Check out my new site at Catfishing.tvFirst off we'll start with what kinda tackle to use ... 2/0 eagle claw baitholder hooks are hard to beat catching catfish on rod&reel. They seldom miss a good strike from a catfish and if you keep them sharp they'll almost set themselves. The reason I use small hooks rod&reel fishing for catfish is basically so that I can use a small bait and they bite better it seems like if you haven't got a pound of metal stickin outta the bait ... they hook better too ... loading the hook up with humungous amounts of bait or very large cut bait will catch you more turtles or unwanted strikes by gar or some other non-target fish in Keystone tailwaters. In certain areas it's best to use large bait but in some areas it's useless and it affects casting. Casting large bait with surf rods defeats the purpose ... the largest bait I can throw well is medium to large shad heads which I throw quite a bit lately. I've caught the majority of catfish in my life on one inch long by 1/4 inch wide strips of shad or some other cut bait if they weren't biting on shad. Grasshoppers are most of the time the best bait you can use behind Keystone Dam but they're seasonal. They don't come out good until 3rd week of July around here. The largest fish I've ever caught was on a 2/0 baitholder and a grasshopper ... it's picture is on the main page. 51 lb blue. I also caught a 22.5 lb blue that night plus a limited out with 16 blues and channelcat weighing between 2 to 10 lbs not counting the two bigger ones all caught using one rod and grasshoppers on 2/0 Eagle Claw baitholder hooks in about 5 hours so if you think these hooks are too small consider all the fish I catch just about are on this sized hooks. Blues are considered channel cat in Okla. but what we call channel cat don't usually get much bigger than 12 lbs or so but I've caught one that was 18 lbs the world record is something like 58# or 59# ... world record blue is 111# world record flatcat is 123#. Channels or what we call channel cat have a more narrow mouth and have kind of a greenish color and retain the black specks on their body until they get over 5 or 6 lbs. The channel cat that we call blues get much larger "up to 100 lbs". I think the record is like 96 lbs in Okla.
For jugline fishing I like to use a hook that I'd never use for rod&reel except in extremely fast moving water and those are large Kahle hooks .... they're a weird looking hook and a person will miss a lot of strikes on them with rod&reel but for juglines they're great ... they hook the fish really well on juglines and have kind of a cam action and will twist around and hook blues several times when they twist and thrash around ... I like to use shad heads and whole perch on juglines.
For Flathead catfish the best hooks are probably 6/0 or 7/0 straight trotline hooks using whole live perch hooked like you'd fish with minnows ... insert hook just behind the body cavity above the spine ... they will stay alive for a long time ... well until the first flathead comes along and nails them. Suspended on juglines or limblines or even on rod&reel using weighted corks ... I use 2oz and 3oz weighted corks. The perch should be about 3.5 to 4 inches long ... crappie are great flathead bait also about the same size ... check your state fishing regulations about using them though as they're a game fish themselves. If you're going to use whole perch on juglines like 3 litre or gallon jugs use trotline hooks ... use kahle's for cut bait on juglines. I don't do any jugging or limblining unless it's with the rod&reel trolling motor boat we made. I'm a rod and reel feller and I hardly ever fish with unattended hooks. It just doesn't do it for me. Even using that boat kinda takes the sport outta fishing for me but I kinda like that. We've only used the boat about 4 or 5 times now since August 1999. My favorite way of fishing is rod in hand and messin with the regulars that come to the dam ... I also like to visit mostly as I wouldn't fish in a place that didn't have people to mess with and I wrote the book on messin with people's head's. hehehe.
