Fun & Games

Trivia Games


Contact Us




John's Journal... Entry 247, Day 2


How To Rig To Catch Cats On The Rocks

Editor's Note: Although you can catch channel catfish around rock walls, riprap, rocky bluffs and almost anywhere you find rock cover in shallow water, from now until the end of June, the channel cats will be spawning in many areas of the South. Phil King, of Corinth, Mississippi, one of the nation's top competitive catfishermen, has a string of catfish-tournament wins that will embarrass a show pony. Before King fished in catfish tournaments, he was a commercial catfisherman, feeding his family with his knowledge of where, when and how to find and catch cats. This week, King tells us where and how to catch cats on the rocks with Strike King's new Catfish Dynamite, Catfish Dip Bait, Catfish Bites and Catfish Dynamite Dough.

Question: Phil, tell us the equipment you use for catching cats on the rocks.
King: I use 12- to 14-pound-test Trilene Big Game monofilament line. Up the line, I'll use a piece of string for a bobber stopper, and I'll set the bobber stopper at the depth that I want to fish. By using the bobber stopper, I can reel the line up all the way to within a foot or two of the hook, make long casts and have the line slide through the bobber to the depth I want to fish, and the bobber stopper will halt the descent of the line when the hook, lead and bobber hit the water. When the cats are pre-staging on secondary ledges, I'll set my bobber stopper at 6- to 8-feet deep. When the cats move in too shallow to spawn, I may fish as shallow as 1- to 2-feet deep. I use Premier floats made by Premier Plastics because they are tough and very sensitive. Below the bobber, I put the line through a 1/4-ounce egg sinker. This weight allows me to cast further and to quickly get my line down to the depth I want to fish. Below the egg sinker, I tie on a barrel swivel. Because catfish will twist and roll when you set the hook, the barrel swivel keeps the cats from twisting up into the line. Coming off the bottom eye of the barrel swivel, I tie on 12 to 18 inches of 15-pound-test Big Game line or Cabela's leader material line. I use a No. 1 Daiichi Wide Gap Circle Hook.

I also carry with me Wipe-All Wipers and waterless hand wipes to get the catfish slime and the bait smell off my hands while I fish. You'll have to grab the cats and take the hooks out of their mouths, and your hands will get really slimy. You'll need some kind of towel or wipe to keep your hands clean. Also, if you'll wipe and dry off your hooks with sponges that you use for dip baits before you dip them in Catfish Dip Bait, the dip will adhere to the bait much better and longer than if you don't dry the bait off before you dip it. If you'll dry the tube on your dip bait hook each time before you use the dip bait, your dip bait will be more effective, and you'll catch more cats. Often, within an hour or two the towel will become nasty and slimy, but by using a towel tab with the Wipe Alls, when the Wipe All gets nasty you can just take it off, put it in a trash bag, put on a new one and you're ready to fish. Clean hands and clean bait ensures you can hold the cats and not get finned, get the hook out of the cat's mouth easier and more safely and make your dip baits more effective.

Question: Why are you using a circle hook?
King: I have found that I can catch about 95 to 98 percent of the catfish that bite my bait, if I understand how to fish a circle hook.

Question: How do you fish the circle hook?
King: When I see a cat biting and my bobber jumping, I don't try to catch the cat or set the hook until my bobber goes underwater. Then, instead of setting the hook, I reel until I feel tension on the line. When I feel that tension, I lift my rod tip slightly, which causes the circle hook to roll over in the catfish's mouth. Then I continue to reel steadily, and the hook sets itself. You can't use a hard violent hook set as you will if you're fishing for bass because with a circle hook, if you fish like that, you'll miss more cats than you catch. On the end of the hook, I like either Catfish Dynamite or Catfish Dough. If I plan to fish a dip bait, I just tie the Strike King Dip Bait hook and sponge on to the end of the line, dip the Strike King hook in the dip bait and cast it out.

If you'd like more information about Phil King, how he fishes, where he fishes, how he can clean a catfish in 11 seconds, and some great recipes for catfish, call (662) 286-8644 or go to www.h2ow.com/catfish/. 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 CATS ON THE ROCKS ...

Day 1 - Cats On The Rocks
Day 2 - How To Rig To Catch Cats On The Rocks
Day 3 - Don't Anchor Down When Fishing For Cats On The Rocks
Day 4 - After The Spawn
Day 5 - Dynamite And Cats

John's Journal