When are Blue Catfish the most active?

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Rookie12, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    I was just wondering what input I could get on when you thought that blues were most active. From my experiences I have found that the bite is best during stable weather with steaady barometric pressure and on a day with light wind. It seems that windy days aren't too good, but then wind usually accompanies a front which will cause the barometric pressure to fall and kill the bite. I have learned that blues are very sensitive fish. what have you found that will cause the fish to move shallow, back off real deep?, or shut down altogether. I'm trying to pattern the local fish here on Badin and Tillery. Tomahawk has helped me a lot with them. Just curious what others have found. Thanks for the input!!
     
  2. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    I think it would be hard to catch them right now because of the shad kill. I have talked to several folks that have been out and caught a few in the last couple of weeks and they said that they caught them while drift fishing with shad. The fish that they caught had been gorging themselves on shad and their bellies were super extended. I think you would be hard pressed to catch them on skipjack right now. Hope this helps!!!
     

  3. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Very Good Post JW, never thought of that .. 10 +
     
  4. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    I've been out in the last couple weeks and done pretty well. The water temp. here in NC is around the mid forties still. I think the die off occurs when the temp. gets mor ein the thirties. Most of the lakes that I fish also have more gizzard shad than threadfins. Gizzards are mor hardier than threadfins and can stand lower water temps.
    Last Fri. I got 16 blues from 10-24 lbs. They were in about 25' of water. It was a pretty good day. later!!
     
  5. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I'm of two minds about using skipjack when the blues are feeding on dead shad. "Match the hatch" is an extremely successful method of catching just about any kind of fish, but I think that when a nice thick T-bone shows up at a fish fry, it's going to attract attention. Granted, some are going to keep on eating the same old thing, but a lot of others are going to grab the T-bone. If you think of a nice chunk of skipjack as the T-bone, some of the catfish are going to find it more attractive than the same old dead shad that they've been eating. There are two other points about using a premium bait that's different from the current prevailing food. First, I think everybody will agree that with their millions of 'taste buds' all over their bodies, catfish will definitely know when something different (like skipjack) drifts by, whether they're attracted to it or not. The biggest problem with 'matching the hatch' is that your bait is just one of the millions already out there. There's nothing to make your bait stand out from all those other baits, and the chances of a cat just happening to eat your shad instead of another one are pretty slim. I mean, when we're using live bream for bait, we remove some scales, clip some fins, or make a small cut to make that bait look, smell, taste, and act different, because before a gamefish can eat that bait, the bait has to attract the attention of the gamefish.
     
  6. Cataholic

    Cataholic Guest

    Jerry you are right on the money!
    Yesterday afternoon Cataholic Jr. and myself decided that the fresh frozen Skippy's in my freezer were begging to be dropped in deep water. The temperature was 68 degrees and the barometer was falling to steady at 29.80 or thereabouts and overcast. We weren't going to stay past dark cause our girls were sitting home waiting for the Chefs (us) to return. Our trip was short to right over here on the Illinois bayou under the bridge where it heads for Dardanelle. We noticed the Gulls were swarming the cove picking Shad virtually at will while we crossed the bridge and smiled at each other knowing that the fishes were there. We parked the truck and at a hardy trot headed underneath the bridge and our baits in the water about 3:30 P.M. We hadn't sat long at all and JR.s little rod jumped, A small Blue about 2 pounds and before he got the hook out the tip of his big outfit bowed towards the water with a steady pull, an 8 pound Channel, Nice Fish! It was about a half hour later when "Brutus" (my 6'6" kitty stick) lunged forward, a 10-12 pound Blue female had inhaled my offering and was at my mercy. She ended up on our stringer and our mouths began to water thinking that'll stink up some grease! I put "Brutus" back in virtually the same spot and didn't get a smoke finished before another exceptional 10 or 12 pound female did the same. Although we had to go as it was getting late if we'd have stayed I'm sure we could have caught several more. Even with an abundance of Shad present all I found in their stomachs was Skipjack and that told me these girls weren't out looking for a snack, they were looking for that T-Bone! :cool:
     
  7. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    I wish they would have been after frozen skips the last two trips on the mighty mississippi. THe guys down there during the winter only use shad and they catch a lot of big fish.
     
  8. Rookie12

    Rookie12 New Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    State:
    Kannapolis, NC
    Sounds like skipjacks are a pretty darn good bait. I don't even think that we've got them around here. All we have are gizzard shad, threadfin shad and blueback herring. These are the main 3 that I use. Gizzards do well this time of year, herring seem to be better during the hot months and I'll use whatever threaadfins get mixed in. Also use white perch cut and whole thorughout the year. Do you catch skipjacks with a castnet, how big are they, and does anyone know if there are any in NC. I haven't ever heard of anyone using them here locally. Thanks!!
     
