What is a typical Flathead bite sequence?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by USE TO BE, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. USE TO BE

    USE TO BE New Member

    Messages:
    130
    State:
    Ohio
    I've only been fishing for Flats for about a month. I fish in Seneca Lake in Ohio every weekend and mostly at night. What is a typical Flathead run or bite like? I know most of the Channels I catch just rip the bait real fast a few feet at a time. I've heard that a Flat runs slow and steady? Is this true most of the time, or does it vary? I'm using live gills for bait and ocasionally a rock bass. I sure hope I can catch one before the end of the season. I know they are there because another guy usually catches atleast one every weekend.
     
  2. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,463
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    David,
    I don't think there is a "typical" flathead bite that applies everywhere although I do believe that fish in a certain lake or certain area of a lake my show a similar bite pattern. As you mentioned the flathead is known for it's slow steady bite but can just as easily rip off line in a big hurry. It is not at all unusual to get a very short but vicious bite and then everything goes quiet. If you reel in you will find the bait dead from what is referred to as the kill strike. The trick is to not reel in but just wait. The fish will very often come back and eat the bait. Sometimes they will take the bait and just sit there almost chewing it and it hardy registers on the rod top.
    You really have to decide for yourself which kind of bite is happening. If they are taking the bait vigorously or doing the kill strike/return then a single large hook will work fine. Just put the hook to them when you feel them moving off. If they are just mouthing the bait a two hook quick strike rig is better. Set on them as soon as you detect any movement. Good luck...W
     

  3. fishinjunky

    fishinjunky Member

    Messages:
    267
    State:
    Nebraska
    i caught a 53 pounder a week and a half ago on the missouri river, he did not bite it he took it and ripped off at least 50 yards off my reel in no time. no play or anything my rod just buckled over and started hitting my boat motor. he did do the typical flathead fight though basically drift up and get dragged to the boat then rip a bunch a drag out again and do it all over again. then again alot of the smaller flatheads i catch will hit really hard then they wont struggle at all then i go to move to different spot and i'll reel in and their will be a flatty on the end of the line.
     
  4. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,227
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    It varies, sometimes they take off like a freight train and other times they will just tug a few times then swim off slowly with the bait. Typical characteristics that I have noticed most of the time is a "kill strike". They will pick up the baitfish, kill it, drop it, and then come back to eat it. Ive caught most of my flatheads on the 2nd strike or run.
     
  5. Polish Moose

    Polish Moose New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    Illinois
    For the most part I agree with metalman. Flatheads do some strange things with baits. Sometimes they just hit them and you bring it in they are dead, other times you don't see a hit at all but you pick it up and a fish is on.

    The most aggrivating is when they hit it and start moving off nice and slow and you just feel the slack as they drop it. Your heart sinks and you just hope they come back to hit it, but I have never had them come back. You wonder is there something I could have done? How big was it? They will keep you second guessing your every move.

    The most common strike would be a big hit, and they start moving off with it. If you are locked in your rod will start loading up, but if you are not you can free spool them. Sometimes they stop and start moving off again at which point I lock them in and set the hook. Other times they continue to move off at which point you have to make a call on when to set the hook. If you let them go too long you may have too much line out and net get a hook set. Good luck.
     
  6. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I'm sure it does vary, but my flathead bites are pretty standard. I fish a medium to small river and here's the standard bite -

    Often there is a small initial thump, which I believe is when they suck in the bait. (I do not believe that my flatheads "kill strike" the bait. I have removed baits from the mouth of landed flatheads that were still kicking. I'm sure it depends onthe size of the bait relative to the size of the flathead, but with typical size sunfish and any flathead over a few pounds, all they have to do is suck it in).

    After the thump there is generally a brief pause, just a couple of seconds, during which I am guessing they are moving the bait in their mouth.

    Then the rod slowly bends down. (I always fish with the reel engaged - have a much higher hook up ratio that way.) Sometimes the rod will start to bend down then slwoly straighten. Sometimes it will bend down a ways and then pop up. DO NOT TOUCH THE ROD UNTIL THE FISH IS HOOKED UP. If there's any doubt, WAIT. If you go for the rod too soon you will probably scare the fish off. Wait until you are sure he is hooked. Most missed fish come fromo trying to set the hook too soon. Fish that are on for a few seconds then come off, it's because the hook was just in a bit of lip or whicker and then tears out. If you've seen the kind of tough tissue in a cats mouth, then you know - once they are hooked they do not come off, unless hooked by a skinny bit that tears. Now, by wait, I don't mean "let him run with it." Like I said, I have a better hoo up ratio letting the fish hook themselves (using kahle hooks, by the way), and if you let the fish run off with the bait, they are more likely to be gut hooked and/or to get into a snag.
     
  7. irishangler

    irishangler New Member

    Messages:
    115
    State:
    Virginia
    I use heavier spinning reels with baitfeeders when using live bait for flatheads. Many times the bait will get "nervous" and there will be more activity triggering the baitfeeder to play out some line just before a flathead takes it. Usually it suddenly stops and then I'll see a steady and slightly faster pull of line. I'll switch off the baitfeeder and will usually get a steady bend on the rod. I use circle hooks almost all of the time and simply reeling down will secure a good hook-up. Then the fun starts.
     
  8. Cattoo

    Cattoo New Member

    Messages:
    603
    State:
    caneyville,ky.
    i have been catching several smaller flats the last several weeks below cannelton dam in some very heavy current and almost all of them just barely peck the bait and just sit there. you really have to watch your rod tip or better yet pick it up and feel the bite. i keep my rod tip high and when i feel the taps i start dropping it slowly and tightening the slack then when i believe they have it good enough i sweep the rod tip up. i also, as was stated in another post in this thread, caught a couple i didnt even know were there. they were just sitting on bottom with hook in mouth. now not all the flats were feeding like this because every so often you would see some of them actually leaping at the surface attacking schools of skipjacks.
     
  9. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    David,

    I like to watch my rod tip. Typically the bait fish will get hyped up, then the fish will CHOMP down on the bait, then the clicker will go out steadily.
     
  10. Dadoftwo

    Dadoftwo New Member

    Messages:
    382
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    I am fairly new to fishing for flattys myself. From what I have had so far, they will strip a few feet of line off then everything is quiet. A minute or two later the line screams off the real. I am using the clicker on my reels. I am using cirlce hooks so on the second run I engage the brake and let the fish hook themselves. Good luck. This is something you have to figure what works best for you.
     
  11. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    David, I have come to experience just about every type of bite. The only one that has never happened to me is that they take the bait and just sit with it till you decide to change baits and he's there lol. I have caught 30 and 40 pound flats (river) that charge off making the clicker scream. But that is normally the way the smaller 10 and under crowd prefer. Most of the 30 and 40 pounders seem to do the kill-strike, then come back in 15 or 20 minutes, or they inhale and move off slow like they have nothing better to do. Don't give up too early on a Kill-Strike, wait at least 20 minutes before checking your bait. Flatheads are territorial and tempremental. They will kill a bait that is invading their turf after giving it many warning passes and it wont leave. Sometimes that is what you see when your bait doesn't move for long periods then all the sudden "WAKES UP" then quiets down then "WAKES-UP" again. It is the flathead trying to make it leave the area, when it wont (or can't) they come out and kill it. Then they back off and watch, when it doesn't float away they come back and eat it. LOL Which is good for you. You will just have to put in the time and effort till you start seeing patterns. They aren't always the same, but after so many channels, turtles, gar.....etc you will figure out the flathead bite.