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Catfishing Heavy Current
The Southeast affords ample opportunity to fine tune your catfishing in some damn heavy current. No pun intended. Current, in much of the South, is the byproduct of hydroelectric dams built back in the 1930's. With the amount of water released from each dam predicated on power usage, you could expect usage to increase as the temperature starts to drop and homes and businesses need to be heated. Current in 40,000 cfs range is a regular thing.
Dropping temperatures don't just increase demand for power, they also trigger a biological switch in catfish that kicks their appetite into overdrive. Winter makes fish want to fatten up. This is a pure biological play. As water temperature drops in the winter, bait fish populations shrink. Flathead catfish and blue catfish are eating as much as they can while they can.
Dam spills are the catalyst that attracts big catfish. Water spilling through both brings bait fish and creates a boil of nutrient rich oxygenated water that attracts even more bait, creatings a wonderful fishing dynamic. This baitfest is a significant draw for catfish. Giant catfish move up to the headwaters to take advantage of the conveyor belt of food created from a dam spill.
Knowing the big fish are in the heavy current means you will be fishing in that current. Where within all that moving water will you find catfish. Like most big river fish, they don't like current. Expending excess energy to fight current in the acquisition of food is low on the priority scale. So, catfish and especially giant catfish are going to seek refuge within the storm. Catfish really are ambush predators. They lay in the cut and wait for food to come to them. It needs to be within easy reach.
Since most of these hydroelectric dams are fairly sizable, how do you find the spots that will hold big catfish. You need to look for slack water seems, find out where there are holes or depressions in the bottom topography, anything that will provide protection from the current. Don't overlook the smallest anomaly. Catfish can hide in small holes, behind rock piles or logs on the bottom. Find seams in the current where faster moving water joins with slack water. Near the rivers edge you will typically find eddies, seams and pockets that provide a break from all the current. All the catfish have to do is move in and out of the rushing water to snag a meal.
This In The Spread Catfishing Techniques for Heavy Current video, angler Marc Cooper shares his experience on how to target giant flathead catfish and blue catfish during heavy spill times. Marc has developed a reputation for catching some really big fish. While some of his methods may be a little crude, the results he achieves speak for themselves. Being on the right spots, managing the current, fresh baits and bait presentation are keys to his success. His approach to catfishing is rooted in sound fishing fundamentals.
When it comes to fishing those holes that shield catfis from the current, you will need to spend some time scouting an area by reading your bottom machine or work off first hand information to triangulate your position. Marc doesn't have the benefit of using electronics to scan the bottom. He knows his spots from visual queues. Once you have determined where you want to set up, the more critical factor is how you are going to stage your boat.
Setting up on structure in heavy current is not always easy. With 40,000 plus cubic feet per second of water pushing down stream, your boat is not going to hold position well with a trolling motor and the idea of stemming the flow under power is nonsense. You really have no choice but to anchor up. The trick to getting the correct vessel position to drop baits on your spot is to get upstream, drop anchor and then let out scope on your anchor line to get you into position. Anchoring will also be a chore. You need the anchor to catch before you drag it through the hole you want to fish. See how Marc does this.
Once you have your vessel staged correctly, it is time to get your baits out. Marc really emphasizes the importance of good fresh bait. Don't short change yourself by using old baits. He spends a lot of time catching his own, so as to ensure freshness. You will learn about the bait you uses, the size he likes for bigger fish and how to hook the baits. In order to cover the area you want to target, you need to create a spread of food. This means you are fanning out offerings in and around the hole you believe the catfish are in.
Key take aways from this catfishing techniques video are knowing where to fish, how to manage heavy current, vessel positioning, anchoring, baits and bait presentation. The explanations and demonstrations shared work extremely well for both flathead catfish and blue catfish. If you follow what is shared in this video and apply the knowledge you learn, you will go out and boat some pigs. It is not that hard. Marc Cooper makes it look easy. All you have to do is put in the time to learn the skills and then apply them. The best thing you can do is go with knowledge and fish smarter.
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Total time: 45:31