I've spent years fishing every day/night just about unless the weather wasn't permitting and we're talkin it had be cold or tornadic weather to keep me from fishing during 1994 to 1996. Mostly (catch & release) but if there were people there that looked like they really needed the fish I'd give them some but through the years I'd given some fish to people that I thought needed them just to find out they were selling the fish to buy drugs or alcohol so I've pretty much stopped this practice unless I knew for certain they were going to clean and cook the fish for themselves and their family. I also supply my mother and other family members with fresh fish including myself as I like nothing better than sitting down to a plate of fresh fried catfish and soppin it in ketchup, tartar sauce, or no sauce at all. My main point here is I catch a lot of fish ... most the time well over 60 to 75 lbs every time we go and this is in a short period of time also like 5 to 8 hours at most using only two rods as all I can stand due to health reasons since I broke my back in 1991 working in the oil fields plus weight and heart trouble since then. I've pretty much figured out what works and don't work and challenge anyone to catch more fish than we do using bait, tackle, or other stuff I've mentioned that don't work. You can catch farm pond fish that are being fed by the landowner with any kind of bait but for authentic lake or resevior catfish you gotta use the right kind of bait or go home empty handed.
#1. You spool the line on your reel 14 to 17 lb test line and then mount the reel on the rod if it's not on there already....
then you run the
line out the eyes to the end and pull it down.
#2. Then tie at least 40 lb shock line to the main line using an Albright Knot. Be sure to wet the line with spit b4 you draw line tight on the knot or you'll weaken the line/knot and then hold both sides of the knot and twang it like a guitar string to remove spit. Then if you wish put a drop of super glue on the knot. That'll keep it from coming untied for sure. (superglue optional if you sinch it down good). This is also a great idea if you're fishing in rocks or brush piles and it saves mainline even if it's not small diameter, because if you tie your hook and sinker similar to the way that I do you'll be using up about 3 ft of line tieing on each hook and sinker ... whereas if you use a shock leader you most of the time just lose 4 to 5 inches of line and have the sinker and hook tied together with much larger line so if they hang up on something a lot of the time you can just set your pole down for a little while and the fish might work the sinker free. If it's tied with the same line you use for mainline they'll likely break free instantly if the fish is over 5 lbs.
#3. Reel line up until the shock line makes 3 wraps minimum on the reel whether it's a spinning rod or baitcaster it doesn't matter.
#4. Pull shock line down to first eye from the reel and cut it ... place hook on the line and slide it up and then tie sinker on the bottom.
#5. Slide hook up about two feet and tie hook loop using a Dropper Loop, again be sure to lube the line with spit or it'll burn/weaken the line. You can tie the sinker on using a Centauri Knot or similar knot.
I'll start this by telling you what made me start using this technique from a fishing trip I'd went on in 1980 at Canton Lake
Dam fishing with a Johnson Century reel and regular fiberglass rod ... I was fishing on the side of the dam up on the wall
behind the dam and I could see a few fish swimming around ... mostly carp and buffalo and a few small catfish ... I was
casting out as far as I could and didn't have a full spool of line and it'd reach the end of the line about 40 yds out from
the wall hitting the water and then drifting down out of site and I was using shad fillets and gizzards .... I casted out
prolly the second time and let it drift down to where it'd hang straight below my rod tip and a little later I seen this large
catfish patroling through just under the surface and was thinking I'd sure like to hook into that one and the fish was
swimming along and it turned abruptly and started swimming back and forth about where my cast had entered the water like it
was looking for something and it continued a little bit going here and there and then kinda started swimming towards my line
going back and forth like it was still looking for something and I lost site of it and in just a few seconds WHAM! I had a
fish on and I landed it pulling it up on the bank from the wall and then walked down there to where it was and it was about a
3 lb channel cat ... I stringered the fish up and caught a few more fish not paying much attention to the actions of that fish
until I got to thinking about it a little on the way back out to the drilling rig where I was working north of Cleo Springs
just a few miles. I'd coon hunted most of my life and those old coon hounds kinda did the exact same thing when trailing a
racoon through the woods ... they'd kinda dart back and forth sniffing for the scent of a coon that they were after eventually
treeing the coon if they didn't loose the scent somehow. I figured out that that fish was tasting or scenting the trail of
scent that bait I'd thrown out there in the water following that trail of blood and shad slime however minute it was right to
my bait producing a strike. Now when I fish still water I'll cast out and drag my bait slowly through the water leaving a
