small baits big flatheads

Discussion in 'OHIO RIVERS TALK' started by flathunter, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    I have never caught a flathead on a big bait, ever.
    I have been fishing for flatheads many years and caught some real nice fish.

    I am not bragging, I may only take a couple of what I call trophys a year, and many fish 25-lbs and under.

    I get skunked probably more than I catch fish, so I aint no expert by any means, but I can remember every flathead over 38-lbs I have caught and remember the bait..I keep a log of my here is some info.

    2002-50lb flathead on a small chunk of frozen shad
    2008-45-lb flathead on a small piece of fresh sahd
    2007-42 -lb flathead on a tail of a small sha
    2007-40 -lb flathead on a small shad head
    2007 38-lb flathead on a live 3 inch shad that died when I put it on the hook
    2006-36-lb flathead on a tiny shad head no bigger that a quater

    And the list just goes on and on, I know alot of you guys catch bigole fish on huge live baits, but I must be a misfit cause I cant do it.

    My first trophy flathead came way back in 1988 it weighed 40-lbs and was caught on a 3 inch bluegill.

    and alot of my fish are caught in the daytime...Everything I do goes aginst the grain of catching big flatheads...I dont get it.

    And most of my fish come form areas where there is not that much structure.

    Am I insane:smile2: Am I making this up? I swear to god I am not.

    I have tried the traditional way of flathead fishing, fising in heavy timber, fishing big lively baits, fishing all night long, the just dont produce for me..maybe it is just the river I fish I dont know I dont think I have ever caught a flathead later than 1am...I have caught more at high noon than at dusk.

    Is it cause I am a bank fisherman? and only fish one spot at a time? I cant figure it out.

    I have been very blessed to have caught some nice fish in my life, I thank god for everyone of them, and have released every flathead I have ever caught ..I am no better of an angler than anyone else on these boards, they couls have caught the same fish I did if they were fishing with me...sorry about the ramble, it's 3am and I cant sleep:smile2:
  2. germanmudfish

    germanmudfish New Member

    Gray, GA
    you say you are bank fishing. So is it in the shade? Deep water? A "hole" or a channel? Lake or river? Structure can be a large rock that breaks the current and gives an ambush point for the flattie. Are you just ate up with flatheads in that part of the country? I am not being facetious I am trying to learn something here. This is good information. What is normal is not where things are learned, it is the abnormal that teaches us.

    Does anyone know if the flathead has better eyesight than its cousins the blue and channel? This could explain the cut bait in the daylight and the live bait at night. Might just like fish in general and depends on the movement to detect them at night. The size of the bait I think just acts as a culling process before actually catiching the fish. Big bait, big fish. Little bait, big or small fish.

    I will be very interested in the other thoughts that come on this one. Thanks for the post, sorry you can't sleep.

  3. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Shelbyville, TN
    All are some really good observations. I have never used Large bait until I started fishing the Ohio river and that was mostly based on the info I had gotten from other people. My best day fishing, I used cut bait that was about 1 inch by 2 inches. I was forced to use small pieces due to lack of bait. Worked out pretty good
  4. firechief4201

    firechief4201 New Member

    Catlettsburg, Kentucky
    We well never understand everything about fishing. Thanks for the information, any tips I can get helps.
  5. 72hdflh

    72hdflh New Member

    West Salem, Ohio
    I still have not learned to catch flats consistently, but reading this and thinking back, the ones that I have caught were on smaller bait. Mostly goldfish.
  6. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Many people hunt for flatheads during the day. Most don't succeed. I know of 2 people on this board that do it consistently. You, and Matt, a guide in Illinois. I'm sure there are others but you two are who come to mind.

    What is a good spot for you? You said you fish open water, so shelter is not the predominant force here.

    I am wondering, through following your posts of yesteryear, if you are not fishing the fast water (shallow) above the hole? As a boater I have a difficult time holding the boat, plus a fear of getting stuck on a shoal, that I rarely fish the places on the river where the bait is.

