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Trying for flathead catfish - How long to wait?

6328 Views 25 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  comanchero
I found a very nice large hole in a large river a few weeks ago. The hole is made by a kind of rock bar/wing dam that ends about mid way out in the river. On the down side of the rock bar the water is maybe 20 feet deep and on the tip of the rock bar its maybe 5 to 7 feet deep. LOTS of snags in the hole. This sounds like a PRIME spot to me and I have been pulling one to two flats out of it a night. The problem is I fish from 8PM to about 6AM and only get one or two bites the whole time???? Should I be moving around more and trying to locate more fish? Does it sound like this hole has been fished out?
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what are you using for bait? maybe you need a different type of bait
Some say flats are pretty much loners. When one gets ahold of a hole, he runs the others off, unless they are big enough to run him off. If a hole is big enough, more than one may hole up there. If you drag one out of his hole, another will soon replace it. Hope this helps.
I've taught myself to give a hole 30 mintues to an hour and if it don't produce I leave and go to another spot.If I sit down on my first hole ,say at 8PM and it gets dark at 9:00PM,I'll fish it till 9:30PM,If it's fixing to get dark I'll give that hole a little more time,just so I'm on a good hole at sunset.I don't want to be hunting a hole at sunset,to me that's bite time.I beleive in moving and trying to get that aggressive bite.If I pull a good fish from the hole,I'll stay 30 extra mintues to see if it will produce again.I also beleive if you sit down on a hole and just don't feel good about it,you need to leave,reason being,if I don't feel confident in a hole ,I just don't fish it hard or I just sit there wishing I had more 30 mintues earlier.Follow your gut feeling sometimes,you'll see it helps. :0a26: FLATHEADS ARE HOME STEADERS ,if he's not home go to the neighboors,they may be having a ho-down. :D
lol ho down that was to funny ....but how long after you catch one will another move into it's hole?
I'm using live gills for bait. The hole is about 100 yards long and 40 feet wide. I'd say this is a large hole??? If this this spot tonight and had ZERO bites. I'd also like to know how long it takes for new fish to move in?
Maybe the fish are moving out of the hole to feed. What is the surrounding area like? If there are shallow flats or shoals, they could be feeding in those areas as dark falls.
From what I've long you should wait at a hole depends entirely upon who you ask. And justifiably so...every body of water is different, and every differing condition changes things. I fish a low water dam primarily, and theres been times I have sat there without a bite at a certain honeyhole for 6 - 8 hours...and then all of a sudden the action turns on like someone flipped a switch. Other times I have hit a fish right off the bat and the action doesnt cease for hours. And yet other times I just simply dont get a bite....and then other times the hits are seperated by a half hour to two hours apart. Confidence in your spot is well as the type of spot you're fishing. Think about it like this...if you're cruising the river and jumping from spot to're probably dealing with territorial fish that spend most of their lives in one spot next to a log, ball of roots, muddy ledge, or rock pile. A prime example is this...I visited Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri a few years back, and there was a flathead sitting in a little nook right beside where you go down into the viewing aquarium where they feed the fish...I went back over a year later and looked in that nook...and there was the same flathead sitting in the same place...if that tells you anything. I have been back since...and didnt see the flathead...I asked one of the divers about it, and she said they had to get rid of it because it wasnt playing well with the other tended to sit still during the day and wouldnt eat the dry food they feed the rest of the fish...preferring instead to eat the other least the ones it could fit into its mouth. There is right now an 80 lb bluecat in there...but she said it is satisfied with the dry food now...but when it first got put into the aquarium....the very first nite...a record sized 4 lb crappie came up missing overnite when there was nobody there.
However...if you fish a low water that the fish cant pass over...they tend to concentrate and congregate in that area....laying low during the day...and spreading out to feed in nearby riffles at night. There are exceptions to these habits in my experience though. I fish a low water dam on the Neosho river that impedes the progress of migrating flatheads and blue cats. The fishing there is as good during the day as it is during the night for flats and for blues. The flats prowl back and forth along the low water dam and all you need to do is anchor...throw out your live bait...and wait. Something will be along sooner or later and at the very least liberate your bait for you...either that or get hooked. Notice I didnt say get thats not always the case as we all know. The old addage is true..."Thats why they call it fishing son...and not catching."
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I have one spot that I fish from the bank that has produced a lot of small flatties in the previous years. Usually then I could catch from 3-7 flats in a four hour time frame that would weigh anywhere from 4-8 pounds. This year, I have only pulled 2 flats from there but both were a 18 and a 15 pounder. I think the bigger ones are not as active and dont feed as often as the smaller ones do. Sometimes it would take about 2 hours in between runs. Theres a lot of good info in the previous posts, just got to sort it out and apply what works in your fishing hole. Good luck.
Everyone is basically saying to use my gut feeling about this hole, my gut feeling is that this hole needs a break. So far this year we have pulled a 48#,a 39#,2-35# several18# and a bunch of smaller ones. I think i'm gonna wait to fish it till the weather starts getting cold. Thanks for your help.
i see flatheads as big predatory fish like a muskie or pike. theres only so many large ones. large fish needs alot of food. if you took all those big fish out of there and the hole is as big as you said theres other people taking big fish out of there most likely. i would give it a brake and fish it for an hour a night or something. then you can try to catch a big one but you dont waste your time.
if ya need someone to watch over it for ya and let know how it's doin....just give me a holla! lol :rolleyes:
I like to wait at a spot atleast until a 1/2 after dark. I f I haven't caught any fish I will move to another spot and so on. But, I don't think the waiting is the question after you telling what you have already pulled out of this whole this year. THE QUESTION IS HAS ANYONE ELSE FOUND A WHOLE THIS GOOD AND THIS PRODUCTIVE THIS YEAR????
Ya might do alittle better if ya fish the hole during the day and swallows at night.
I like to spend the whole night at one specific spot...especially if I have caught big fish from that spot. With conditions always changing, if the fish are there, they may bite, but it may take some time. As for your situation.... with that many taken out, it might be a while before I would fish it, unless you have been practicing CPR.....

What is everyones belief on catch and release??
CPR here
nuthinlikeacat said:
What is everyones belief on catch and release??
CPR here
I just got geared up for big flats, I've never caught one before. When I catch my first one 20#+ I will keep and eat it, no matter what it's size. After the first I suppose it will depend entirely on how much meat is in the freezer, but I plan on releasing anything over 20# immediately. Of course that rule applies after the first one. :D
ever try fresh cut bait shortbus? i have had days when they seamed to be inactive and they only hit cut,fished tight to cover. other days they want live or both. i give a hole 1 hour,but fish many spots within that hole in that time.
I have never tried fresh cut bait on flatheads. What do you use? bream,shad??
I use a double rig on a 3 way with a live Gill on an 18" leader and a piece of cutbait on a 2" leader. The cutbait seems to draw them in, then they usually nail the live gill once they get there. I love a good Catfight.
also cut shad is tough and hard to get off, if you see that your not gettin bit ,reel er in and change to a different area maybe closer to the bank or whatever. patience is the key and workin the water when its slow like that.. :)
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