Tactics for Channel Catfish!

Discussion in 'LOCAL CALIFORNIA TALK' started by KnotGillty, May 26, 2009.

  1. KnotGillty

    KnotGillty New Member

    Northern Califo
    Do any of you CA anglers ever use slip bobbers for channel cats?

    I get the feeling that not many anglers take advantage of this killer tactic. Of course, knowing the depth you are fishing is vital to correctly getting your bait at the right depth with a slip bobber. Setting the rig so that the bait is about a foot above bottom is perfect. If conditions are right, and I'm going to be anchored for a while in a lake, I like to use this method. Plus, if there is a slight breeze, you can cast up wind at a 45 degree angle and let the wind slowly move your offering for 15 or 20 minutes before recasting. Bigger baits simply require using a bigger slip bobber.

    Plus, it never gets old watching that bobber go under.:smile2:
  2. daystarchis

    daystarchis New Member

    Clovis Cali
    Randy, I am one that has slip bobbers but rarely use them. Nice post. Makes me want to get them out and brush off the dust and cast one out:wink:

  3. CatMan(Cali)

    CatMan(Cali) Well-Known Member

    Fresno Californ
    I just ordered some Katbobbers. Haven't used them yet, but would like to go out and give it a try. Like you said you have to know the depth you're fishing. From the bank it is hard to tell what the depths are that you are fishing. I've heard that this is a killer way of catching nice cats. I will give it a shot sometime, maybe at July gettogether in Mendota.
  4. Nightstalker 424

    Nightstalker 424 New Member

    Randy, I used them when I lived in South Carolina and they were deadly. We usually used live shad for stripers but ended up cathcing as many channels as we did stripers. I stopped using them when I moved back to California. This post was a good reminder to go get some!
  5. shania

    shania New Member

    San Leandro, Ca
    Hey Randy,
    "Your Right" about the slip bobbers for the Channels.
    "Now you want to talk about a fun way to fish for them, just seeing than bobber going under -does it for me everytime".
    I use that method for them all of the time.
    I think that fishing for them in that mannor (If the conditions are right) is one of the best way of getting them. I like to cast my bait up wind & let the current do the rest for me - that's my way of drift fishing for them from the shore.
    I just "Fan Cast in areas until I find them".

  6. tofish

    tofish New Member

    i love using the lighted bobbers at night. watching those things zip through the water down 3-4 feet is great.
  7. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Los Angele
    I use them for blues a lot because a lot of blue cats suspend contrary to popular belief. They like to feed off the shad and a lot of times can be caught right under the shad. Channel cats will chase the shad too and can be caught at mid depths. I caught quite a few channels while jigging for crappie with mini jigs at mid depths. l also caught a few channels while drifting for crappie with mini jigs and these fish were at mid depths as well. Although when I have used slip bobbers I have not caught a channel per say intentionally like I have caught a few blues on them. I have caught a few channels unintentionally while bluegill fishing with pieces of worms before. So not all catfish feed on the bottom, including channels.

    There is also a philosophy called the thermocline that acts as a factor too and it is prevalent during the warmer water months in which the best oxygen levels will be at as well at the baitfish. Slip bobber fishing can be very beneficial in these situations and can enhance your chances at getting catfish as well, not just trout, bass, stripers, etc.

    Here are a few references to the thermocline for those who who may be new to the terminogy.

    Fishing the Thermocline: From Bobberstop.com

    Locating feeding fish is one of the most important skills a fisherman can develop. You can mark
    fish on your fish finder and not entice them to strike your lure if they are not in their "feeding zone"!
    Most species of fish have a preffered temperature of water that they will actively feed in. Find this
    area of temperture with fish present and you will greatly increase your chances of catching fish.
    Remember, fish are cold blooded. In water too cold, fish will be dormant, sluggish and will not
    feed. In water too warm, they will be seeking a more comfortable environment. So, an
    understanding of how different temperatures of water break up will help.

    Here are two main ways temperatures of water will break up:

    On inland lakes, water temperatures tend to settle into horizonal layers of warm water and cold
    water that are seperated by a moderating layer known as the "thermocline". The thermocline will
    be the most active "feeding zone".
    On larger bodies of water like the oceans and Great Lakes, masses of water temperature are
    much larger and in a constant state of change. The location of these large masses of temperature
    are highly affected by the changes in weather conditions. These large masses of warm and cold
    water also have a moderating layer that is known as a "temperature break". Because of the
    constant shifting of the warm and cold masses temperture breaks often appear as a vertical layer.
    The area of, and immediately around, the temperature break is the most active "feeding zone".