    I know it is dumb, but like others I am a creature of habit.

    When I am in my boat I fly to a spot and sit. I have finally learned to move a few times, but not a lot. The pro's all say that active fish feed at the head of the hole, yet I always look for structure, and not even necessarily a hole.

    Tell us what your eyes look for in a spot.


    If not, when your back gets better call me.... I'll even be your caddie, cause I'd like to observe you in action.
  7. luckystrike

    luckystrike New Member

    I have had some of the same experiences too. I havent caught many but my first one came last year. We had 5 live baits and a pole with a small shad fillet on it about 10am and thats what i caught him on. Not too long ago same senerio but my buddy was fishin in about 3ft of water with a little bit of worm and caught one. its kind of weird. wish i could explain it
  8. chubbahead

    chubbahead Member


    How often do channels and turtles bother you? That is why I often stay away from the shad, that, and it is near impossible to get them here. Do you have days where you catch 10 channels and get pissed? I know you are after the big one and the big one only, that is why I ask?
  9. river scum

    river scum New Member

    hooterville indiana
    im with you on the smaller baits brother. i used to use gills 6in and up then i learned i got bit on those big gills dont get me wrong. the trouble was i too mostly bank fish, and was very limited on the number of baits i could transport in a bucket. i only use 3-5in gills these days. i can take twice as many baits of that size, and thats a blessing some times. there is no relation to big bait big fish in on the flathead river!

    hope you feeling better, jack.
  10. tunnafish

    tunnafish New Member

    Great thread and posts, you guys! I'd like to do some flathead catchin', but have been reluctant about night-fishing. I just don't want to modify my normal routine. Learning that day-fishing's an option, I just might have to find me a flathead hole!

    PS Hope the back's still good, Jack!
  11. tcba1987

    tcba1987 New Member

    Dennison, Ohio
    ive only been fishing for flatheads for about 4 years and ive caught 46 flatties in that time ..........MOST of them (id say 30 of them) have been between 5-10 lbs with the rest of them being between 10-15 1/2 lbs (my PB is only 15 lbs 8 oz). ive caught most of my flatties on live baits....... but smaller baits from 3-5 inches long (i use bluegills and creek chubs). i think ive caught 3 flatties on cut shad and one (my PB) on a cut creek chub. i have a friend who SWEARS that i need to be using big live bait, which i have tried many times with very little luck, most times i get a lot of short hitting bites that dont get the bait all the way in their mouth............ive gotto agree with you (i think smaller baits means more bites and more hook ups). one question i have is you fish really deep holes when fishing for flatties during the day light hours ?? ive never caught a flathead before 8 pm and most of my flatties come between 9 pm and midnight. i fish on a small river where a big fish is anything over 25 lbs with a few 30s and 40s taken every year............the biggest one ive heard of being caught was a 55 lber last summer.............maybe i should be using more cut shad and cut bluegill ...........what do you guys think ?? Thanks for any advice you guys can give me !!
  12. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    I'm really glad that those tactics work for you.....I think that is great. But I am just the opposite. I have never caught a flathead in the daylight hours. I have never caught a flathead on cut bait of any kind and believe me I have fished cut bait of every kind and size. All my good flatheads have come after dark and with really large live baits. I just dont get it!!!!!:eek:oooh:
  13. hunted

