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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Attached is a picture of my favorite flathead area. The yellow area is a big flat with little to no structure present at about 6-7 foot in depth. The blue area is a channel that comes from main-lake area. Further to the left of the picture is the mouth of a small-medium size creek with no current. #1 is a large single tree just past where the channel ends with about 8-9 foot depth. (#1 has produced one 39lb flathead and several small 6-7 lb flatheads) #2 is a a large tree above water with alot of downed trees (submerged) in about 12-15 foot depth. (several flathead fisherman say this is a honey hole but I have never caught a flathead in it) #3 is a single tree in about 6-7 foot of water with another channel that is 10-12 foot near it. (again have never caught flatheads from this area) Where would you guys start and how long at each area?
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Steven from Georgia
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Id fish all of them,

Just looking at the pic,
Id start the morning out either on the point marked in yellow or on the down current side of the island. Then id fish the individual trees.

If the water is flowing left to right. It would make number 2 a classic spot. Old river channel comes close to the bank with cover too boot.

If #2 gets fished by alot of people it could offset the fact that its a good spot.

I give each spot 45 minutes. If a spot has produced big fish in the past im liable to stay there 1.5 hours.
 

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Steve from Mississippi
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I too would fish them all. I move a lot. Usually only about 30min per spot. If I am targeting flatheads specifically, I might stay an hour to an hour and 15min. And sometimes I might only move 80 to 100 yards. Time of day at each spot will be important. They might not move up into the shallower water until low light (dusk to dawn).
 

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Mayhem, are you boat fishing or bank fishing? Only reason I ask is maneuverability . I would likely hit all those spots in the course of a trip. But thats fishing from a boat, I stick and move quite a bit.

In the course of an 10 hour day of fishing last weekend, we pulled/set anchor about 15 times. Not necessarily because theres not fish at a spot, but because I am looking for that aggressive fish that is ready to eat. Ive found that most of my bites come from the first 15 min. or so of having baits out at a new spot. Then the rate of bites slows down considerably.

I say all that because all of those spots you mentioned are potential fish spots. Now if you are bank fishing , then I would focus my efforts on the timber spots in deeper water and I would fish them at the most active feeding times ( in my experience , right at dark there always seems to be a flurry of feeding, I think the bait is just settling into their night time hiding spots and the predators are catching them in the little period between day and night)

I would also spend time trying to figure out where I could hit the edge of the channel from the bank. The flatheads are going to use the edge of the channel like a highway.

Also, when you have a lake that appears to not have much in the way of structure, you want to look for any little piece that you can find. A flathead will call a little log home if he can nestle up beside it. Doesnt have to be a big logjam to hold a fish and sometimes its not a numbers game.

If you find a little piece of log and theres a 30# fish cuddled up beside it because thats the only cover around....then its worth hitting that spot.
 

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Winston, Indiana
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Given that any spot can produce a fish on any day, I would be inclined to fish each of those spots occasionally as they all have classic features........
...... But,.... with the fact that guys regard that one spot as a honey hole, its possible that whole area gets way too much attention, especially if there is bank access.

...W
 

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They all look like they have some potential , I like the channel swing close to the bank best, for flatheads I give each spot 1/2 hour to an hour . If fishing Blues I will set 1 to 3 hours , they seem to travel more than Flats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Awesome info guys ...just to clarify, I will be fishing from my boat. None of the spots get much boat or fishing pressure and there is never a current on this lake. I have been trying to figure these flatheads out for months and always seem to begin to doubt myself after a few non productive trips. Gonna hit these spots hopefully tomorrow after sundown and give each about an hour. Using live gills and pumpkinseeds on a standard Santee copper rig.
 

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Mayhem, what do you reckon the water temp is right now at that lake? I would think y'all gotta be getting up close to spawn temps? I'm a yankee, our water is still pretty cold but pur temps are picking up , I imagine its quote a bit warmer down there lol!

When do they spawn in your neck of the woods?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mayhem, what do you reckon the water temp is right now at that lake? I would think y'all gotta be getting up close to spawn temps? I'm a yankee, our water is still pretty cold but pur temps are picking up , I imagine its quote a bit warmer down there lol!

When do they spawn in your neck of the woods?
Last outing water temp was 68-69 degrees ...every year is different but usually around June July they start spawning and the bite usually dies for a month ...

This lake never has current and I’m trying to learn the locations of lake flatheads and their feeding routes/ patterns...
 

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If you are fishing for flatheads at night, I would also anchor in middle of your yellow highlighted shallow area and spread my baits out as far as I could all around the boat; targeting flatheads patrolling the shallows at night. I would also anchor to the left and then the right of the island in the far left of your screenshot, targeting fish being funneled around the island. I don't know if your state has a limit to how many rods you can fish, but if no limit, I would throw 12 rods out all around the boat, as far as I can throw to cover a large area. Very different than throwing 2 baits at a single tree, but it covers a much larger area.
 

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Several years ago I got skunked. On the 1 hour drive back home, I realized that all 5 places I had anchored were the same. They were all off points that I could anchor on the slope and hit the shallow water with some baits and the base of the slope in deep water as well as some baits staggered at various depths on the slope. I thought I had it all covered, but I got skunked. On the way home I realized I was fishing the same pattern, over and over. They could have been on the shallow flats. They could have been on the mussel shell beds, or in the back of creek fed coves, or chasing schools of threadfin suspended in deep water, or, or, or....

