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#2600679 - 08/30/08 07:44 PM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Fish Ninja]
tiny Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Lake Keystone, Oklahoma
down in texas I wouldn't think the fish actually go into full wintering mode but they might if the water temp gets down to 38 or lower ... if it gets that low the big majority of the fish will be about midlake and hanging from 30 ft to 50 ft deep on the side of ledges that the wind is blowing towards ... like if the wind has been out of the north for several days they'll be south ... like if there's a bridge or something of that nature with earthen base the fish will pile up against those sometimes hanging out at the base of those earthen structures if they have a depth of about 35 to 50 ft ... just focus your search with your color lowrance fish finder on the windblown side of those ledges and humps looking for big yellow umbrella arches and that's usually a big ole blue cat.

I'll let ya'll in on a little of tiny's secret winter big blue fishin as I don't think it'll apply to ya'lls lakes anyhow but it will give you an idea of where to start looking and what to look for, specifically. when I'm targetting just big bluecat in the winter months the main thing I start out with is wind direction for the past several days ... if the wind has been out of the south for several days I'll focus my search for big blues on the north side of the lake. if it's been out of the north for a week or more then I'll focus my search on the south side ... I've drawn up some pics using a map and put my own depths in there to show ya what I look for. Now normally on keystone (this ain't a map of keystone) when the fish are wintering they'll be anywhere from 30 ft to 50 ft and a good number of fish will be holding on the ledges ... this is what you need to find out first is where the most fish are holding and if they're in true wintering mode they'll be deeper ... like 45 to 50 ft range and here's what I do with my lowrance fish finder and my remote control trollin motor ... now if I'm searching for where the fish are holding I'll use my big motor and go about 5 mph in areas that I'm searching for the yellow fish arches, remember the article i wrote for central texas catfish club? I also posted it on tff too ... about telling the difference between catfish and scaley fish ... yellow arches is what we're looking for. so i do my initial search if I've not been out on the lake after they've went to wintering holes or I call them holes but they're not really holes ... they're ledges but some areas hold more fish than others just because of he way it's layed out or how abrupt the ledges are against their favorite depth at the time ... the more abrupt the depth change is the better they like it if it's at their comfort zone and there's food fish in the area. so we're working with south winds for several days ... water temp has been below 36 degrees for 2 weeks after a massive cold front came through and pushed the shad out of the shallow water and into deep waters ... this front happened 2 weeks ago in late december (for instance) so we know the blues have went to wintering and now we need to find out at what degree of wintering they're in ... so we search the northern end (due to the south winds) of the abrupt ledges like in this photo.

Notice the red zigzag trail across the different water depths at 50 to 60 ft .. just picture those depths at 45 to 50 where I'm zigzaging back n forth across ... this is a pattern I'd use if I've already established the majority of the fish are holding at 45 to 50 ft so with my trolling motor, NOT THE BIG OUTBOARD, i'll zigzag across these northern slopes/ledges looking for the big yellow umbrella arches ... once I've located one I'll mark it with my gps by putting a way point there and then triangulate on the fish from several different directions using my trolling motor so as to not to disturb the fish ... once I've pinpointed his position I'll nose my boat into the wind and drop my front anchor about 30 ft to the side of the fish ... if the wind is out of the south I'll get either on the east or west side with the nose of my boat into the wind about 50 ft south and 30 ft east or west ... doesn't matter if it's east or west of the fish. cause we just want to get parallel with the fish ... sometimes i'll use a bouy but those dadburned things get tangled about every time and I just try to do this without the bouys. so now we're anchored about 30 ft to the west of the fish ... dropped anchor about 50 ft north since the depth is around 50 ft and let the wind pull us back towards our waypoint with it being just on the starboard side of the boat (right side if we're 30 ft east of the fish) then I'll get out 2 to 4 rods and throw out past the fish about 20 ft so I make a 50 ft cast just to the north of the fish and then let my line out after it hits the water because if you don't the line you throw out will just pendulum under your boat so keep your spool disengaged and let the sinker and baited hook fall straight down from where you cast it just a few feet north of the fish and past him about 20 ft ... once it hits bottom you start to reel slowly until you feel like you've just went past the fish and then do this on the south side of the fish also ... then if you want to make certain you've got good coverage on the fish throw out two more rods even further north and south of the fish and drag them back towards the boat until yo feel like you've reeled past them just a few feet. set the rods in the rod holders with the drag set fairly light ... light enough that you won't rip your rod holders out of the gunwales or break the rod holders. normall with a good steady southern wind the fish will feed if you present the bait to him off bottom and right in front of his face ... he normally won't pass it up if there's not been any recent fronts come through and there's been a good southern wind for over a week ... FISH ON!

now if there's been a front come through and the wind has been out of the north for 5 to 7 days the fish will make a massive migration and they won't be on those southern ledges ... they'll move south most of the time so we'll look for fish south of where we found them when we had the south wind ... like where these red arrows are marked on the map


I have used this method several times and always did good ... I did it once this last winter with clients in the boat and we found 5 big yellow arches or fairly big anyhow ... big for keystone and we caught all 5 of them ... there was two bigguns close together and we caught both of them at the same time by doing the drag n drop proceedure on them ... that's what I call the drag n drop is when you throw your baited bottom float rig just past your target and then reel it back slowly ... when you do this you leave a little scent trail in the water and the fish will pick that up a lot quicker than if we were to just throw out and drop the bait close to them because the scent dispersal wouldn't be that great ... the scent of the fresh cut bait would be just generalized right around the area you dropped the bait ... but when you drag the bait slowly past the fish that leaves a good scent trail for the fish to track down and they will too ... they'll track it down just like an old coondog trailing a coon to it's tree. drag n drop increases your shot at these big fish dramatically. I call this method "big bluecat sniping" because you're just like a sniper looking for a single target like one shot ... one kill. I only agreed to do this this one time last winter because the fellers that went with me agreed to release any fish we caught like that that was over 15 lbs. they still ended up with a big mess of fish as we caught several others that were 12 to 13 and on down to about 5 lbs by throwing out other rods on the other side of the boat ... they wanted to take some fish home as well as hunt for big bluecat. but this is how I do it and this is the first time I've told anyone about it other than my clients. you can catch quite a few big fish like this if you can adapt this to your home waters and if they go into full wintering mode.

some have asked me when do the fish come out of wintering mode and it's always on the next flood we get ... we get a little flood of about 2 or 3 inches up the cimarron or arkansas basins and they'll come right out of the deep water and head back up to the shallow flats.

now if the water temps stay above 40 degrees like I'd suspect that texas waters do then they'll never go into a full fledged wintering pattern and they'll be actively feeding at levels around a good number of shad and this is when I'd be watching the gulls wherever I could find them and also be doing some sniping but mostly just fishing for active fish about 45 degrees is the magic number ... if the water temp stays above 45 then you should stay in a fall or spring type pattern because they won't start wintering if the water stays above 45 ... the shad will still be shallow ... the fish will feel really great in the cool water ... they'll be feeding heavily and especially on the windier days as the wind oxygenates the water and makes them feel really good and makes them active ... if you've ever noticed on dead calm days the fish just lay around mostly or won't be moving around or no fish activity on the surface at all ... looks just like glass all the way across the lake ... well this is due to the wind or lack of wind because when there's a little chop on the water then that's putting more oxygen into the water and it makes the fish feel good and the fish actually need the highly oxygenated water in order to feed .. something about their digestive abilities not being what they should in lower oxygen levels than it would be in higher oxygen levels ... this is also why the fish feed so much better in the spring, winter and fall is because the water temp is lower and the water holds lots more oxygen in the cooler temps so the fish just feel that much better in cooler waters due to the oxygen levels ... I think I'll stop there ... we'll have someone whining about my posts being too long again if I don't stop hahaha.
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#2601263 - 08/31/08 05:14 AM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: tiny]
Bigblue or Gaspergoo Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/17/08
Posts: 705
Loc: Burleson Texas
Wow! Thanks tiny.. Thats some great info as usual...Will definitly use this this winter...
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#2601646 - 08/31/08 07:56 AM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Bigblue or Gaspergoo]
Brandon82 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 1784
Loc: Garland, Tx
Nice info... Thanks Tiny. thumb

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#2601658 - 08/31/08 08:03 AM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Bigblue or Gaspergoo]
Big Zee Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 1778
Loc: East Yegua
Find you some good holes on the lake, sour you some maze, and as long as you keep it baited out, you'll keep cats in the freezer. Also look for the commrants in winter. They will roost in the dead trees on the lake. They will leave droppings in the water that's a dinner bell to the cats. Works for me. alot of times I duck hunt in the morning and then go to my baited holes and hammer the cats. The lakes I fish and hunt in central Texas very seldom drop below 50 degrees.
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#2601727 - 08/31/08 08:37 AM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Big Zee]
Drawout Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 3131
Loc: Paris Texas
Tiny as always you are the man ! Thanks for taking the time to help others.

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#2601900 - 08/31/08 10:00 AM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Drawout]
Fish Ninja Offline
Angler

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 471
Loc: Weatherford,TX
Thanks Tiny! Thats a lot of info. I went fishing a couple times last winter and never saw the temp lower than 40. Most of the time it was upper 40s. It warms up pretty quick too. In March the river went from 50 to 60 in a couple of days. But like I said I usually don't do much fishing in the winter but I've really been gettin into catfishing and I want to try and find some big ones this winter. My wife caught a 13 lb yellow last year off the bank at lake Cleburne. Her first cat ever too! She loves catfishing now. We actually went on a guided trip this year at lake Tawakoni with Trophy Cats, I think the guy that runs it comes on here (I'm pretty new). His name is George. Anyway, they have lots of pics on their site with huge blues but the biggest we caught that day was 8 lbs. We caught the most fish out of all three boats and we only caught 12. It kinda sucked. Its ok though. It happens.

About the fish finder, I just have a black and white one. I guess I need to get a color one huh?

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#2602026 - 08/31/08 11:09 AM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Fish Ninja]
Pavur Outdoors Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/01/07
Posts: 1629
Loc: Lubbock
Great post Tiny!!!! Thats awesome stuff! you need to write a book. Thanx for posting your knowledge
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#2602326 - 08/31/08 01:24 PM Re: Fishin better in a couple months? [Re: Pavur Outdoors]
tiny Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Lake Keystone, Oklahoma
most welcome guys and thanks for the kind words.

fish ninja the color fish finders just give us a little bit more information to work with ... the monochrome ones are great for their day but now we have something that's just a little bit better ... the reason that the catfish show up with yellow on them (I don't think I mentioned this) is because that's the softest solid signal it's also the same signal as the soft muddy bottom sends back .. then red is the medium color and purple/blue is the hard signal ... gar will show up as a solid thin and long arch of blue/purple or at least that's what it showed when I put one below my transducer ... this is how I figured all this stuff out originally ... I wanted to see if there was any difference in the fish and there were ... I tied on a heavy weight on bottom of my line on a fishin pole and then tied on a stringer clip off one of those old metal chain stringers and clipped a fish on with that and the first one I did that with was a 10 lb bluecat and it showed up mostly yellow on the line it created ... most of the scaley fish I sent down was all red or red/purple ... ifyou're just holding a fish under the transducer like that it'll just be a solid line across your fish finder instead of an arch... bluegill show up as a thin black line also with a little red in it ... shad show up as mostly red but if it's a thinned out ball of shad it'll have a lot of yellow in the bait ball. have your colorline set at about 75% as that's about the right setting but if you want to tweak it send a catfish down below the transducer and adjust the colorline so that it just shows up with a little bit of yellow and that way any scaley fish will be sure to send back red or red/purple.

fish ninja ... that's the temp down here that the blues go to wintering ... now the fish down in texas may go to wintering mode at a higher temp or they may not ... the only way to know for sure is to get out there during january and early feburary and check it out ... it may be a time of year thing too but I doubt that'd be the case cause it seems like mostly a temperature thing. still yet though the fish may get around and hold on subtle inclines like I've mentioned and may congregate just like they would in oklahoma after a bad front moves though when the water temp is down pretty low ... they'll make a massive migration to the south when those fronts hit and the wind stays out of the north for nearly a week ... the shad and blues will all head south ... up to 10 miles or more overnight sometimes. then the first spring flood hits or late winter flood hits and they'll head back to the upper end of the lake to catch that fresh influx of bug larvae and worms and what not coming into the lake. it's amazing to see them move like that cause they'll vanish from the deeper waters where you were catching them like crazy just a day or two earlier and then the next day there's tons of fish up in 2 to 4 ft deep waters. I've also marked gobs of fish in the intermediate waters towards the middle of the area between the wintering areas and the shallows on the upper end but never could catch them ... it was like they were on the move to the upper end and wasn't going to feed until they got to the upper end to take advantage of the food being brought into the lake ... it was wild last year ... got up there just a couple days after I'd been catching fish right and left down in the wintering areas and then they vanished ... looked all over down in the 45 to 50 ft waters and never found anything but a few suspended fish and couldn't get them to bite .. what I did was launched down there in the deep water ... if I'd have launched on the upper end I'd have seen the fresh flood water and would have known the fish were up there in the shallows but I didn't so I spent most of that day looking for fish deep and then decided that something had happened so I headed up lake and when I got to the 25 to 30 ft depths I seen the fresh debris and knew right then what had happened ... I didn't know about any flood that hit because the only place it hit was up on the arkansas river above keystone ... so when I seen that we went on up to the shallows and we caught about 20 fish real fast and I opened a few of them's gut to see what they were feeding on and their guts were packed with mayfly nymphs ... thousands of them in each one of the fish. I really get a kick outta seeing stuff like that as it's a real eye opening experience to add to your knowledge base and to help me pay more attention to what's going on above the lake instead of just the water temp ... the water temp was 36 degrees that day too ... they never went back to the wintering areas and it was mid feburary I think or early feburary. I would have never thought they would have stayed up in the shallows when the water temp was so cold but they never went back to wintering after that one little flood in feb.

