CATFISH THUMPING SUMMER BAITS   4 comments

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Catfish are thumping those tasty morsels that anglers present to them.  Summer is the prime time for fishing for this muscle with fins.

A staple of southern cooking, catfish are also available in restaurants as well as local lakes.  But, it is more fun to catch your own.  Here are some tips for catching your own in Williamson County.

Top catfish producing lake in the county is Crab Orchard Lake in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge near Marion.  According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the catfish population of this 7,000-acre lake is self-sustaining and has not required supplemental stocking to maintain the fishery.

The Crab Orchard Lake contains both channel and flathead catfish.  It also contains a good population of bullheads, a member of the catfish family that does not gain the large size of the others.

Fishing for catfish is a laid back type of angling.  The rigs are simple and the baits, although often smelly, are simple as well.

It is a good idea to remember that catfish like cover.  They are bottom feeders that hold around rocks and stumps.  Once one sets the hook, the fish will do its best to break off the line.  Veteran catfish anglers prefer a line that is of at least 12-pound test.

The tough line helps prevent the sandpaper-like teeth of the fish from wearing or weakening the line causing a break.  With high quality tough line, anglers can fish around rocky, stump infested, underwater terrain.

Most often the rig for catfishing is simply a baited hook suspended beneath a float, cork, bobber or whatever you call it.  Cast to a probable location and allowed the rig to sink to the level where you believe the fish are located.

Bait can be live or dead.  Popular baits include minnows, leeches, crayfish, catalpa worms, leaf worms, red worms, nightcrawlers, frogs, and cut bait.  Cheese baits, popular in the spring, are less successful in the summer heat.

During periods of overcast or drizzle, catfish cruise the flats in search of food the same as they do at night.  Under such conditions, a three-way rig works well.  Attach one swivel to the line that goes to the reel, the second to a drop line of about eight inches with a heavy sinker on the end.  Attach the third swivel to a line of about 30-inches with a hook and bait at the end.  The rig allows the bait to float just off the bottom a location popular with catfish.

There are catfish in most of the other Williamson County lakes.  Another popular place to fish for catfish is Little Grassy Lake a1200-acres body of water to the south of Crab Orchard Lake but still in the refuge area.  It produces many channel catfish on a regular basis throughout the summer.

Whether fishing from shore or boat, in the evening or morning, night or day, catfish are a marvelous fish for action.  They can be as finicky as any game fish, and yet do not require a lot of expensive tackle to pursue.

4 responses to “CATFISH THUMPING SUMMER BAITS

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  1. Don,

    Did you receive the email I sent you a week or so ago?

    Bill

    William Schwarz Assistant Editor and VP Marketing ODU Magazine North America’s Largest 100% Digital Fishing Magazine http://www.odumagazine.com/ 207-893-2266

    Disclaimer Confidentiality Notice: This email and its contents may contain information that is privileged, confidential, proprietary or otherwise protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient, please do not disclose or use the information. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender and delete it immediately. ODUMagazine™ is not liable for any loss or damage arising in any way from this message or its attachments and accepts no responsibility for personal emails, or emails unconnected with the company’s business.

  2. Some good general tips Don. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been keeping up now and then with what you are writing and you have some great stuff. I am always interested in seeing catfish tips from others.

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