some river fishing advice

Discussion in 'OHIO RIVERS TALK' started by hawgmaster, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. hawgmaster

    hawgmaster New Member

    SE columbu
    ok first off i know this may be long but it is some really good info and worth the read. some you may know some you may not. i was doing some research on river fishing as i will be hitting up more rivers next year and slack off on some of the ponds i hit up and was given this advice and am now passing it to you all. ok well here is the info. hope you all enjoy. again sorry for it being so long.

    Most of the catfishes are bottom feeders and are scavengers, meaning that they will eat most anything that they can find. Because of this most any kind of bait that has an odor and would be called edible at all will catch these. Of course the best bait for these fish is something that they are familiar with or which has a very "good" odor to them. For example some kinds of bar soap can make a good bait for these fish. We used to use Fels Naptha bar soap but it is no longer made or at least I haven't been able to find it in any store for many years. So I went to other kinds of soap, most any kind that can be cut into chunks and then have cotton blended into it by hand to keep it from washing off too quickly. Crawfish or shrimp are very good baits for these fish as is most any kind of small fish or cut bait from larger fish. Of course worms, especially night crawlers make excellent bait. I suggest using a relatively small but very strong treble hook for catfish. Oh I forgot one of the standbys for catfish bait, cheese, most any kind. You can buy ready made cheese or cheese/blood baits in most tackle stores.

    Now to tell you how to read a river. This,of course, is determined by the river. In the summer they were often low and could be waded in places but had deep holes here and there. To find these deep holes, the place where cats mostly stayed, look for any relatively sharp bend in the river.
    The outside bank of the bend will usually have a deep hole because the current moves faster there than on the inside of the bend. In some cases It is possible to wade out on the inside of the bend and cast into the deeper outside. Be careful though because the water on the inside of the bend usually drops off pretty sharply. When wading it is a good idea to cary a walking stick to feel for the bottom before you step. Don't wade if you are alone or if you are not a very good swimmer. On a bigger river where you are limited to the bank look for a place where the river makes a sharp bend and cast across the upper end of the hole and let your bait wash down through the hole. This will result in getting hung up quite a bit but if you rig carefully and cover all the points of your hooks with bait it will not hang as badly.

    Another way is to find a bend where you are on the side of the river that is the outside of the bend. Find the place where the upstream end of the hole is and cast into it and then allow your bait to drift downstream by giving out line. Since catfishing unlike bass fishing it is not necessary to strike in an instant so a little slack in your line will not hurt. The catfish will likely swallow the bait anyway. If conditions prevent you fishing from the upper end of a bend hole you can fish from the lower end of the hole by casting upstream in close to the bank. Take up line as your bait works downstream.

    If you can find a place where there is a whirlpool, usually at the lower end of the bend cast above or upstream of the whirlpool and let your bait be drawn into it. Catfish often hang out at the edge of such a whirlpool and wait for food to be caught in it then dash out and grab the food (bait).

    Look for a place where a large tree has fallen into the water. Let your bait drift in under the log or tree. Yes you will hang up now and then but if you are not getting hanged up now and then you are likely fishing where the fish "ain't". Any place where something breaks the current such as a rock or log makes a good place for the fish to hang out to ambush anything that comes down the river. Try keeping your first cast on the bank closest to you and keep your bait as close to the bank as it drifts down. Next cast should be a little further out and the next even more toward the middle of the river. Keep an eye on where your line goes and if it tends toward a certain area,for example, a third of the way out the log or rock. I mean if you cast out and the line works in for a ways and then when you cast closer to the bank it tends to go out so that in both cases it tends to go to about the same area fish that area carefully because any food will be funneled toward that spot and that is where the catfish will most likely be waiting. He probably will not be out in the main current but hidden behind something in the area that breaks the current.

    For the most part I would not suggest a bobber in this type of fishing unless the river has a very slow current. If the current is strong the bobber will pull the bait along not let it drift naturally and is likely to miss the fish completely. In very slow water I do like to use a live minnow or crawfish under a bobber. I drop it in just above any kind of driftwood collected by a fallen tree or such.

    What kind of gear is best for this kind of fishing? My prefrence would be an open faced spinning reel and a 7 foot medium heavy rod and about ten pound test monofiliment or a braided line of the equivilent size but stronger. I sometimes like to put the hook a few inches above the sinker and at other times a few inches below a slip sinker using a tiny split shot to keep the sinker from going down all the way to the hook. Try both and see which you like the best.

    If you hook into a big fish you may have to really put on the pressure to get him out of the brush or rocks where he was hiding. Once you get him out just keep pressure on him making him swim as much as possible to wear him out. Do not try to derick him in. The reel was not made with the idea of cranking a fish in. That is the job of the rod. Keep the rod tip high or pointed mostly upstream keeping a nice bend in the rod. That is what will wear him out. Only when he has rolled over and given up do you crank him on in to net him or beach him or however you land him.