I wrote a book once but never found a publisher for it ... I know quite a bit more about catfishing since I wrote that book though but I ain't writing another one cause it's draining to put that much work into something and then not be able to find a publisher for it. I found one guy, Amato books, that publishes trout fishing magazines and he was very interested in it and said he had to bring it before his board of directors and they decided that they didn't have the distribution for a catfish book as most of their distribution was all up northwestern states. the outfit that published keith sutton's book didn't want to publish another one because they already had a catfish book on the shelves and didn't want to publish another one because it'd compete with one they've already got in circulation. I've got quite a bit more secret information that I've not printed anywhere that could go into a book but I ain't ever going to do that again.


Edited by tiny (08/31/08 08:25 PM)
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#3657973 - 07/05/09 03:44 PM locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is.
tiny Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Lake Keystone, Oklahoma
this is a classic example of what I call "likely spot fishermen" fishermen that'll drive their boats to a spot and say "this looks like a likely spot" and fish there all day then go home and tell their wives the fish just weren't biting today. this is an example of just no one trying to locate the fish and also I don't understand this one lake name vs another lake name ... bluecat are bluecat no matter what lake you're talking about ... I've been to several lakes in my life and never fished those lakes prior to going there and still was able to catch as many fish as I thought I possibly could on my home lake that day compared to the new lake and that's because I use fish location methods that work pretty well on any lake that has bluecat. I'll share one with ya.

