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#11312652 - 12/30/15 05:38 PM Jug lines for Flathead
Spiderman Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3272
Loc: EAST TEXAS
If you catch a flathead on a 15' flat on a jug line, would it probably be a good location to catch a 2nd one? Or is a "one & done" kind of thing?

I don't know if flatheads are going to congregate together this time of year or if they are just solitary creatures, except during the spawn.

Will they eventually end up in main lake creeks and go semi dormant when the water drops into the 40's?
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#11313960 - 12/31/15 09:56 AM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
Chiprat Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/28/15
Posts: 208
Loc: Highland Village, Texas
Here is all I know about Flats, hope some of this helps..... In June when we Noodle (By Hand) they will come back in holes that were used by another one, in some cases

Somewhere between their deep, silted winter holes and their shallow, summer spawning cavities, thousands of surly flatheads are right now swimming, feeding, and just itching for a fight. No point in waiting till summer to tangle with a monster; theyʼre heavier and hungrier now. A timely blend of angling wisdom and scientific data on spring flathead catfish locations should make those monumental meetings more frequent.
The spring habits and haunts of the toughest cats in freshwater were partially exposed in the April 2000 issue of Catfish In-Sider. An article titled “Prime Time Flatheads” synthesized the keen insights of In-Fisherman editors Doug Stange and Steve Hoffman, along with Ned Kehde, John Thompson, and the late, great Toad Smith. Now those secrets can be compared with a recent upgrade to the scientific database on flathead habits, from a study based in west Texas.
Kehde described Thompson’s tried-and-true spring exploits in midwestern reservoirs, where he uses loglines, a beefy form of limbline attached to the trunks of flooded trees. Stange pinpointed spring flathead locations in a small natural lake in Minnesota. The narratives shared a central theme: that flatheads this time of year can be found in heavy cover at moderate depths.
Rob Weller and Jimmy Winter, former graduate students at Texas Tech University, have taken the science of flathead location to the next level. In a recent issue of The North American Journal of Fisheries Management, the biologists published their conclusions about seasonal habitat use and home range size of flatheads in a high plains reservoir. What they learned about prespawn location can make this season more predictable and more profitable for anglers looking for a whiskered trophy.
Tracking Flatheads
It’s long been understood that flatheads establish and maintain definite home ranges around heavy cover in rivers and lakes. For three decades, scientists have occasionally tagged and tracked flatheads in waters across the country, and they’ve agreed on two major conclusions: flatheads have well-defined territories, and those boundaries always encircle some kind of heavy cover.
Here are a few examples of the hard data on flathead homing tendencies: After implanting transmitters into 22 flatheads in a muddy Oklahoma reservoir, researchers released half the fish near their capture site and transported the other half over a mile away. Amazingly, all but one of the flatheads returned to their capture site and reestablished home ranges of a few acres. In 1978, Arkansas biologists tagged 171 flatheads in Beaver Reservoir, and most of their recaptures occurred within a mile of the original tagging location.
Home range tendencies in river systems are just as dramatic. In a Mississippi River study, all but one tagged flathead were found less than a mile from their capture site. In the Apalachicola River, 96 percent of recaptured flatheads were found in the same river stretch where they were originally tagged. And a tracking study in Mississippi found that flathead home ranges averaged less than half a river mile.
In the Missouri River, researchers found that flatheads consistently selected snags over open water. In other studies, scientists on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers found that flatheads preferred wing dams. As a budding biologist in Georgia, ¬In-Fisherman’s staff fishery biologist Steve Quinn determined that introduced flatheads in the Flint River were most abundant in rocky reaches. The rules are simple—find cover, and you’ll likely find flatheads. And if you find them once, you’ll likely find them there again.


