John's Journal...

How to Find and Catch Catfish

Day 2: More Tactics from Mr. Depth Finder Carl Lowrance on Catching Catfish

Editor’s Note: Carl Lowrance of Claremore, Oklahoma, always had been a businessman since graduating from high school in 1935 when he started his own produce hauling business. Later after being a flight instructor in WWII, he started a banana distribution business and raised 40,000 quail per year for Ralston Purina. Long an avid fisherman, Lowrance and his son Darrell also loved to skin dive in inland lakes, which gave them a vast knowledge of fish - but not how to locate them from surface. From his experiences in WWII, Carl Lowrance knew about sonar and hoped to adapt these bulky and fairly-primitive units - the transducers were 4-8 feet long - to locate fish. He then used newly-developed transistor technology and with Darrell, a math and physics major in college, reduced the size of the sonar unit and the pulse length to 1 foot - small enough to identify a fish. The Lowrances produced their first unit in 1956 and named it the Fish Lo-K-Tor, revolutionizing the sport of fishing.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger Viewusually found Mr. Whiskers holding was on the side of a lake the wind had been blowing into for 2 - 3 days. “If you can locate a bay or a cove on that side of the lake, then shad will be in those coves most likely,” Lowrance explained. “The catfish will be right under them. Oftentimes the mouths of these coves will be where fish are holding. However, if the wind changes during the night, sometimes the fish will leave the coves and move back to the center of the lake.”

To insure that Lowrance caught catfish rather than white bass, he baited with water dogs - salamanders called mud puppies. “For some reason the white bass just don’t seem to want to take the salamanders as readily as the catfish do,” Lowrance reported. “Since I’d rather catch catfish anyway, I preferred to bait with the salamanders. I researched the salamanders for years and had found them to be the best bait for cats.” Through the years I found on big, manmade lakes that Carl Lowrance’s depth finder and jug fishing techniques were hard to beat.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewMud puppies make noises - some people think their squeaks sound like a dog’s bark. You can find them on the bottoms of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams - never leaving the water - and they can be larger than 16-inches long. Lowrance believed in the value of salamanders so much for catching catfish and their value in medical research (their retinas are similar to human retinas but are larger) that he even operated a salamander farm after 1975.

To get “13 Freshwater Fish Recipes You Can't Live Without,” “Catfish Like a Pro,” “The Best Wild Game & Seafood Cookbook Ever: 350 Southern Recipes for Deer, Turkey, Fish, Seafood, Small Game and Birds,” click on each title, or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. You can also get “The Catfish Catcher’s Cookbook” for free at

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Fishing Small Streams for Catfish

Check back each day this week for more about How to Find and Catch Catfish

Day 1: Learn from the Late Carl Lowrance - Mr. Depth Finder - about Catching Catfish
Day 2: More Tactics from Mr. Depth Finder Carl Lowrance on Catching Catfish
Day 3: Fishing Small Streams for Catfish
Day 4: Fishing Tailrace Waters’ Grooves for Catfish
Day 5: Trotlining to Catch More Catfish

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Entry 829, Day 2