pick out yourself a good large flat or area where the wind is blowing across and get on the upper end where the wind is coming from ... sit back and relax with your motor off and let the wind push your boat along watching your color lowrance if you've got one and using the method I mentioned in a previous post some months ago on how to set your locator's colorline so that any yellow arch will be a skinned fish like bluecat. bluecat are an open water hunter ... they don't relate to structure nearly as much as channels and flathead exept in extremely clear waters but they will ... this is just to explain how they hunt for food as they're not a stationary or loaner type fish ... they hunt in groups of 5 to 50 or more fish but they don't school like other fish(shoulder to shoulder) such as striper or sandies. they just swim in close proximity to one another so if you find 3 or 4 fish within 20 yds of boat path/transducer path with your fish finder there are probably lots more fish in the area. drop anchor and broadcast your rods in all different directions ... 6 to 8 rods using bottom float rigs ... never and I mean NEVER use a rig that allows your bait to sit on bottom ... always use fresh cut or live or a mixture of cut vs live ... I normally run a couple of live baits sometimes if the water is a little clear or even if it's not I'll run a couple live baits out of 6 to 8 rods but I've found that more times than not my live baits will just get knocked off if the fish in the area aren't all that big. anyhow this is just me running off at the brain so take what you can use but if you follow this exactly as I've written it then you'll start catching a lot of fish no matter what lake you're fishing. don't sit in one spot all day ...that's just counter productive ... if you're not catching fish every 15 minutes then you're in the wrong spot. but like I said ... if you've got a trolling motor and can use it while watching your graph(color lowrance) is preferrable then that's the best way but if you don't let the current or wind carry you across the water ... this way you don't disturb the fish with your motor noise and you get an accurate view of what's down there. this time of year you should restrict this search to no less than 8ft deep and no deeper than 12 to 15 ft or if you've got a color fish finder then figure out what depth the thermocline is at and start there at that depth then casually let the boat drift across areas ... if you don't see fish and feel like it looks like a likely spot then forget fishing there if you don't see the fish ... I never fish to find fish ... I find fish and then put them in the boat and this is one of the methods I use. pretty simple method isn't it. just know this, bluecat are just in close proximity to one another ... 5 to 10 yds apart when they're on the hunt and usually if you find 3 or 4 within 20 yds of each other then you've found a good group of fish. the reason I say don't do this in any shallower water than 8 ft is because your transducer will only be covering about 4 ft of area below the boat so you need to be at least 8 ft deep to 15 or so depending on the thermocline. so use common sense ... that's an important factor in catfishing ... common sense ... once you start using common sense you'll start coming up with all sorts of fish location methods and pay attention to everything ... analyze everything ... I tend to over-analyze things sometimes but you get my meaning. think about what the bottom is like when you're throwing out a standard carolina rig ... whether or not your bait is going to fall down into mud, weeds, rocks etc etc ... you can also cast a lot further using a bottom float rig like the one described on my tips section (there's photos too) covering as much water as possible from one spot where your boat is anchored is essential to your success as well ... I can cover almost a 200 yd diameter when I'm anchored and this helps me put a lot of fish in the boat ... the reason I do this is because of the nature of the way bluecat run together ...I'll say it again "they're just in close proximity to one another" so covering a lot of water from your anchor will do two things ... it'll help establish the way you need to move most of the time ... sometimes when you do this you'll only catch fish on a couple rods so that helps you decide which way you need to move or gives you an idea of which way you need to move to locate more fish because you're catching fish off to the northeast of the boat more so than anywhere else. and also it allows you to spread your rods out to accomidate those loosely packed fish so you've got a good shot at catching multiple fish from one anchor ... think about that ... throwing carolina rigs out 20ft around the boat you're just covering enough water to catch 2 or 3 fish ... 200 yd diameter you're liable to catch 10 to 15 fish. I'll cut n paste this on a fresh thread so that everyone can read this ... it may be of help to others that may not click on a lake conroe thread. mainly because this method of fish location will work on any lake that has a good number of bluecat

pay close attention to wind direction also ... I've found that most of the time fish will be located more towards the side of the lake that the wind has blowing towards and the only overriding factor to this is current or a fresh influx of water into the lake ...there are acceptions to this as well ... a few times i've focused my search to the windblown side and couldn't find anything so then I went to the other side and found fish ... not sure what happens but it happens sometimes. don't ever fish to find fish ... find the fish first and then fish for them.


Edited by tiny (07/05/09 03:47 PM)
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#3658143 - 07/05/09 04:43 PM Re: locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is. [Re: tiny]
heycods Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 2099
Loc: west of Brownwood in the stick...
Excellent post, as Usual. Thanks Tiny
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#3658251 - 07/05/09 05:18 PM Re: locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is. [Re: tiny]
j49 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 132
Loc: west central,tx
Thanks, Tiny,

i have learned lots from you in the past couple of years, I don't know why you share so much, but thank you.

J
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#3658486 - 07/05/09 07:06 PM Re: locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is. [Re: j49]
Whisker Wrangler Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 09/30/08
Posts: 4209
Loc: San Marcos, TX
Excellent post..

can someone post a link to your "bottom float rig" thread?? Thanks.
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#3658558 - 07/05/09 07:28 PM Re: locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is. [Re: Whisker Wrangler]
tiny Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Lake Keystone, Oklahoma
this is the link to my old tips section
http://www.catfishing.tv/Main/tips-section/TipsSection.html

here's the direct link to the bottom float rig
http://www.catfishing.tv/Main/tips-section/floatrig.htm

this is another version of the same rig but using a leader and snap swivel and the use of a crochette hook to pull the leader up through the cut bait or shad head so that the treble hook is sticking out on both sides of the cut bait
http://www.catfishing.tv/Main/tips-section/cutbaitrig.html
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#3658845 - 07/05/09 09:20 PM Re: locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is. [Re: tiny]
Pavur Outdoors Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/01/07
Posts: 1629
Loc: Lubbock
Great information Tiny! Thanks for sharing.
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#3658873 - 07/05/09 09:28 PM Re: locating bluecat no matter what the lake's name is. [Re: tiny]
Perch Prince Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/14/09
Posts: 211
Loc: Azle, TX
This is the first I have heard about a fish finder that can distinguish cat fish from other fish. Can anyone tell me what fishfinders can do this? He mentions lowrance color, but which one(s)?
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