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Targeting Trophy Flathead Catfish with Scott Manning
The transition from summer to fall carries with it some excellent opportunities to put a trophy flathead catfish in your boat. Catfishing this time of year finds the fish starting to move out of deep water in search of warmth. Really big flathead catfish will put the feed bag on, as they bulk up for colder water.
What we cover in this In The Spread fishing video is the period following the first cold front of the year and how to selectively target flathead catfish that are considered donkeys. Water temperature at the surface has fallen a few degrees and the air temperature is noticeably more comfortable. The water on the bottom will also start to change. This cooling transition is what triggers big flatheads to start chubbing up for winter. Everything in the ecosystem is in flux. This initial bump in feeding behavior is a great time to giant catfish.
If you are not familiar with Capt. Scott Manning, his reputation is that of a big fish wrangler. Scott is one of the best and someone I refer to as the “mechanic”. The guy does work and makes it look easy. He widely is recognized throughout the catfishing world as a fisherman that boats trophy catfish year round. Blue catfish and flathead catfish are what he focuses on, with flatheads being his favorite.
If you want to know how to fish for catfish in the trophy fish category, Scott provides an outstanding source of knowledge to draw from. His program is super simple and something you can easily incorporate into your own fishing system. What Scott Manning is going to do for you in this catfishing video is share his entire approach to fishing the fall transition for giant catfish. Where are they, what are they doing, how to locate good structure, how do you trigger bites, how long do you stay on a spot, when should you move, how important are your electronics are all questions Scott addresses.
Flathead catfish are deep water fish that love structure. They love to ambush the bait that holds to structure. If you have a few waypoints that indicate nice relief, you are ahead of the crowd. If you are not so lucky, you will need to spend the time learning from other or do the recon yourself. Analyzing maps can give you a good head start. Watch your bottom machine as you drift channels, feeder points and confluences areas. When you find dips, bowls, rock piles, ledges, boulder fields or old timber, mark these spots. It is a good bet that you will find flathead catfish holding to those areas of relief. You can actually see fish on your machine. The use of your electronics is something you really need to understand. Scott will show you what to look for.
Once you have spots you want to fish, it's time to get your boat in the right position. How should you setup on your spot to put your baits in the zone? Scott will explain for you how he likes to position his boat, relative to the structure. Being is the right spot is critical. If you are off by just a few feet, you are out of the game. Since fishing for flathead catfish is mostly a deep water endeavor, you really do not want to drop and anchor. Spot lock is the way to proceed. Nothing would ruin your day more than to see your rod double over only to have the fish get wrapped up in your anchor line. Use your trolling motor to hold you in place.
Before you start dropping catfish bait, be sure you have the right equipment for the task at hand. Scott has a definite preferences for bait and tackle. See what rods and reels he likes. What is the best size bait to use for big fish and how much do you need? Find out. You will learn about two different catfish rigs and each has their place. The way you hook your catfish bait is huge. Get it wrong and you will not hook up. Having your bait at the right depth is key, as well. You want to be near the bottom, but not on the bottom. Scott will share with you why this is important, when targeting giant catfish.
Ok, you have identified good locations, you have the requisite tackle, your catfish baits are quality and you are ready to drop. Hold on. Have you taken the time to see what is going on under the water. Is there activity? Are you seeing an active food chain? If there is no activity, you best move to the next spot. Using your electronics to paramount. Do not waste your time.
Captain Scott Manning maintains the two biggest mistakes anglers make is not using their electronics and not being patient. I have fished with Scott several times and what he is telling you is so true. I have seen it time and again. Are you seeing fish on your down imaging? This is key. Scott will show you on his machine what he is looking for, so you will know what to focus in on when using your own device. With good action comes the more difficult part. Waiting. Ugh. How long? You really have to have the right mindset for trophy fishing. If you want to catch giant catfish, it takes time. You may have to sit on a good spot all day to get that one bite. That's right. I once sat on a spot for 8 hours with Scott, because everything looked great. Just when we were ready to pack it in, the damn rod nearly broke before I could get it out of the rod holder. So, settle in. If it is that one bite from a beast that you are after, pay close attention to what Scott is sharing.
This fishing video takes you through the entire process of how to catch catfish that are well in excess of 40 pounds. This transition period and few weeks after the first cold front are excellent for huge flathead catfish. They are biologically wired to increase their feeding this time of year. Use what we provide in here to get out there and bag a monster. When you learn from one of the best, you get the best knowledge. The smarter you are in your fishing, the more success you will experience.
Fish with Scott: http://tennesseestriperfishinguide.com/
Total time: 1:06:09