad that have died and not came too the top.
     
  5. F150Catfish

    F150Catfish New Member

    Messages:
    369
    State:
    Wisconsin
    yea I have been caught few blue around near the dock, it about 12 to 14 feet deep. but that i caught them, it about 1 to 3 pound.
     
  6. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    Messages:
    10,798
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I think Michael is close to hittin the nail on the head ,this time of year and temps its gotta be a food source
     
  7. gadzooks

    gadzooks New Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    State:
    Kingwood, Tx (Houston)
    Its the combination of water temperature and food sources that will bring the fish up shallow. If the surface temps are up above 55, I sometimes find the catfish up shallow. Also, you may find them shallow if the shallow area is near deeper ones. During the day, when the shallows warm up and the baitfish move into them, the catfish will follow.
     
  8. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

    Messages:
    7,782
    State:
    AR
    The rule of thumb I go by is surface water temp. As a general rule as long as the temp stays 45 or above the bait fish will still be shallow so I stick to 2 to 10 ft. water. When the temp starts dropping below 45 in this area it will drive the bait fish deeper so I will stick to fishing deeper water and drop offs. The fish will follow the bait and no bait equals no fish. One exception to this rule is when you have a shad kill in the winter then fish shallow water on which ever side of the bank the wind is blowing to. The wind will blow the dead shad up into the shallow water and it doesnt take long for the fish to find them and start gorging themselves. This happened in are last tournament the water temp was 39 and fish were being caught in 2ft. water.
     
  9. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,793
    State:
    North Caro
    Name:
    Mac
    Rookie, the day before the NCCATS tournament on Lake Norman I went back in coves looking for bait that might attrack large blues and I found the bait almost in the back of the coves. On the tournament day, Dieter and myself went to these coves and most of the bait had left. But, it was my opinion that the blues would not move that soon and would hang around and not waste their energy chasing the bait. So we anchored down in 20' feet of water and cast to the bank (12 to 15' depth). In one hole we got 40 pound of blues (3 fish) and then the bite stopped as quick as it started. If not for another team getting a 27 pound flathead (don't it just kill you when the other team gets the big fish, which I call the lucky fish), we would have been top dog. So yes, you can find big blues or tournament size fish in the back of coves under cold water conditions, if there has been bait activity in the past day or two.
     
  10. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat Active Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Well that stuff taught me a thing or two. I have only been fishing blues for about 8 months now, but I have fished for channels in the miss. for years, big channels 15's and 20's weren't uncommon everytime we went. out. I have caught 40lb blues my first time out on a new body of water I had never fished before, I am learning. But I have a lot more to do. Everyone is telling me to fishing steep muddy drop offs, edges of the channel on a bend. I used to just find a hole in the river and fish it. But I am getting confused. I am struggling in be consistant, I can go out and slam them all day. Next three times I go out I can fish 14 hour days and every place a man thinks should hold fish and not get a hit. What am I missing.
     
  11. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    I think I'm learning the same thing you guys are talking about. I'm surprised I haven't noticed it before now. I know that blues follow shad, but I never thought they would go back in a cove like that. I'm also used to fishing only when I mark fish and that is going to change now. i catch good numbers of fish, but it seems during windy periods, I can't do that well and this is why I think. The wind blows all the plankton to wherever it is blowing, so the shad will follow and blues will follow them. simple food chain. Bass fisherman have fished wind blown banks for years, I just never put it together for cats. I hope for another windy day my next time out so I can test out this thory and see where the bait is compared to the wind. Thanks a lot fellas. Old habits are hard to break, but I'll do it. see ya
     
  12. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Blue catfish, do come to shallow water in the winter time. I saw one a few years back in a lake.
     
  13. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    i use to fish wind blown banks and coves for striper, it can be great exp, if the sun comes up on the opposite side of the lake. I have caught alot of blues this way striper fishing with cut bait. I have seen the bait so shallow that it was jumping on the bank to get away, but i havent though of doing it while catfishing will have to check into that cause feb is suppose to be a windy month.
     