    If you're a bass fisherman, the thermocline is something that's very important
    you must know and understand to be successful.

    Simply put, the thermocline is a thin layer of water in a lake which is sandwiched between the
    upper layer of water (the epilimnion) and the lower, colder layer of water (hypolimnion). During the
    summer months, surface water is heated by the sun and the surface temp could be 80 degrees or
    more. This floats over a layer of colder more denser water called the hypolimnion. Now, between
    these 2 layers you have a thin layer in which the water temp drops fair substantially. This will be
    the thermocline. The temp at this level may be high 60's and up in about the middle of spring.

    Let's relate this to Lake Fork,Texas. Normally the thermocline starts to set up in May. Fishermen
    have been able to enjoy catching spawning bass in depths of 2'-12' during the spawn. Bass have
    needed the warmer water temps to spawn (lower 60's and up). Moving on into the end of May,
    most bass have spawned at Lake Fork. This is a time of transition for the bass. As a fisherman,
    you are in a post spawn mode. Crankbaits, lizards, jigs and Carolina Rigs, to name a few have
    worked well for spawning bass and should still continue to produce through the summer. As we
    move into the end of May and into June you can look for the post spawn to set in. This is generally
    the time the Thermocline will start to set up. When the water temps reach about 73 degrees, you
    can plan on predictable fishing. Plastic worms work well, crankbaits, spoons and jigs to name a
    few. Usually water depths between 12' to approximately 22' are the depths of choice. This is the

    In full-blown summer you will have 3 distinct water temperature changes (at these approximate
    depths), 0 to 12', 12' to 22', and 22' to 45'. The temperature may drop by 10 degrees at each
    depth. Many of you have probably heard of a lake "turning over" and this is exactly what it does.
    During late Autumn, (usually in October on Lake Fork) the cold winds blow as the fronts start
    coming through. This in turn drops the waters surface temperature. As it cools this surface water
    will sink to the bottom of the lake. So when cooler weather arrives the layer that was the warmest
    (the surface layer) displaces the lower level and the lake turns over. This movement which occurs
    every year allows the bottom layer to be exposed to the air allowing it to be used by living
    organisms. In shallow lakes with an average depth of 15 feet usually no thermocline will develop.
    Mother nature keeps all this in check. In such cases as very shallow lakes you may find heavy
    cover to screen out some of the suns penetrating rays.

    October is a month of water temperature changes, once again, for Lake Fork. Depending on our
    weather you will find water temps becoming more uniform from the surface to about 25' in most
    areas of the lake. The temps may vary from 69 degrees (surface temp), to 66 degrees down to
    the 22' mark, give or take a few feet. Fall fishing patterns have set in and you can count on nice
    numbers of fish with predictable patterns. Is the hypolimnion void of oxygen? At certain times of
    the year this may true but there are also certain times when it has more oxygen than the other
    layers of water. As you already know the turnover on Lake Fork usually occurs in October. The
    water begins to cool. The shallow coves are among the first to cool and the bass will begin to
    relate to shallow structure, this is why fall fishing is fantastic at Lake Fork. Generally speaking the
    thermocline averages 7 to 10 feet thick and is usually found at 22' of water. The bass will be
    caught in the upper regions of the thermocline (early October), but usually the best fishing occurs
    just above where the thermocline starts.

