Those Winter Time Blue Catfish

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by catfishcentral, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

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    Every winter I’ve been looking forward to another great blue cat season. I love chasing them whether it’s jug fishing or rod & reel. I do catch big blues all year long but I always seem to catch a higher percentage of bigger blues during the winter. Where one 20 pound blue during the summer would make me happy…. I may catch 9 or 10 blues over twenty pounds in a day in the winter. I’ve always heard that the blue cat fishing is better during the winter and the last four years has proven it to me. The big question I guess is why is they’re a higher percentage of bigger blues caught during the cold-water period? I know there always the stories of winter shad kills that the catfish will gorge on but how does this relate to more bigger fish being caught.

    Well here is my theory on why I catch a higher percentage of bigger blues. We all know catfish especially those blues are pigs when it comes to eating. I’ve always notice that most of the pictures of blues caught with huge stomachs that look like they’re going to explode are usually caught during the winter or early spring months when the water is cold. I’ve caught little 3-pound blue cats that when I cut open their stomachs I counted over 30 2 to 3 inch shad in their bellies. Those big blues could probably hold a couple hundred shad in their stomachs. Now when you think of a fish’s metabolism the colder the water the slower their metabolism is able to digest food. Therefore my theory on why bluecats have such bigger stomachs during the winter is for one, their pigs and will fit any piece of food that they can fit into their mouth and their slower metabolism makes their stomachs overflow. So now why does this relate to bigger fish being caught during the winter? I simply think that the bigger fish, since they have a larger belly will hold more food and your bait has a better chance of being eaten by a large fish than a smaller one. It’s kind of like the big bait equals bigger fish. A big bait doesn’t guarantee a bigger fish but simply’s keeps the much higher percentage of smaller fish away from your bait. Where a smaller fish say’s ” I cant eat another bite” those bigger fish can eat just another small shad. I do know this for sure I’ve learned to size down my shad or other baitfish during the winter. I’ve throw out LOTS of jugs during the winter and shad that are bigger than four inches don’t get eaten. The smaller shad are the only one’s that usually get eaten. Well I spend too much time thinking about this stuff. What are your thoughts on the subject.
     
  2. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

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    7,241
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    Nice post Chris. I read with interest your findings and no doubt I'm sure there is some merit to your observations. Also, I think you catch bigger fish during the winter months because larger fish are OLDER and have become better at adapting to changing conditions like weather, water temp, barometric pressure, sky cover etc etc. Smaller fish are much more sensitive to these changes and will not be active. You may have noticed that in all species of fish, especially bass, that more trophy fish are caught during changing and marginal weather conditions. They just, (in simple terms) are use to it and it doesnt effect them as much. Also, in late winter, the Big Blues will begin to gorge in preparation for the spring spawn. This is very similiar to Whitetail Deer and their habit patterns before the rut. Good Luck Fishin!!!!!
     

  3. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

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    3,004
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    Los Angele
    I am a big believer in Winter time blues. Thats when I have caught my biggest blues. I also think that some waters produce better in the winter time in certain Area. Like in San Diego waters, winter time is king for the blues. The fall time also is a good period as the water tend to cool off. Good observation on your winter blues.
     
  4. crazy

    crazy New Member

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    2,090
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    Kansas CIty, MO
    I can't wait to fish winter time blues this year. Will be my first time fishing on the missouri river in the winter. Do you guys have a hard time finding bait in the winter time? Or do you go to the same spots to throw your nets as you do in the sumer?
     
  5. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

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    I usually end up going to the same spots that I catch shad in the summer for the winter also. I know they say that shad will move to deeper water where the water will actually be slightly warmer. This may be true for some shad but I still end up catching them in as little as 3 feet of water. The only hard thing is you never see the shad flipping on the surface in the winter time like they do in the summer. I end up throwing the net quite a bit more in the winter since it's harder to locate the shad. The shad do end up being right at the bottom... so you need to let your net drop all the way to the bottom to catch them most of the time. I guess all the water turtles hibernate at the bottom of the river because I always end up catching a few in the cast net during the winter months when my net hits bottom. Last winter I remember catching 6 red ear sliders one day in the cast net when the water temp was 38 degrees and the air temp was below 20 degrees.
     
  6. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

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    One thing I do highly recommend which I should probably do all the time is be more safety minded when winter fishing. A fall into that water with all those layers of clothes on will certainly kill you without a life jacket and a friend in the boat. I always wear my life vest in the winter, pack extra change of clothes, towels and never go alone during the winter.
     