trail of the bait in the still water like in a pond or something where there's not any current instead of just throwing the
bait into one certain spot so that the scent will disperse into the water slowly with no current or wind to disturb the water
I'd think that the scent wouldn't travel very fast in that situation. This knowledge has increased my strike ratio probably 50
to 70% I think ... sometimes if I cast up on the dam all the way against it and it sits there for a while I'll reel it in to
the pylons leaving a scent trail of about 75 yds and most of the time I'd let it sit another 10 to 15 minutes at most but I'd
say over half the time in that 10 to 15 minutes time frame I'd hook a fish and I'm almost certain it's due to the increased
area that the bait has covered giving the fish a trail to follow instead of just a slow dispersal of the scent. Try this and
let me know if you think it helped your fishing ... cast way out past where you are wanting to fish if possible and then draw
the bait into you accross bottom or while it's decending ... if you're using a cork then reel it slowly back to where you
think the most fish are and then let it sit there ... I'm quite certain this tactic will help you catch more fish in still
I'm not familiar with drift fishing but I'm assuming it's similar to what I'm talking about where you're in the boat with your bait in the water and letting the bait drag along bottom slowly with the boat. If this is the case that bait will also be leaving a scent trail for the fish to swim accross making it easier for a fish to find your bait. They could be talkin bout fishing log jams for all I know about drift fishing but I've fished like this from a boat and done fairly well in areas that didn't have too much structure to get hung on.
Real muddy water is the same like the Deep Fork river that originates right through the middle of OKC, OK and runs east through my old stomping ground around Davenport OK and Sparks OK. You fish around any good hole that has structure like log jams or something like that and you can catch a lot of catfish ... the fish out of Deep Fork are pretty decent tasting as well.
Clear water where the fish are really healthy and have an abundant food supply you will have to fish fresh bait in most cases and nothing they don't feed on naturally .... they can't go to the store and buy "Fester's Catfish GoGo-Getter" or some other stuff you'd buy at the store ... these fish will be a challenge to figure out but once you do you can catch a lot of them ... I'm not talkin about two a day or 4 or so. I'm talkin bout 12 to 15 per day easily. CATFISH FEED CONSTANTLY... I'm not saying they don't quit biting ever but I am saying they follow patterns and they are all thinking alike just like they're joined mentally ... you could be fishing and catching several fish and all of a sudden they quit like you just caught the last one ... there are two or three reasons this happens. First one is catfish school and migrate through areas feeding and they're usually holding pretty tight together within like 5 ft of one another and the school usually consists of anywhere from 5 to 50 or even more depending on the size of the empoundment you're fishing. Once the fish move through and pass on from where you're fishing you'll need to relocate or figure out where or which way they were going. They do this quite a bit in Keystone Lake ... you can be fishing catching several nice blues and then all of a sudden they're gone .... all you have to do is get back into their path ... most of the time the best bet is follow the current ... if the water level is dropping I move down stream about 100 yds ... if it's rising I'll move upstream ... I don't always catch them coming through again but sometimes I get lucky and catch three or so more fish. Fish finders are really handy in relocating the fish in this instance ... If you're fishing a smaller body of water this probably wouldn't be the case ... they may need another bait presented to them ... in a lot of cases that'll make them start biting again. If the water level drops abruptly like it does behind dams when they shut down a turbine that's generating electricity it's just like if they was feeding in flooded creeks or channels ... when the water level drops they have a natural instinct to move to deeper water ... it's hard for them to find any deeper water behind dams but none the less it will make the fish move or relocate to a different spot. This is all just general info and what I'm trying to get accross is there's a lot of variables to contend with when fishing for catfish ... you'll develope an instinct for catching them if you stay at it long enough and soak up enough of what mother nature's little creatures are telling you. Be very observant and pay attention to everything and theorize to yourself what's going on at all times even when you're catching fish there's something to learn.
I'll make more entries later as well as more fishing pictures I don't take pictures of every catch as it would take up a considerable amount of money for film and developing. I hope to get a digital camera b4 long to take on fishing trips. Let me know if you have any tips to pass along to the readers ... you'll get credit for any tips ... I may put up a bulletin board for everyone to interact soon. GOOD FISHIN! Luck has nothing to do with it.
"tiny" Tim Smith