Thermocline blue catfish

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Rookie12, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Alright guys, thermocline will be setting in here in the next little bit and I was wondering how some of you all fish it. THe thermocline in my lakes is normally somewhere around 20-30'. Last year I did pretty good with slip floats set down around 8-20' with cut shad over real deep water. I never tried fishing any shallow water, so my question is.... is it better to fish shallow water with structure or look for suspended fish over deep water. I'm thinking thta shallow drifting on the upside of a ledge would be really good in the summer. Just looking to get a gameplan together for the next couple months. You can still catch 'em deep here for now. Thanks!
     
  2. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    This will be an interesting thread, I will be interested in the opinions of our brothers and sisters.
     

  3. trad_archer

    trad_archer New Member

    Messages:
    39
    State:
    Cook Springs, AL
    I agree, this should be an interesting read.
    One of my favorite summer spots is a 3' flat that runs parrallel with the channel of 48' with a steep slope. I drift this trying to stay near the top of the slope with rods fished 5' to 10'. Hardly ever a pass without a strike. I believe that the deeper fish are not actively feeding but will bite on instinct, where the feeding fish head for the shallow water where most of the bait is. In twenty years of freshwater diving, I have never seen bait congregate below the thermocline like they do above and right near it. I have seen lots of suspended fish and "some" bait but not the concentrations I see in shallow water. This is how it works for me in my area but of course its different from place to place as well as the temp. I have found that a good rule of thumb to find big cats, is ask how deep the crappie and bream fishermen are fishing.(I dont fish for either often). If folks are catching panfish in 6' then i believe when the giants go to feed, this is where they will head. And hopefully i will be there waiting on him!lol Good luck to all this summer....shane
     
  4. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,516
    State:
    North Caro
    Chris, last year on LKN we developed a technique for fishing cats when the thermocline developed. As you know and others, I fish mostly shallow water (less than 20') in coves and streams, but once the thermocline developes I will go into the main channel. We use down lines (1.5 to 2 oz. weighs) and side planer boards with a little weigh (1/16 to 1/8 oz.) on them. Our target area is 30 feet+- for our down lines and around 20' for our planer boards (live bait). Also, you can set up some down lines with jigging spoons and tip them with small pieces of cut bait. So far, this technique has produced plenty of eating size fish, but few throphy cats, that is not to say that you won't get a thropy fish, but we haven't. We introduced WylieCat to this method of fishing this past summer and I believe we caught somewhere around 30 cats in less than four hours. When you find the bite, just try to keep the boat over them and you will get your fair share. Small pieces of cut bait seem to work better for this type of fishing, plus smaller hooks. Also, you do not have to jerk to set the hook, just let the rod do its job. Mac
     
  5. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    It sounds like both tactics work well. That's interesting about the depth of brim and crappie. I know I"ve got some blues on crappie heads and fillets in the winter time, so I'm sure they feed on them. I've got some flats on live crappie as well. Mac, I fish a small lake where we catch fish right in front of the lower dam in 60-70 ft. of water on downlines. It's like downrod fishing for stripers, but we use cutbait. We got into some blues in front of McGuire dam a few years ago striper fishing with herring, but they were mostly small and mixed in with the stripers. Hopefully they will still be shallow for that fun day I got on Norman the 23rd. I like drifting them creeks and coves on Norman. Thanks everybody and keep it coming!
     
  6. droptine77

    droptine77 New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Anderson, SC
    I just wanted to stir the water on this thread to get more people to take a look at what has been said and to add more ideas. The lake I fish has a thermocline and I could use all the info I could get on Blues and thermoclines. Come on experts teach us!!!:smile2:
     
  7. catchaser1

    catchaser1 New Member

    Messages:
    1,180
    State:
    Anderson S.C.
    Very good questions, I fish the same lake as droptine, and some help with this subject would be greatly appreciated!
     
  8. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Thanks for stirring up the thread a little bit. There has to be some more folks out there that fish thermocline fish. My two tehniques ae fairly simple. The first one involves fishing for suspended fish and consists of using downrods below the boat and also using slip floats set way behind the boat and maybe a freeline thrown in there with a brim on it or a big herring or such. Drift over deep water where ou mark fish and bait shallow. Usually the fish will be right above the thermocline while some of the bigger blues I have caught were about ten ft. shallower than the thermocline. Ther other method involves drifting with Santee rigs and slip floats in water that is shallower than the thermocline and marking fish along the bottom, etc. I mainly drift in the summer and only anchor out usually for flathead fishing. When I'm after blues and channels, I drift because I feel that these fish are on the move and are chasing baitfish. I don't think that a suspended fish in the mian channel that is say 14 ft. deep in 60 ft. of water will just sit there. I think he will be roaming looking for food. any thoughts? This is what I know works, does anyone else have suggestions for thermocline blues. I also noticed that they seem scattered out more, in the wintertime you can anchor over one hole and rake 'em in. Not so in the dog days!
     
  9. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    Very good topic and very good thread.

    LakeNormanBlues is right about the technique that works on Norman. I think that could be applied anywhere. We were able to roll over the fish, drop lines, and wait for a bite. Rolling into 50-70 feet of water and dropping a bait to 30 feet seems kinda odd until you start snatching them out of the water!! :lol:

    Part of the trick of finding the fish is being able to read what your electronics are telling you. Once you start catching fish pay attention to the screen and try to learn what the magic combination is. Usually you can repeat this on different parts of the lake with similar conditions.

    Personally, I have not mastered the suspended fish techniques on my home lake of Wylie, but it is something I plan to work on this summer. I think it is the key to finding big fish in the summer.
     
  10. jedt

    jedt New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Cameron,Texas
    Part of the trick of finding the fish is being able to read what your electronics are telling you. Once you start catching fish pay attention to the screen and try to learn what the magic combination is. Usually you can repeat this on different parts of the lake with similar conditions.

    Personally, I have not mastered the suspended fish techniques on my home lake of Wylie, but it is something I plan to work on this summer. I think it is the key to finding big fish in the summer.[/quote]

    Same here Wylie. Reading those electronics are very important to the thermocline. Need to be able to tell what the thermocline is on your finder.