  7. jim

    jim New Member

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    2,579
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    Jacksonville NC
    I think from observation of winter shad kills that what happens is first as the water cools the baitfish concentrate.They head for the warmest water in the lake which also happens for the most part to be the deepest.Remember the remarkable qualities of water, the coldest floats and the warmest is deep.At Santee this results in huge concentrations of the shad in front of the dams.In lake with deep water throughout they will hold again in the warmest so they might not be as concentrated at "One"particular spot but concentrations throughout the lake.This concentration of course draws the predators which is why I think you get more big fish then.There are simply more of them concentrated and exposed to good fishermen at that time.Once the water warms the bait disperses and so do the predators.This happens with most fish including bass,they simply react to their age old insticnts and follow large concentrations of bait.At Santee they also concentrate over the clam and mussell beds because they can feed quite easily.Again more big fish in smaller areas due to temperature,the more they are exposed to smart fishermen that take advantage of the seasonal patterns.
     
  8. Bosshawg

    Bosshawg New Member

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    25
    State:
    Madisonville, TX
    Love that winter time blue fishin. I have noticed that the private lakes I fish almost exclusively produce big blues in the winter. Last year thats all I caugt from my main lake (blues 15+lbs up to 62lbs). Nothing smaller than that. This summer as I have fished it, the blues elude me all together. All I have been catching is med. channel cats not one blue. :confused: Not sure why, but thats whats been happening. I have tried different locations and baits with no luck hooking up with a nice blue. Can't wait for winter!
     
  9. fwmud

    fwmud New Member

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    693
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    Wilson's Mills,nc
    Jim, Chris, very good, informitive post there brothers.
    I din't know the science of "why" till now, I just knew that I always had better luck on blues in colder months.
    Also, I prefer the colder times for many reasons, lack of Bugs, pwc's and the like.
    Thanks again for the great info.
    Really enjoyed having what I personally knew to be explained.
    :D
     
  10. Mr Phatkat

    Mr Phatkat New Member

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    222
    State:
    Charleston sc
    I like all the ideas and I myself dont have a clue. All i know is winter time has always been best for all big fish for me. Some fish i only fish for in winter because i know im gonna get a sizeable catch(like walleye). As for the blues, id surmised that the shad are more sluggish and easier targets for big (perhaps lazy)blues and the ones that die off dont rot so quick in the winter so there are more freshly dead ones available. I guess another thing worth considering is the mussels. Those things wash up and if u notice when u get a big blue theyll (more in the winter than in the summer) have what feels like a bag of rocks for a gut. So it has been my belief that in the winter there is better quality food more readily available. I just dont see those big cats resisting a meal that they dont have to chase down so much.
     
  11. Stubby

    Stubby New Member

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    208
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    Kansas, Ar
    Good Post Chris. And, I think you are right.
    Stubby
     
  12. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

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    DeSoto, MO
    If I may, I'd like to officially rename our seasons here in the states.
    Blue Season, Blue Season, Deer Season, and Blue Season. Hope noone minds. :) :)
     
  13. zebcohobo202

    zebcohobo202 New Member

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    63
    Good post Chris. I'm usually in a stand or a blind all winter, so your post got me thinking I might me missing out.
     
  14. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

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    In the winter I will fish and hunt at the same time. I deer hunt on public land that's really only accessable by boat. We will throw jugs out and then get into the stand. My deer stands are only about 50 yards from the river and you can watch your jugs drift by while your waiting to put a arrow into a deer. I took a nice fat doe last fall and then pick up 20 blues off my jugs. Redneck Surf and Turf. :)
     
  15. roofermike

    roofermike New Member

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    92
    State:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    Nice posts catfishcentral I am definately headed out this winter now!!!!!!!!
     
  16. fwmud

    fwmud New Member

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    693
    State:
    Wilson's Mills,nc
    "Redneck surf and Turf"! LOL! That is truely a great one.
    Besides the fact that I usually have better luck, It's probably for me is I just don't like the heat and bugs.
    Thats 1 of the reasons I enjoy winter fishing the most.
     
  17. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

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    "REDNECK SURF AND TURF" Now thats funny right der, I dont care who you are, dats funny. :grin-big:
     
  18. catman872

    catman872 Member

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    306
    State:
    missouri
    I have heard that you can put a big dent in the fish pop. in an area in the winter if you get in the right hole. Because they are so concentrated.
    being my first winter with a boat im looking forward to some winter time cattin action.
    Just take what ya can eat
     
  19. master_cat

    master_cat New Member

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    686
    State:
    tennessee
    i like fishin the winter months the fish school up and are easyer to find
     
  20. Catfight

    Catfight New Member

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    56
    State:
    Summerfield N.C.
    Wintertime Blues, yeah Baby! live bait in Summer cutbait in Winter. I love a good Catfight.