    The main thing to remember is when stratification is evident the bass will be found in greater
    concentrations within the thermocline. Why is this? Two reasons. First the upper layer has too
    much light penetration to be comfortable for the bass and the hypolimnion is usually void of
    oxygen. This leaves the thermocline where the light is just right and the oxygen is comfortable for
    the bass. Remember bass can see ultraviolet rays and do not have eyelids, their pupils do not
    adjust as humans do. Also remember sunlight will diffuse differently depending on the time of day.
    Early morning and late afternoon the suns rays will be at more of an angle and not as intense.
    Wind will also affect the suns penetration into the water, as will the clarity of the water. Can you
    catch bass in the hypolimnion? Why do anglers catch bass in 40 feet or deeper water? During the
    late winter there is usually no stratification on Lake Fork or most other lakes. As a result the water
    will undergo a temporary oxygenation process. Strong winds, feeder streams feed the lake with
    spring rains and plant growth begins. So under normal conditions the deeper end of a water body
    will be quite saturated with oxygen. Since the lower layer is much colder than the surface
    (averages 10 to 25 degrees difference) the deeper portions can retain the oxygen molecules sent
    its way during the pre-stratification. Why does the hypolimnion lose it's oxygen? The thermocline
    and the upper layer of water are continually replenishing their oxygen supply and the hypolimnion
    gradually loses it for several reasons. Probably the most important reasons are is that there is
    very little or no plant life beyond the 30 foot level. Unless the water is gin clear the suns rays
    cannot penetrate this far into Lake Fork enough to grow any vegetation.

    The bottom 2 to 10 feet of a lake will also be where everything settles to decay thus eating up the
    oxygen. Fishermen will find Lake Fork usually has no thermocline until late spring or early summer
    and its this time you must understand what the thermocline is and what role it plays on fishing.
    Lake Fork and most all lakes will turnover in the fall. When this happens you can usually smell
    something that resembles the smell of rotten eggs and many times you will see particles of
    decaying matter in the water, this is the tale-tell sign that the lake has turned over. Some years,
    depending on the weather we have, the turnover will be more abrupt than others. Back in October
    1994 Lake Fork experienced quite an abrupt turnover. Millions of shad were seen either dying or
    dead on the surface, and many fishermen reported the very strong smell of rotten eggs for a week
    or so. Estimates of the shad die off that year was over 12 million. Luckily though shad reproduce
    extremely fast and no noticeable decline in fishing occurred due to this turn over.

    Take a look at the background on this web page. Once the water starts setting up in layers
    usually in late spring or early summer depending on how much warm weather we have, the layers
    will look like the layers on this page. You will find some fish in the top layer, the bottom part of the
    top layer and at varying depths within what is called the thermocline. Most times you will be
    wasting your time if you fish any deeper than the thermocline. Many times your electronics can
    pick up these varying layers of water. On quality, high end electronics you'll see a washed out
    line. This will represent where there are drastic differences in the water temperatures

    Internet research will show you more articles defining the thermocline and how to fish it. It can also be applied to catfish as well.
  8. recordbreakin1

    recordbreakin1 New Member

  9. team760

    team760 New Member

    I haven't used them very much....here in the imperial valley i fish in a lot of canals (big and small) in which the current moves too fast, and unfortunately there are no big lakes to fish here(they are more like little ponds).....but i will definitely try them when i get the chance too....T.
  10. shania

    shania New Member

    San Leandro, Ca
    Hey Bulldog,
    Bring them down to the river with you
    "I Got You"
    If can't do it, I'm sure that my man Luckie will be on the seen to point you in the right way.
  11. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Randy... I always have a slip float set up and ready to go.... I really like the way it helps me target cats.... use two poles... maybe a third one flipping or cranking for bas while I am drifting ...

    the slip float is set for one depth, the other pole draging the bottom with a special sinker, ..... good for along the rip rap at the colorado river...

    and then a quick throw with a top water to check for a bass or two...

    Bayrunner Ray
  12. CatMan(Cali)

    CatMan(Cali) Well-Known Member

    Fresno Californ
    It will flow north to south. So Mayflower will be upstream from us at McIntire.
  13. tofish

    tofish New Member

    river runs north to south, right in front of both of them dogg.
  14. KnotGillty

    KnotGillty New Member

    Northern Califo
    A slip bobber is nothing more than float with a hold in the middle which you run your line through. You then attach a bobber stop on your line at the depth you want to fish. The bobber stop is a little piece of plastic, rubber, or nylon that reels through the guides and onto your reel. When you cast out, the bait sinks, and the line runs through the bobber until that bobber stop hits the top of the bobber (the bobber stop is too large to go through the bobber hole).

    No need to spend $8 on a slip bobber. I get 3 in a package for like 2 bucks. I mainly use the styrofoam type as the balsa wood version is much more expensive.

    Best of luck and tight lines.
  15. diamonddave04

    diamonddave04 New Member

    never knew this tip.. im gonna try it this weekend though and in mendota