John's Journal...

How to Catch More Hot-Weather Catfish

Day 4: Know Catfish and Use the Correct Equipment and Tactics for Successful Fishing

Editor’s Note: Here are tips from the experts to help you catch more catfish this summer, no matter where you live.

Click for Larger ViewBob Holmes was a catfisherman willing to share his secrets and was another of the nation’s best cat catchers. During the spring of the year, when catfish moved into the broken rock points to spawn, Holmes took plenty of keeper fish in the open water. “Sometimes anglers fail to realize that all catfish don’t swim along the bottom,” Holmes offered. “As a matter of fact, I often catch more fish in mid-water than I do on the bottom – especially during the spring. Click for Larger ViewCatfish have their favorite areas for spawning. Usually they prefer rocky points or rocky banks where they can get into a hole and make a nest. But when they aren’t bedding, they may be holding just-off the rocks in mid-water. I usually set my cork at about 5 feet, use a BB split shot, 6-pound-test line, a treble hook and a nightcrawler to take catfish. I place the big nightcrawler around the treble hook, so that the worm hides the barbs. Then I cast the worm out and let it float about 20-yards off the points. If there are catfish on a particular point, I generally will get a bite in about 20 minutes. When the cat hits the bait, I let it sink the little thumb-size cork out of sight before I set the hook. Many times the catfish will suck-in the bait and not have the hook in its mouth, when I first pull the cork under the water. So, I let the cork sink deep before I set the hook.

Click for Larger View“Another key ingredient for catfishing success is setting the drag loosely. If you’re angling for cats in mid-water, there’s not usually any structure in which the fish can become entangled. So, there’s no reason to horse the catfish and break the line. Therefore, I play the catfish down before I bring it to the boat and scoop it up into my net. Click for Larger ViewEach time I catch a cat, I break off the last 2 feet of line and retie my hook. The catfish’s mouth is like a piece of sandpaper and can really rough-up and weaken line. Also catfish often will roll on the line and nick the string with their sharp spines. If you don’t retie the line about 2-feet up from the hook, you’ll be angling with a much-weaker line for the second fish. I’m convinced that finding cats in mid-water and taking them on light line provides one of the most-exciting methods of catching Mr. Whiskers.”

Tomorrow: Understand Catfish Haunts and the Best Baits to Use

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Catch More Hot-Weather Catfish "

Day 1: Fishing Tailraces for Summertime Catfish
Day 2: More Tailrace Tactics for Hot Weather Catfish
Day 3: Catching Small Stream Catfish and Understanding the Importance of Depth with the Late Carl Lowrance
Day 4: Know Catfish and Use the Correct Equipment and Tactics for Successful Fishing
Day 5: Understand Catfish Haunts and the Best Baits to Use

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Entry 624, Day 4