    Looking out over a river without any visible water breakers like rocks ,logs, etc.
    look at the surface. Look for places where the water seems to pile up just a little above the level of the rest of the water. This usually means something down there is causing the water to rise up and over something. Getting your bait in and around that spot gives you the best chance of locating a fish. If the water is clear look for places that are darker than the rest as that may mean a difference in depth. Any kind of ripple or difference in the current that does not move or come and go with the wind may mean some sort of botom difference, fish it.

    All of the above applies to the channel catfish, blue cat, brown cat, etc. but the exception is the flathead cat. This fish is seldom a scavanger. He eats mostly sunfish, brim, or whatever you call them and he wants them live. For him you need a baitfish that you would consider big enough to take home and eat. Look for the flathead more in the deepest holes and not necessarily having a lot of cover(logs, trees, rocks etc.) Use a quick strike rig for this fish like you would use fishing live bait for pike or muskie. Such rigs are usually available in bait stores or you can make your own. You will need a small strong hook maybe a size 1, leader of heavy nylon about 5-6 inches after knots, and a 4/0 or 5/0 strong and extra sharp treble Hook. tie the small hook to the leader leaving 8-10 inches of tag line. Tie the treble so that it is 5-6 inches below the small one. Tie this rig to a swivil. Put a fairly heavy slip sinker maybe 3/8-1/2 ounce on the main line and then tie to the leader. Put a small split shot about a foot above the swivil and below the sinker. Depending on the speed of the current you may want to use a large bobber. I like a styrofoam bobber almost as large as a baseball. I make the bobber a slip bobber by putting a bobber stop above the bobber at about 1-3 feet above bottom. Hook the small hook into the upper lip of the sunfish and take the big hook and just hook it into the meat just in front of the tail. Don't go too deep or you will kill the bait.
    In this case I would try to get above the deep hole and on the opposite side of the river if the river isn't too wide to cast across. If the river is too wide then get above the hole on the same side and cast to the upper end of the hole. If the current is slow let the bobber hold the bait off the bottom and drift down into the deep hole. If the current is too fast you might want to use a drop shot type rig. To do this tie the heavy sinker below the bait hook just enough to keep the bait 2-5 feet above the bottom. You might want to use a lighter piece of line to tie the sinker on so if it gets caught you can break it off and not lose the whole rig.
    These fish get big so be prepared to handle such a fish. Here I would use a casting reel and a 6 1/2 ft. medium heavy or heavy rod and 50 or more pound test braided line. Carefully set your drag so the fish can take line with the rod heavily loaded. I mean the reel should give line even when the rod is bowed almost 90 degrees
  2. catcrazed

    catcrazed New Member

    dam dude, did you type all that or did you cut and paste. either way its good information. Thanks a ton!!:wink:

  3. cali2ohio

    cali2ohio New Member

    Milford, OH
    I prefer to use my baitcasters instead of open bail reels. Nothing better than the sound of a clicker. Great info though..... thanks!!
  4. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    SW Ohio
    Lots of good info in that but some I do not believe in and best approach to learning how to fish rivers is by living it every day for years on years. No excuse for laziness when folks think they can read a thing or two and believe they know it all....:smile2:

    Most of that info is valid but without experiences to know when to look for fish in a certain spot, its worthless in my opinion. We all know that only a small time of the year will cats be in the deepest holes.

    Learning about river hydrology is paramount in becoming a good seasoned river angler. Understanding how rivers work, Understanding the difference between the riffle, run, glide,hole,and tailout and why riffles are where they are and understanding how sediment is moved, carried and digs around certain structures will often put you onto a lot more fish and answer why one rock pile or log jam holds fish and another doesnt.

  5. Snagged2

    Snagged2 New Member

    Verde Valley AZ
    Good work..
    I was going to take a bit of exception, but, it redeemed itself at the last with the Flathead section!!:wink::big_smile:
    always good to gain new info, or be reminded of stuff we've forgotten,,whether or not we're experienced..
    I like the dynamics of river fishing as well,,,,:big_smile:
  6. Pennspin

    Pennspin New Member

    Alexander City Al.
    Thanks for the Info.:big_smile:
  7. hawgmaster

    hawgmaster New Member

    SE columbu
    hmmm sounds like i should be hanging out with you on the rivers to learn a few things :big_smile:
  8. shanelures

    shanelures New Member

    i agree 100% i've read my but off!! the best info i got is from a couple local guys close to where i live and trial and error!! i have a pb of 52.9 lbs. but still say i hav'nt figured it all out yet!! still learning by far!!
  9. catfishfearme

    catfishfearme New Member

    cliff notes please:smile2::smile2: