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Catfishing Blue Catfish | Fall Transition with Scott Manning
When the fall season arrives with shorter days and changing temperatures, blue catfish are undergoing a biological change. This fall to winter transition sets off a metabolic switch in catfish that triggers increased feeding behavior. What is it that has the fish gorging themselves? Well, as the water cools, baitfish start to die off. There is less food in the water in the winter. The biological forces tell blue catfish that it is time to put the feed bag on. This natural change in the amount of light we get and cooling waters make for an excellent time to test your catfishing techniques. In The Spread along with Captain Scott Manning have put together a playbook, with this catfish video, to help you understand the conditions, fish behavior and how to methods for catching a load of cats.
Catfishing for blue catfish, especially bigger trophy fish, is not as simple as you may think. Of first order is finding where the big fish are staging. The bigger catfish, I mean really big fish, do not want to fight the current. In the reservoir systems of the Tennessee Valley, the rivers and lakes that make it up benefit from moving water. Moving water pushing and aggregates bait, both dead and alive. As huge volumes if water flows through the dams, bait fish are killed and wounded, then pushed down stream. Typically, water is either being pulled or pushed, maybe both, from the system based on electricity demands. As fishermen, we can take advantage of this. Moving water triggers activity. In slack or slow moving water, blue catfish will scatter about looking for eats. As the amount of water flowing picks up and the current quickens, fish will aggregate in areas seeking refuge. These points of aggregation serve as collecting points in the bends and heavy structure of the rivers for food. Thus, these same areas are where the catfish will be found.
Big catfish love structure. Now, there is all sorts of structure in the Tennessee River system, Knowing where to start your fishing efforts and utilizing sound catfishing techniques is critical. Rock piles, ledges and bottom depressions provide shelter from the current for big blue catfish. How you go about finding good structure requires a commitment of time. You need to get out on the water and devote some time to scouting the river. River bends are always a great place to start, as bait will be forced into the corner by the current. Use your bottom machine and slowly drive around looking for interesting topography. Once you find something that looks good, see what kind of life is on it. Your machine will tell you everything you need to know.
Captain Scott Manning is going to show you how he navigates around a bend in the river scanning the bottom before setting up and dropping baits. You will learn how to tell where the current edges are relative to the structure. The current will concentrate big fish, so knowing where to position your boat will have a lot to do with whether you get bites. Bigger fish will want to be close, but not in, the faster moving water. This way the can take advantage of the conveyor belt of water pushing food past their blind. I say blind because they are after shelter, but are also on the lookout for easy meals. Current seams are where the action will be. It may not always be the action you want, but they are an excellent spot to set up on.
Catfish baits and bait rigs will be covered. I cannot emphasize this point enough, bait and fresh it is may be the most important factor other than being in a good location. Forget all the talk about using stank bait. Just like you don't want to eat bad meat, catfish want good fresh baits. Picking the right size for the fish you are after and properly hooking it are super important components of your fishing success. Scott Manning will share several valuable points on the best catfish baits to use, selecting choice baits and how much you need to have with you for an outing.
How many baits you put out and how you disperse them is something to consider when trying to cover a broad section of the bottom. Even though the blue catfish will have their feed bags on during the transition, you just don't know when the big fish last ate. You may need to put baits in close proximity to get a bite. There are a lot of considerations when trying to bag giants. One bit a relevance that Scott shares that can make a lot of difference is understanding that catfish are not always on the bottom. They will suspend in the water column at times, so the depths at which you position baits is a factor. You want several baits out, but not so many that when you hookup you risk getting tangled in other lines. Be smart. Listen to what Scott is talking about dropping baits.
Perhaps the one glaring mistake fishermen make when going after bigger blue catfish is how long they are willing to stick it out in a spot. I use the analogy to deer hunting. If you are in a good spot, know deer are around, you are not going to climb down from your stand or get out of your blind and start walking around, usually. Be patient. Have the confidence in your spot and soak your baits. The worst thing to do is pick up and run down the river to another spot. If they are not biting where you are, more than likely they will not be biting a mile away. Having your baits in the water is vital. At some point, the fish will start to feed and it will be game on. If that happens while you are looking for another spot, well, you will not be catching.
Use the information in this In The Spread Catfishing for Blue Catfish during the fall transition fishing video to increase your knowledge base. Be smart about what you do on the water. Employ the catfishing techniques Captain Scott Manning is articulating and you will be catching a heck of a lot more big fish.
Total time: 1:05:34