So, what I am saying is all your spots seem to be the same. River channel with sunken tree structure. You said you are fishing at night. The flatheads may be tight to the sunken trees during the day, but traveling looking for forage at night.

So my suggestion is: try the holes you suggested. But if they are not producing, try places outside the box. Try the shallow flat you marked in yellow. Where are you catching bait? Try fishing where the bait is; whether that is shallow or deep, in coves or in the main lake. The big catfish like to be where their food is. When I get to the lake to catch bait, I run up and down the lake looking for the diving seagulls, or I look for a bunch of boats congregated catching crappie or white perch. Then I go back and anchor for catfish in the same areas they were catching the perch or crappie. This time of year our big cats are getting ready to spawn and moving upriver to get stacked up with dams preventing them from going any further upriver. I anchor below the dams. When the wind is blowing, I will anchor on the far side bank because the bait will be blown that way and the cats will follow. During the winter, I may try the deeper water down river, because that is where I have had success. If there are bright lights on the bank or docks, I may trying anchoring on the edge of the light and the dark in the water. Etc, etc, etc.

Again, if you are not catching them where you would think they should be. Then try places that are totally different. You may get surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
UPDATE:

Loaded up and hit the lake about 6PM yesterday. 20-25 pumpkinseed sunnies in my livewell for bait. Headed out and hit spot #2 first, with lines in water by 730PM. No bites after 1 1/2 hrs, so pulled anchor and moved to spot #3. Another hour and a half with no bites, pulled anchor and moved into the creek. Located a ledge in the creek about 14ft with 7-8ft around it. Beached the boat and set out baits. Picked up a 15lb blue cat along the bank in about 3-4 foot of water. Baited back up and picked up another two 6-7 lb channel cats. Fun to catch but not what I was after. Moved to a rocky area and pitched baits against the bank. No takers. Pulled anchor and headed in about 3AM. It had rained pretty good recently earlier and there was a constant drizzle. Guess I gotta just keep at it.
 

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*** edit- not sure why but my phone has issues with quoting previous posters post - the post below is in response to Mayhems post about the water temp.

Here in PA the last week in July is a great time to catch a giant because they are mostly done spawning and the big fish are putting the feed back on. (Thats here in PA, I'm way north of you)

I would have expected them to be spawning by now in your neck of the woods, at least getting real close to it. 68-69 degrees is definitely getting pretty close to the magic time (for them at least, horrible time for flathead fanatics lol!!). Maybe they take their time because the seasons arent as extreme down south. (Dont have to worry about winter coming).
 

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Tuscan- that post above is a SUPER GREAT point! It has taken me many years to realize that I often times will get stuck in my head a certain pattern...fish 20 spots throughout the day and they are all the exact same! Took me quite a while to break myself of that and once I did, I really became a better fisherman.

Its not about just changing spots....its about changing patterns. Its really important to understand the difference between those two things!

Really solid post there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tuscan- yessir I agree those spots are all alike and I need to come out the box when searching/locating spots. I will say I'm not use to fishing for flatheads shallow (ridiculous I know). I have regularly fished shallow tournament fishing for blues with great success (2-4 ft of water). I honestly think my confidence when I don't get any runs is what has me second guessing most areas I try and fish. What rig do I use? How long to fish the shallow area? light and noise discipline? Live baits or fresh cut? I start over analyzing it all and most times abandon the shallow water idea for some reason.
 

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What rig to use? same as always, no need to change rig between deep and shallow
How long to fish? same as deep. You said there is no structure; so the fish will be roaming and not stationary
light and noise? cast as far from boat as possible to have your bait far from boat lights and sounds
live baits or cut? 1/2 and 1/2 until you figure what they want. All cut bait in winter: not wiling to chase live when they are cold and lethargic. In general cut-bait in current and live bait in calm still water. Current spreads blood and juices from cut-bait and in calm water the vibrations from the struggling live bait works best
 

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Tuscan- another great post. I second every one of the things you said right there. I have had my eyes opened about bait these last couple weeks. I've always been a "live bait only" guy, I would not have even considered taking a trip for flatheads without a pile of live baits.

Always read people saying cut bait will work in the spring/fall, cooler water , etc. But I honestly always thought of it as a far second....like if you couldn't catch live bait , then maybe you could get lucky during the spring or fall and pick one off on cut bait.

Never even thought of the possibility that the cut bait would outfish the live bait...these last couple weeks have proven my thinking to be foolish and narrow lol. I watched a buddy put the smack down on a PILE of big flatheads all on cut bait....i fished right beside him with beautiful live bait and caught 1 for every 3 he caught. Cut def. Can be the preferred bait sometimes and from now on I will ALWAYS at least have a rod or two with cut bait out.

The giant I caught Saturday came on a little chunk of cut sucker that I simply wouldn't have believed a fish that size would even bother eating.

Our water is still on the cool side at 56 degrees. I'm interested to see how I do with cut bait moving into the warmer months.
 

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While fishing brush on the Big Wabash near Grayville Illinois, I was getting tiny pecks , just shaking the rod till the bait was gone. I figured it was 4 to 6 inch channels so I switched to a #4 hook and a 1/4inch piece of cut shad just to catch something.
Next round of tiny pecks turned into a 32 lb flathead skin hooked outside the teeth in the center of his top lip.
Figured he would rip out with such a small hook but instead when finally in the boat , I had to use the pliers to get the hook out.
Since then I have at times of those tiny pecks rigged a "stinger" hook on regular baits . It has payed off lots of times.
Good Luck and have fun whenever you can.
 
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