The researchers in west Texas took the science one step farther by tracking flatheads year-round, noting depths, habitats, and location of every fish they could locate on each visit. Beyond that, they measured the habitat preferences of flatheads in each season and compared them to the amount of habitat types available in the lake.
Weller and Winter conducted their study in Buffalo Springs Lake, a muddy, 235-acre impoundment near Lubbock. They captured fish by gill netting and electrofishing, then surgically inserted radio transmitters in 29 flatheads weighing from 2 to 40 pounds. For two years, the researchers doggedly tracked individual signals of all the flatheads and recorded data on location, bottom type (rock, silt, or wood), depth, and water temperature.
In their report, they summarized tracking data from each major season. They defined the spring season as a time from postwinter when the lake was warming up to the spawning period. Nesting occurred in Buffalo Springs from mid-June through mid-July, when water temperatures ranged from 68˚F To 77˚F.
Cold Tracks
A thorough review of spring pre¬spawn habits and locations of monster flatheads must begin with the winter thaw and end with their eventual transition to spawning sites during midsummer. The winter fishing season for flatheads has perplexed even the most talented anglers. That is, if it can even be considered a season. Most ardent flathead specialists take the winter off, stowing their gear and resting their forearms for warmwater battles with cranky cats.
Between fall, when flathead fishing is satisfying and predictable, to midsummer, when flatheads move to well-known spawning areas, lies a mystical world where few have ventured and even fewer have prevailed. We can now turn to science for a partial answer to the winter flathead enigma.
In deep winter, flatheads lie almost dormant in their native waters from Minnesota to Alabama, and from Kentucky to Texas. Tracking studies prove that flathead movements in cold water are minimal. These are not cold-¬tolerant creatures like their genetic cousins the blue catfish. Blue cats turn on in winter like Las Vegas on a Saturday night, but flatheads shut down tighter than Mayberry on a Monday night.
At the southern end of the flathead’s range, or where they’ve been introduced in the Apalachicola River, adventurous anglers can catch a few regardless of the season. Jigging soft plastics near the bottom during warm spells might produce fish in the north, too, but for most of us, winter and flatheads just don’t belong in the same sentence.

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#11314014 - 12/31/15 10:15 AM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
Uncle Zeek Online   content
"Good News, Everyone!"

Registered: 09/26/05
Posts: 17072
Loc: Lewisville
Haven't caught many flatheads myself, but I pay close attention when I see nearby fishermen pull one up (hard to miss when everyone is on sandbass). I've noted that the same spots on the lake seem to produce flatheads over time - I'm assuming that when you catch the resident hawg, another one will move in.
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#11314244 - 12/31/15 11:35 AM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
BrianTx01 Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 5735
Loc: Fort Worth
I have caught a flathead on one of "scouting jugs" before but it is a random occurrence. A flathead does what a flathead wants to do. It has only one predator. The big one I caught just floated up right to the top until he saw the boat and then the fight was on! That one was lucky that I caught him because most flathead don't survive their encounter. I just with I could catch some smaller eater size fish. Bait some up with live bait and let them soak. See what happens.
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#11315701 - 12/31/15 11:23 PM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
Catfish Lynn Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1059
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Spiderman,

I pulled up the thread on Flathead Trails for you & noted a few little extra tidbits. Hope that helps.
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#11315703 - 12/31/15 11:24 PM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
Catfish Lynn Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 1059
Loc: Bryan, Texas
Good Share Chiprat!!!
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#11315835 - 01/01/16 07:59 AM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
Spiderman Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3272
Loc: EAST TEXAS
InFisherman magazine actually has a lot of articles/videos on flathead fishing. I have read most of them, now after the earlier post above. Thanks for the above posts, any other insights are appreciated. Using big bluegill for bait.

So far I have caught 2 flatheads in the last week. I'm concentrating on 12' water on flats near a break line that drops off into 16'-17' water near by. Both were caught between lunch & 4:00pm, warmest part of the day. One was 40lbs & 2nd was 13lbs. I have had 6 jugs out for a week now.

Looks like typically they are loners and cover 2 to 35 acres a night in their feeding., probably less with the water getting colder. Rest in deep water and feed into shallower water returning to their home around dawn.






Edited by Spiderman (01/01/16 11:07 AM)
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#11333463 - 01/09/16 09:22 AM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
Spiderman Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3272
Loc: EAST TEXAS
Update on fishing with jugs for flathead

Well, I have caught 2 more in the last week. A 11lb & 15lb flathead, they were on the flat upper ledge very near creeks that were 17'deep. The flats surrounding the areas were around 12' deep, baited with live bluegill that were set at 10' deep.

So far I have caught 4, interesting to me that both days that i have been successful, I have caught 2 in the same day.

I'm beginning to believe that once you have selected a location, if you don't catch one within 2 days it is time to move and try another spot.

Water is near 50 degrees,if it drops any lower I will probably try again In the late spring.
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#11335674 - 01/10/16 05:38 AM Re: Jug lines for Flathead [Re: Spiderman]
BankAngler50 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/05/15
Posts: 702
Well done Spiderman and great report thumb

Also a thank to chiprat for sharing the article...
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