  14. FishBrew

    FishBrew New Member

    Messages:
    329
    State:
    North Texas
    First North Texas ACATS tourny fished last month, water temp mid to high 30's (in the shallows), winning team and second place fished in less than 5 foot of water, they had the big fish, in the upper 20's. Me and my partner drifted deeper, had to beg for a bite. We guessed wrong. I fished today (different lake), water temps 38 to 41 degrees, never fished deeper than 9 foot. Most fish caught in 6 to 8 foot. Five biggest close to 50 lbs. My partner lost one over 30 at the boat, another big one boiled (never got a good look at it) and wrapped me up, tore off. Point being, they can and will be shallow in cold water ... if food and structure are available. Windy banks is one key, access to and from an submerged creek can be another. The difference between the shallow water and the submerged creek may only be a foot or two, thats enough. I just posted under Texas Res. entitle "Lavon" ... look in the background of the pictures, all shallow water, the strucutre in this case is the flooded timber. The surronding flats are mostly 6 to 7 foot deep, the channel running through it is 9 to 10 foot.
    The question is not if there are catfish in deep water, of course there are. Will there more of them deep in the winter? Probably. The question, one any given day, is which ones are easier to catch? easier to get to bite? Heard a guide put it this way once, assuming they are all the same size would you rather fish a spot that had 100 fish in it with 10 of them feeding, or a spot that had 30 fish in it with 20 of them feeding?
    One key that I have noticed about shallow (less than 10 foot res. catfishing) is being able and willing to move. Yea, its possible to sit in one spot or two and nail them, but in most cases it is moving around. No bites in 30 mins or so ... move. Point being when they are shallow in cold water they are there to feed, may be a soft, light bite, normally is ... but feeding.
     
  15. Bigun

    Bigun New Member

    Messages:
    234
    State:
    Burnet, TX
    The water temp here in south Texas never gets very cold. The best fishing is often in 3 ft water. There are two food items the shad dieoff has been mentioned. The best fishing sems to be the downwind bank. The second thing we found them full of small mussels. The mussles seem to be more in the sandy bank areas. If they were there in March last year they will probably be there in March this year. The basic pattern of ZooPlancton Shad being pushed to the downwind bank in the morning is another reason to look in shallow water. Here we can catch small fish in deep water all the time but when the bigger ones go shallow it is a blast. The comorants are not here this winter but friends are catching good fish around the edge of timber in 15 ft water.
     
  16. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Thanks to all that replied. I'm going to give it a shot. Like I said before, it's just hard to break old patterns and fish in shallow water where I'm not actually marking the fish before setting up on 'em. see ya
     
  17. chrisblue

    chrisblue New Member

    Messages:
    1,345
    State:
    SC
    The best advice I can give you is to be patient with it.Like you said before you cant mark em on your graph you just have to set your mind to it and be patient and fish.The wind blown points and coves are a good place to start but I have found them tucked up in coves out of the wind in shallow water too.So dont rule those areas out.
     
  18. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    yeah, I was thinking about that as well and it seems that when I fish my normal areas under "my" conditions with stable weather and little or no wind, I can do pretty good, but when the wind blows hard I can't catch fish in these areas whether I mark them or not. I have thought about fishing shallow areas that aren't in the wind. I think I got an idea when I need to fish during the wind, now just trying to figure out when to fish those little tucked away areas in no wind. With that will come a little trial and error. and yes, knowing they are there and putting your mind to it is abig part of it. Thanks Chrisblue
     
  19. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    LakeNormanBlues is right. He put us on them that day. We were NOT fishing in a textbook location that you would read about in a fishing magazine, but we caught tournament fish. He did his homework and knew where the bait was.

    Was the wind blowing into the back of that cove? I know it was a windy day that day on Tillery. If it was, then the bait had probably moved back in there. Blues have no problem feeding shallow if the bait is there, and it is actually less work for them.

    The other theory is that the cove may have been sheltered from the wind and shady, thus keeping the plankton up shallow and not driven out by the wind which would keep the baitfish in.

    Either way, someone played the baitfish card to perfection. :wink:
     
  20. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Well, the area they were in was sheltered from the wind, because I was actually nosing my way up in there to just find somewhere out of the wind and saw them anchored out in there. I thought they were just trying to get out of the wind too. I messed around in the mouth of the cove there and marked some bait and a few small fish, anchored out in the mouth, got one small fish and then went on about my business. I know there were baitfish back in there, I saw them there when prefishing, but never thought the fish would be back in there. I don't know if they were there, because of the wind or what. The wind was blowing right across the mouth of the cove bigtime! I just find this whole thing interesting, because I "used to be" a textbook fisherman. Hey, now there were big fish at my spots, but they had serious lockjaw! I've heard it said a bunch that fish go shallow to feed more or less, like I said before, I just haven't put 2 nd 2 together. I think about it at home and while planning a trip, but on the water, I have no confidence in it yet, so I don't do it. I'm breaking bad habits!