  9. Blue Bruiser

    Blue Bruiser New Member

    Messages:
    200
    State:
    St Louis, Missouri
    Hey Rookie,
    As far as patterning the fish in your area goes, it is actually quite simple. Some say you can't consistently pattern big cats, I tend to disagree. What I have found to work wonderfully for me is to start yourself a log. Get youself a notebook and a pen and stick it in with your gear. Fish as much as possible and get as much information as possible that day. I use the date , time, temp, water temp, pressure, location, and bait used. If you log every fish you catch and later analyze this log you will soon come to realize when to fish, what to bait up with, and what pound test you BETTER be usin. :) Hope this helps.

    Bruiser
     
  10. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Forget all that shad stuff!!!NEVER fish for blues until after the local KFC opens.Then try and position your boat close to where MELLON is fishing.
     
  11. tkishkape

    tkishkape New Member

    Messages:
    782
    State:
    Gore, Okla
    In the winter, fish for blues during the daytime in shallow water near a dropoff. It's the best time of the year to catch blues. :thumbsup:
     
  12. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    State:
    Cordova, TN
    Tim: Where do you order your leeches from, and what kind to you get? And how long can you keep them alive? I've only fished with them once with a guide up on Lake Barkley (TN) and we knocked 'em dead. He liked to add a little piece of shrimp on the hook too!!!
     
  13. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    if you can get on the water during the first few days of a shad kill you should do pretty well because they will be gorging if you wait to long after the kill starts the fish will be full and you may have a hard time finding fish that are willing to bite.
     
  14. BAM

    BAM New Member

    Messages:
    827
    State:
    Tennessee
    Rookie12, skipjack are herring.
     
  15. kybunniebuster

    kybunniebuster New Member

    Messages:
    82
    State:
    winchester kentucky
    whats up with this shad kill do they just die off or someone putting somthing in the water to kill them? reason im asking is i seen alot of shad floating in the creek we was fishing yesterday . i tried to use some shad for bait never had anything touch it i found that funny cause that is what i usely catch them on in this creek,,, was just wondering
     
  16. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    The shad die off when the water temps drop below their tolerance level. It's a yearly occurence in these parts. We do well in the deeper holes during the colder months. There's plenty of dead shad lying around in the bottom of the holes. Then is a good time to have some fresh shad on hand. They can be caught by castnetting around the mouths of feeder creeks and other tributaries...also warm water discharges are a great place to look. Fresh shad presents them with a tastier food source than the same old long dead shad they're most often scavenging this time of year. Make no mistake though...they will still be feeding on live shad. So the old rule of finding out where the baitfish are...and you'll find the blues does not go out the window.

    We'll find schools of shad close to the river channel ledges in 50' to 70' of water during the winter...and 9 times of 10 there's blues nearby. Another good tactic is to find schooling striper that are feeding on shad. The blues will be underneath the mellee feeding on the leftovers.
     
  17. Creek6

    Creek6 New Member

    Messages:
    55
    State:
    OK
    I always thought the best time here in OK was when the south wind had returned after a cold front had passed, but this winter I 've caught them on a north wind too, so that theory is out.
     
  18. CrawDaddy

    CrawDaddy New Member

    Messages:
    379
    State:
    Texas
    Here on the Miss river in Baton Rouge LA, my buddy has been logging our trips for 2 years now. We found a huge correlation between water level and catfish catching numbers. When the level is between 18-23' we've had the most success. Last year we had an exceptionally good few weeks. We later found out that a barge and tug had sunk. The barge was carrying grain and we were fishing right above where itr sunk. That was a fun few weekends.
     
  19. CrawDaddy

    CrawDaddy New Member

    Messages:
    379
    State:
    Texas
    Is there a tool you could buy to measure barometric pressure or do you just go by weather reports?
     
  20. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    Crawdaddy, you can readily find barometers at any outdoor store. Lowes, Home Depot, Bass Pro, big Hardware stores etc. Barometric Pressure is measured by inches of Mercury, similiar to the thermostat in your house. You can use the weather forcast for this number, however its important to understand they are giving you a number from their measuring station which could be dozens of miles from where you fish. No big deal when you have the big H on top of you (high pressure) but during changing weather conditions and frontal activity, barometric pressure can vary by a very large margin in just a few miles. I highly recommend using your own personal barometer so that you have an accurate measurement for your area. A quick glance at the weather channel will give you barometric trend information and you can check for frontal activity and frontal boundarys, then you can fine tune from there with your own barometer. Hope this helps.