    hunted New Member

    washington court house,oh
    y have caught quite a few flats in the middle of the day,but mostly it was in the beginning of the season or late in the season when the water temps were cool.i used to use large baits,mainly to keep the smaller fishh off the bait.well,the time i caught a five lb flat on a 6 inch green sunfish,i said the heck with it,cause i wasn't using a ten inch long bait.
    i like a smaller bait too,just because they can get it in their mouths a lot quicker,you don't have to let them run long at all.
  14. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    I know you mostly fish the sciota up there, and it's a nice medium sized river. I don't think there is a single reason for any flathead behavior. I think maybe in your case that your good honey holes, " and i know you have a few of them up there lol", are resting zones for the flatties during the day. Maybe while they are resting during the heat of the day they act sort of like they do in colderwater. They probably have a lower metabolism during the day so they won't wannna chase down a big bluegill, and might rather just take a lil' shad head if you throw it in front of 'em. Most everyone knows when the water cools in the fall,and most of the winter down south, flatheads will bite cutbait moreso then big live baits. I'm just throwing some ideas around but I think it may be something along these lines. Heck I fished last week a couple times during the heat of the day, concentrating on the deeper holes and riverchannel and didn't catch nothing but smaller sized bluecats. Then again i was using live bream and pretty good sized gizzard shad.........i bet if you put some big livebaits right along the bank adjacent to these holes you might catch them at night too?...but heck if it's not broke why fix it? keep doin what you do jack...........bassmassey
  15. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Phil, I have only caught a handfull of channel cats in the last several years, I think the flatheads keep the numbers down.
  16. slimdaddy

    slimdaddy Well-Known Member

    Nelsonville, Oh
    i guess you never know what works best on the bait when i got the one in my pic i had 6" chubs out and 3" goldfish and i got him on a night crawler and my baits wasnt 25 ft apart and he hit it hard never got a hit on the minnows
  17. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    I think every body of water whether it be a section of river or a lake is unique. I personally think your just as likely to catch a big flathead on a piece of cutbait as a big perch. In my area there's just too many blues, TONS of blues that there going to find that small bait before that flathead in many cases. Sounds like your section of river just has a limited amount of channels and I assume no or very little blues to compete with the local flatheads. I just think the numbers of flatheads vs other catfish is stacked better in your area possibly. That in addition to being a good catman and finding prime areas.
  18. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    I know every river is different... We have fished a many, and every river has its own preference from baits to bite times! The river I fish the flatheads mostly prefer livebaits, or we simply most of the time catch them on the livebaits during the warm water months because the channels are so thick... Now, early spring and fall time we catch flats on cut shad etc. quite often,, just usually the small and med. sized fish... I like to run smaller livebaits during the cool water periods such as suckers, chubs, smallies, etc... I think these smaller slender baits are better when the metabolism changes to either feed for the winter, or start after a long cold winter!:wink: I see how posts like Flathunter's here can be argued, but, I feel every system has its own indigenous species, water depths, and influences that make each river what they are... Not every river is gonna hold or be as good for each species of fish including flatheads, BUT>>> they all have their reasons for being good, average, or bad!!!!!! Bait size, I feel doesn't matter too much in the warm water months... I have caught big flatheads on small baits and large ones as well... But unlike Flathunter's river.... I feel it needs to be alive and well during the warm water months!!! Cuts, would not get it here... Trust Me!! Well.... let me take that back.... Cuts would mostly get them pesky channels that are fast at any bait on my river!!!! :big_smile: ........rollo
  19. JKeeney20

    JKeeney20 New Member

    Lucasville, Ohio
    Its just hard to figure out.....I fish the same river as flathunter, but about 20-30 miles south. I have caught quite a few flatties over 25lbs the past few years in this river, ***never once have caught one over 25 on cut shad*** and I almost always have a pole out with that on it. I have caught some real good channels, but no big flatheads.....Now you tell me whats going on....:tounge_out:....hmmmm
  20. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    O.P., KS
    It's weird, the flathead in my avatar is a 76lb'er that came on a medium sized bluegill, but my other bigger flatheads came on cut shad and worms. I'll put a big live bait out there such as a 2lb bass, and if I get anything on it it will be a flathead under 20lbs, not the monster you would expect for a bait tat size.

    Dale Finney (Dafin) is another member who consistently catches flatheads in the daytime. I've caught several just after sunrise, but otherwise daytime flatheads have been rare.