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John's Journal... Entry 102, Day 1


How to Catch River Catfish in Hot Weather

EDITOR'S NOTE: Phil King of Corinth, Mississippi, one of the nation's leading catfishermen, has proved his prowess in both national, regional and state catfishing tournaments and derbies. King took first place in the 2001 Cabela's King Cat Tournament held at Pickwick Lake on the Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee border and third place in the 2001 National Catfish Derby. A catfishing guide below Pickwick Dam, King has to fish in any type of weather -- sometimes when the weather's so hot you can fry eggs on the sidewalk. This week, King will tell us how to find and take river cats.


Question: Where do you find catfish during July and August?
Answer: Catfish tend to congregate below dams where there's often a fresh hatch of young shad minnows. Besides feeding on these minnows, catfish eat quite a bit of shad that get ground-up as they come through the turbines. On the Tennessee River where I fish, you'll generally discover mussel beds downriver from the dams that cats often feed on in the hot months. The third place where I find cats at this time of the year will be in deep holes in the river. I define a deep hole as any spot in a section of the river that's deeper than the bottom in other areas of the river.

Question: Why are catfish in deep holes in a river during the summer?
Answer: During extreme hot weather or very cold weather, the cats will get in these holes to find a more comfortable water temperature. Also, the holes provide a good place to ambush bait that may be moving along the bottom.

Question: When you're fishing right below a dam, what techniques are you using?
Answer: I'll use two tactics. First, I'll drift fish with the current, keep my big engine running, point the nose of my boat upcurrent, and control the drift of my boat with my big engine. I'll bump the bottom as the boat drifts back to try and locate and catch the cats. This fishing method usually produces the most cats from the discharge area of the turbines for about a half-mile downstream. This region is where the cats that are feeding on the shad that have been ground-up by the turbines are most likely to be feeding. This area is also where the young shad minnows will be concentrating. The other technique I use is trolling for cats. This strategy is the most productive late in the afternoon and at night in the slack-water areas around the dam.

To fish with Phil King or to learn more about how to catch river catfish, go to his website at http://www.h2othouse.com/catfish/ or call (662) 286-8664. To learn more about fishing below the dam at Pickwick, contact the Hardin County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at info@tourhardincounty.org, call 731-925-8181 or 800-552-3866, or visit www.tourhardincounty.org. Pickwick Landing State Park offers fishing, boating, hiking, camping, swimming and golf. Lodging includes the lakeside inn with over 100 rooms, cabins that sleep eight and a campground that contains 48 sites with grill and electric/water hookup at each site. A restaurant at the park offers delicious southern cuisine. Call 731-689-3135 or 800-250-8615 to learn more.





Check back each day this week for more about Phil King's Tactics For Catching Catfish in Hot Weather...

Day 1 -How to Catch River Catfish in Hot Weather
Day 2 -King's Slow-Trolling Tactics
Day 3 -King Tells about Fishing in the Hot Summer Months
Day 4 -When the Big Cats Bite Best
Day 5 -King's Favorite Dog Day Catfish Baits

John's Journal