Tackle for a beginner Flathead Catfish fisherman

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by catfish_clayton, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. catfish_clayton

    catfish_clayton New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Catania, Italy,
    I know this is allot like a few other posts, but I thought something like this needed to be posted again.

    To start fishing for flatheads, you don't have to have any real expensive equipment. Here I have a list of the flathead catfishing essentials you will need to get started.


    THE ROD

    Flatheads grow pretty large the world record flathead is 123lbs. So you will need a fairly large rod. Any medium heavy or heavy action rod will work. A few inexpensive but good beginner rods are the Berkley Glowstick$40, Cabellas King Kat$20, and the Berkley Big Game$20. All of these come in both the spinning and casting variety.

    THE REEL

    There are a few different types of reels out the to chose from. There is the basic spinning reel, bait feeder spinning reels, and casting reels. With any of these reels you will want one that will hold at least 100yds. of 30-60 lb. line.

    note- a reel will most likely be able to hold heavier line than what it is rated for. example- a reel that holds 300yds. of 30lb. mono will easily hold 200yds of 50lb line.

    Spinning Reels...
    Spinning reels are a very easy to use reel. They are great for the inexperienced fisherman. The Shakespere Alfa$20, Cabellas King Kat$20, Bass Pro Cat-maxx$40, and the Daiwa DF100 Giant$34. are all fairly cheap yet good reels that can handle allot of heavy line.

    Bait Feeder Spinning Reels...
    Bait Feeders are used just like a regular spinning reel, but they have a second drag on the back that you set as your bite sensor, you will want to set this drag pretty light so that when the flathead takes the bait he wont feel any resistance and will run with it. There is a switch that will turn the second drag off and allow you to set the hook. After you turn off the drag wait till you get some tension on your rod and line and set the hook. Bait feeders are a bit more expensive than a regular spinning real but once you learn to use that second drag they are really nice. The Okuma Avenger ABF-90 is a great bait feeder that holds alot of line with a great price $46. This is actually my favorite because of the price and quality. I spool mine up with 50lb. Big Game. Most others are fairly expensive. But shop around, you may find something I missed.

    Casting Reels...
    Not a great choice for a beginner. Manny beginners have backlash problems with these reals. I'm not saying they are not for you, but if you have never used one and don't have someone to show you how to use them. They can get pretty tricky. These are great reels for fishing flatheads. Like the bait feeders, casting reels also have a bait sensor. The bait sensors on these reels are turned on by the casting trigger and turned off by reeling.


    THE LINE

    There are two main types of line, mono and braided. I would recommend mono to the beginner. The reason being some braided lines have a tendency to frey or stick together. That gets down right irritating when you are starting out. Braided line also generally cost allot more. 30-60lb line is suitable for most fishing conditions.

    Braided line...
    Benefits of braided line are less line memory and a smaller diameter. A few good brands are Stren Super Braid, Berkley Fire Line, and Power pro.

    Mono...
    Has more stretch and is more abrasion resistant than braided line. A few good brands are Stren, Berkley Big Game, and Suffix.


    THE HOOK

    There are many different styles and brands of hooks. The best thing to do is shop around. For a beginner I would recommend heavy wire j style or khale hooks size 3/0-10/0.

    note-a small cat can swallow a very large hook.

    THE SINKER

    Select your sinkers according to the amount of current in the water and the size of your bait. Some fisherman use up to 8 ounces of weight in heavy current. In low to no current situations a 1-3oz. sinker will do just fine. Depending on how big of a bait-fish you are trying to hold down. If you have a hard time finding large sinkers. Ask around on the site many members of the brotherhood make and sell sinkers.

    note-if you need allot of weight to hold down your bait in a high current situation the flathead.

    No rools...
    Flat sinkers that are less apt to roll in the current. They are a favorite of many flathead anglers.

    Egg Sinkers...
    Egg shaped sinkers best used in a low to no current situation.


    PLASTIC BEADS

    Beads are used between your hook and sinker to put less stress on your knot. When you rig up thread your line through the sinker then your bead let these slide freely. Then tie your hook on. There are beads made specifically for fishing but any bead that your line will fit through will do,


    THE BAIT
    Live bait-fish are a favorite among flatheaders but fresh cut bait will work as well. Make sure that it is fresh though flatheads don't normally feed on rotten stinky baits.

    Live Bait...
    Bluegill, crappie, bullheads, goldfish, shad, ceek chubs, etc. You may want to check your states fishing regulations some have laws have laws against using certain fish for bait.

    Cut Bait...
    Cut carp, drum, bluegill, crappie, etc. Ive even caught flatheads on cut water snake.


    Well thats It Your ready to go flathead fishing. Just remember, never stop learning. There are many different techniques an styles of catfishing. These are just some basics to get you started.


    Heres some online stores I use to shop around. You can find all the items I mentioned at these stores sites.

    Bass Pro Shops.............. www.basspro.com
    Cabelas........................ www.cabelas.com
    Catfish Connection......... www...................com
     
  2. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Very nice post Clayton. Well laid out with lots of helpful things to direct someone where they need to go, along with the different options they can setup an outfit with.. It doesn't matter if you have seen other posts that are similar or not. This is unique in its own way, and im sure it will be helpful to many! Reps. to ya, and definetely Library worthy! Good job.... rollo
     

  3. catfish_clayton

    catfish_clayton New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Catania, Italy,
    I appreciate the thanks from all off you. I hope this post gets to some of the newbies in the sport.
     
