Monday, September 16, 2013

Kayak Catfishing Round 2

Friday, September 13th, Sean, Amanda, and Russ hit the river to do some more catfishing. I had other things to do so I couldn't join yet again. The flathead were still biting pretty well as they found out. Russ started the day off quickly with a decent sized buffalo. 
Russ would then proceed to land an additional buffalo and two more carp over 24" before anyone could anchor and set up for catfish. Once everyone got settled in, they quickly found that the cats were biting. Amanda started the trip off with a solid 28.75" flathead catfish, approximately 10lbs.
Sean then landed a flathead at 26", that he guessed to be in the 8lb range. Russ soon followed with a flathead of similar size. They didnt get into any big cats, but at least everyone got to land a flathead.

Saturday, September 14th, I was finally able to join Sean and Russ on the river. Amanda sat this trip out. Early in the day we headed to Rocky Fork Lake to restock on bait. After an hour we had more than enough bluegill for the evenings trip. Sean and I met up with Russ and got on the water around 5:30pm. By 7:30pm we all had our catfish rods out. My plan was to use cut bait on one rod for channel cats and a live bluegill on the other rod for flathead. I decided to start out with cut bluegill on both rods as my confidence in catching flathead catfish during daylight is low. Channel cats on the other hand more commonly bite during the day. Minutes after putting rods out Russ got the first fish of the day, a nice 26" channel. Sean and I on the other hand had quickly got the interest of several gar. After an hour of the gar playing with our baits and nobody had caught anything else we moved on to the next spot. For the most part we were targeting wood in deeper areas. We got rods out again, it was dark at this point so I switched to using one live bait as intended. After another hour I had got a few nibbles on cut bait but nothing committed and something had pull my live bluegill into a snag. We all regrouped and moved on. Sean and I were still at zero fish while Russ had got a 29" flathead at the second spot. 

The bite was pretty slow after that. Nobody caught anything at the next several spots and I wasn't even getting the nibbles anymore. At about 11:30pm I tucked in just downstream of a large downed tree. I tossed out my cut bluegill and a good lively bluegill and waited. At about 12:30am something had taken my bluegill. I picked up the rod and set the hook and the fish was on. It felt decent, 10lbs or more but it had been a while since I had hooked a decent catfish. I had anchored myself to the bank by jamming my claw style anchor into the mud. I was worried about the anchor holding if I hooked a decent fish but at that point my confidence in catching anything was getting low so I just went with it. As soon as I hooked the fish my anchor pulled free of the mud and I was at the mercy of the fish. Once I realized the fish was pulling me out into the river I started trying to muscle the fish in quicker than I would have liked as I didn't want the fish to get into a snag and I didn't want to get a face full of branches from the tree I was fishing by. After a minute the flathead surfaced. One final run and I scooped the fish into my net. Upon removing the hook I found that It was barely hooked in the soft roof of the mouth so I was very fortunate not to lose it. The fish looked to be around 10lbs, not huge for a flathead but I was excited. This was my first flathead of the year. Sadly this was only my 4th catfishing trip of the year. At this point I had been pulled and floated down stream an unknown distance as it was getting foggy. With the fish in my lap I started paddling upstream to where Sean and Russ were as I wanted to get some decent pictures. I quickly seen that they looked to be already heading my way. I asked them if they was moving and they said they had decided to leave and call it a night. I then informed them that I'd got a decent one and was hoping to get a few pictures. The flathead weighed in at 12.5lbs and measured 31.5".
It was pretty cold at this point and Russ had plans in the morning and Sean had to work in the morning so they still wanted to call it quits. After a brief paddle through some thick fog we found our take out spot, packed up, and headed home.


  1. I love the blog! Because of all the kayak post I ended up getting a nucanoe and I love it. Could you guys do a post on your set up for catfishing from a kayak? I am particularly interested in how you set up your anchor.

    1. Thank you noah. I'll see what I can do about getting some info up on anchoring techniques. Anchoring has been one of the hardest parts of catfishing from a kayak in my opinion. Congrats on the nucanoe purchase, just make sure you got the foam insert installed.

    2. Hey Noah,
      The seasons winding down and the catfishing is excellent right now, in a couple weeks it will start slowing down here in Ohio. Im not sure when were going to get the blog up on anchoring techniques so I'll go ahead and share my secret. I don't use an anchor. Instead I tie off to something, weather that be a tree limb in the water, or something on the bank. That's honestly the only way your going to have a chance at landing that big cat. Most kayak anchors are less than 8lbs (Mine are 3 and 6lbs), which means that you won't be able to exert very much pressure on a fish without your anchor slipping. When, if, that happens the fish will surely find something to drag you into, such as a log jam. You can get a grapple style anchor, but many kayakers frown upon using them because if they get caught current can actually pull your kayak under the water. Amanda tossed her 3lb grapple anchor out in swift current once and it got caught. The current was strong and started to turn her sideways, once that happened water started coming over the side of the kayak. She was seconds away from losing her kayak and all of her gear, luckily she pulled her anchor line out of the cleat and cut the line.

      Tie off to something and you'll be safe, and you'll be stable enough to pull in some seriously large fish.

      One more tip, when tying off to something: Try to have it brace your kayak. For example find a log that's partially out of the water and tie off to it parallel to your kayak. This will keep your kayak running straight.

      Best of luck,

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