Many of my angler friends often ask me what is the best season to catch catfish. I tend to smile and repeat the words once said by my friend Paweł – any weather can be catfish weather. After many years fishing I know one thing for certain – there is no one right answer.
In the past I have managed to catch catfish in extreme heat and in the rain, with water temperatures as high as 25 degrees and as low as 6. I can’t even tell you how many times I have gone out in seemingly perfect weather and caught nothing. Finally I realized that you just need to get to the water as often as possible and try different approaches to outsmart a catfish. You should always be ready to face the fish of your lifetime. Forget delicate tackle, there is no room for error. Every part of your rig has to be well thought out.
One of my favorite techniques is the “drift”.
I love spending time on a pontoon, looking at the fish finder screen and waiting for a catfish to rise to my lure.
The feeling when the bottom suddenly rises and a clearly visible line is moving towards your rig – that’s when I can hear my heartbeat, my breath slows and I know that it won’t be just another 120. I wait for the predator to strike to find out if I can win the fight.
The last 50cm of your rig becomes absolutely crucial in those moments. You need to do everything you can to avoid spooking the fish. This is especially important in waters where the fish have already had the chance to encounter an angler.
In this article I would like to share with you what I’ve learned about a type of leader that can both camouflage well and stay in one piece.
In the era of incredible breakthroughs in fishing tackle we forget that we can use fluorocarbon to make leaders.
Fluorocarbon is an invisible leader that I’ve been using for three years with great results. It has never failed me and I’ve noticed that I often have better results than other anglers on the same waters. You have to remember that a lure behaves differently on a fluorocarbon leader than on a braided line.
There are a couple crucial details that can make or break our rig.
An important feature of fluorocarbon lines is that it is virtually invisible due to the fact that it has roughly the same refractive index as water, so you have less chance of spooking the fish.
You might think that a catfish would have trouble spotting your rig with its small eyes but you have to remember that fish are becoming more and more careful. Anything you can do to hide the rig is great and fluorocarbon will be very helpful in that regard.
Fluorocarbon is also very stiff, which turns many anglers off it.
I think that’s a mistake, especially if you’re using the drift technique and the waves are big.
My leader remains absolutely straight in such conditions and the movement doesn’t cause breaks that could scare the fish off. The rig is also more visible on a fish finder.
The stiffness is also helpful if you’re fishing from one spot with live bait.
I can’t even count how many times my rigs tangled up because of live bait – fluorocarbon solved that problem.
Another important quality of fluorocarbon is that it is very abrasion-resistant. A leader can be damaged by both the catfish itself and sharp rocks sticking out from the bottom.
The advantage that fluorocarbon leaders have over braided line ones became clear one particular fall evening, as I was hunting for catfish with my friend Robert in a gravel pit.
We hauled out eight catfish ranging from 150 to 180 cm in three hours using one leader.
We had no time that day to switch out our leaders as the sunset was getting closer. All the fish bit close to the bottom and they ran into the sharp rocks straight away, so it would have been very easy for a leader to break.
I knew the water very well as I lost a huge fish in the same spot a year before when my braided line broke on an underwater rock.
This time, put under enormous pressure, the fluorocarbon suffered only slightly but it never broke. You couldn’t even see the abrasions, you had to feel for them with your hand.
That day only confirmed for me the superiority of fluorocarbon leaders. Ever since then I have been using it on every catfish trip. I have managed to catch some fish over 2 meters. I would really encourage all anglers to use it for catfish.
Especially if you’re fishing in difficult conditions, in places where it’s easy for a leader to break and if there are a lot of anglers visiting a particular spot.