  4. tackleholic

    tackleholic New Member

    Messages:
    1,000
    State:
    New Albany
    Thanks for the post. I've fished most of my life, now at 49 & have never heard some of the things that you had in your post. I need to make a copy of your post so I can read it again & again til it sinks in. Thanks again.:cool2:
     
  5. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    Good post!

    One other trick - rather than use a plastic bead, you can use a short piece of plastic tubing (like aquarium tubing) to protect the knot. Of course, about half the time, I don't even bother with the swivel and will use a split shot.

    Shawn
     
  6. catfish_clayton

    catfish_clayton New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Catania, Italy,
    Good point Tom, Ive known a few people that use the aquarium hose. I purposely dont use a swivle, I think it takes away from the hook set. Ive never had problems with line twist either. I also use to use the split shot for a stopper, but found out I like the beads alot more. Thats all I use anymore.:big_smile: If anyone else has any good tips or techniques go ahead and post them, Like I said the learning never stops.:006:
     
  7. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    I've used everything from a split shot to a cigarette butt for a stopper. (Hey...it works in a pinch...lol)

    The beads along with the little nylon line ties are currently my preferred method.

    Less line stress with the ties vs. split shot...and with the beads...less knot stress as well from the eyelet of the sinker chafing the knot if the stopper does give during a fight or a hang up.

    Less stress means everything when using braid line as I prefer to do.

    There are just more precautions one must take to preserve the integrity of your line...and prolong its life.
     
  8. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    wouldn't a split shot weaken the line?
     
  9. catfish_clayton

    catfish_clayton New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Catania, Italy,
    Thats the reason I dont use them anymore.
     
  10. flying_v_64

    flying_v_64 New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    NC
    Great post Clayton! Very informative and to the point.:big_smile:
     
  11. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    do you use mono line or braid?I use braid but I use a mono shock leader about 5-6 feet long my main line is spiderwire #65 test my shock leader is ande #40 clear mono 8/0 gamakatsu octopus circle I use a swivel carolina rig slip sinker
     
  12. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    Has anyone ever used teflon tape as a cushion between the sinker and hook or swivel. It would provide good cushion for the sinker against the knot. just a thought.
     
  13. catfish_clayton

    catfish_clayton New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Catania, Italy,
    Readingcatfisher, the only line I use for flatties is 50 to 60lb mono. Its just what I like best, Im not saying its for everyone. Its just that I find it to be alot more abrasion resistant when fishing rocks and snags. I also like the extra stretch you get. As far as line memory I do think that braids are better. But I would rather just re spool with mono. The mono costs alot less than most braids so I dont mind buying it that much. With the braid, if it starts to frey bad then you got to invest a good deal of cash to re-spool.

    Not everyones that concerned with freying and nicks, but it drives me nuts if I see that in my line.
     
  14. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    that's why I use the 5-6 foot shock leader for abrasion resistance and in case of snags the lighter mono will break off before the braid
     
  15. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Great informative post! I prefer to use 20# mono on all my big cat reels. I also have many big rods and reels including big baitcasters and several big spinning reels. I find myself a creature of habit....I always go back to my big spinning reels. There not just for beginners, but are a dangerous weapon in the hands of an experienced fisherman. If I fished from a boat, I would probably use my baitcasters more. But , since I am a bank fisherman....I do prefer my spinning reels. A couple of my biggest spinning reels hold 500 yards of 20# mono. I use 9/0 King Kahle hooks and live Bluegills, green perch, shad, and bullheads and even smaller Live skipjacks. Whenever I fish with cutbaits....I attract lots of smaller fish and channelcats mostly. :big_smile:
     
  16. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    I'll be using lots of bluegills bullheads riverchubs suckers sm bass whatever I can get my hands on ,I have seen a 24 inch channel take a live hand size gill with no hesitation
     
  17. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    One thing to consider is that braid will...if taken care of properly...last up to a couple seasons...if not more.

    The value is obvious there when one considers how many times a guy will respool mono in a comparative time frame.

    I use a heavy mono as a leader...40 lb Stren, Trilene Big Game, or Cajun Red Lightnin...which are all more abrasion resistant to the things that tend to happen to the end of ones line. (IE: fish teeth, twist, hang ups, ect.)

    A heavy mono leader also helps your presentation stay closer to the bottom without additional sinkers when employing a bottom bouncing technique I typically use in current...as mono absorbs water...while braid is water proof.

    Beads also preserve ones knot that is attached to my swivel that divides the mono leader and my main braid line by keeping the sinker eyelet from attacking the integrity of my knot due to chafing.
     
  18. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Messages:
    809
    State:
    Memphis TN
    This is an excellent post. It provides some proven experience for those to put under there belt who have none.

    I started Flathead fishing last spring and learned allot through trial and error along with things I picked up from other fishermen.

    As far as rod and reels go my first set was the Berkley Glowstick 7 1/2 Medium Heavy and Penn captiva spinning reel. I do not like the Captiva and do not recommend it. The reel has rough and uneven retrieve which causes problems. I then decided to buy a Bass Pro Cat Maxx. The Cat Maxx is a pretty good reel for the $35 that I paid for it and has served me well but will only hold up 100% for about one season from my experience. I have landed a few good 20+ lb, fish on it however and had no problem. I now am starting to try casting reels and rescently bought a Penn 209 Level Wind. I have not tried it yet. If you are set on buying a good solid spinning reel that seems to hold up over the test of time I am really pleased with the Diawa 5500 Emblem. I have landed several big fish with it and cast it 100 yards accompanied with a 12 foot Ocean Master Heavy action rod. This combo is really tough and will land big fish over and over.

    Anyway thats my 2 cents, hope it helps.