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Cats on the Flats.................
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:42 am Reply with quote
catmatt
 
Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Location: illinois




FISH ON, I yelled as the big channel came flying completely out of the water. On the hook set this channel that thought he was a tarpon was fit to be tied. Leaving the safety of the water twice and peeling drag like a Marlin. After an exciting three or four minute battle I slid the net under the beefy channel and brought him aboard. This channel cat, a stout ten pounder had been patroling a favorite flat of mine chasing minnows and other snacks when he happened across my offering of fresh cut shad he just could not resist. As I eased the big cat back into the water I took a quick glance at my depth finder. It read 3 feet of water. This particular flat, a favorite of mine has consistently produced large channels and the shallower they are the more fun catching cats can be. What exactly is a flat and what do the best ones contain that makes them so special? Letís take a look at all this and more and shed some light on one of the best situations of all to catch cats in.
In day to day conversation with almost any type of fisherman the topic of fishing flats almost always arises. The reason is because at certain times of the year flats attract all kinds of fish. For this reason alone a flat is even more valuable to a cat man because cats feed on all kinds of fish.
In the spring of the year the first warming rays of the sun trigger a natural reaction that gets the fishing ball rolling. Shallower water warms faster and rays of sunlight trigger plankton and other plant growth. This growth attracts bait fish such as shad and shiners and in turn attracts cats. Flats in the viscinity of a wintering hole are a great bet. There are several reasons for this, The first being the location itself. Although the fishes metabolism is on the rise the shorter the distance they have to travel to feed the better. The second reason is just the sheer numbers of fish in the area already. With wintering holes holding hundreds and sometimes thousands of fish you can hedge the bet in your favor by finding a quality flat close to one of these holes. The third reason is the environment. A wintering hole affords much in the way of extreme change and diverse situations. In general you will find all types of currents. Slow current holding your more sluggish but feeding fish. Heavier but more channel cat conducive current that cats love to move and feed in. Drops and ledges which cats love to hold on during there times of inactivity and then finally the flat which is offering warming waters and preverbial dinner bell.
Letís regress for a moment and discuss what I believe to be the most important features of a flat. What I have found is flats on the inside bend in a river system tend to be the best. With water 4 feet or shallower and slight current reducing quality. Another quality that makes a flat special is cover. Wood sprinkled flats or flats laden with rocks or other debris will most often be better than featureless flats. Another very important reason I prefer in side bend flats is because outside bends in most systems tend to be great cat habitat so you already have fish in the area.
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Flats offer a cat man a huge amount of options to choose from when it comes to rigging. The answer to this question again goes back to what you prefer. Slip or set bobbers are a great bait and allow you to cover lots of area and the visual aspect of watching bobbers sink is attractive to some. Running your basic slip rig is a tried and true option for any situation including this one. Downsizing your weight or not using one at all is an option here. Let the little current on the flat or even the prevailing winds take your bait to the fish. This method performs best with lighter line, say 8-12 pound test. The lighter line drifts a lot better and is easier to control. Another fantastic option a flat offers us cat crazed fisherman is to hop right out of the boat and wade. A string and can around the neck for bait and a small baggie with your basic tackle and your set. Waders come in handy in the spring and fall when water temps are lower but what a way to get cool in the heat of the summer.
There you have it. Now hopefully you know what we mean when we talk about a flat. You also know what the best ones contain, how to fish them and tackle to use. Remember that cats on flats are rarely inactive. They are there to feed and are usually aggressive even in ice out. Slip a bobber on if you want, throw the kids in the boat and go have a ball slamminí cats on flats, it definitely is fantastic.
Flats created by floods, flats being used for procreation of the species, deeper flats you may not recognize as a flat at all, weíll talk about them all and believe you me there is a ton to talk about so stay tuned for more on Cats on Flats from the Catfish Academy. GO CATFISH..........................Catmatt...................................
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:34 pm Reply with quote
fishead
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Joined: 16 Dec 2006
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Location: Sterling IL




Welcome catmatt. Thanks for posting, that is some great info. Catfish are a hard fish to understand and it takes a lot of time and skill to figure them out.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:44 pm Reply with quote
catmatt
 
Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Location: illinois




Catfish caught me early on in life, thanks to my dad. They are an incredibly interesting fish. Widespread and a ball to catch and there top end size don't hurt either. Your cartoon work is cool by the way. You do that for anyone who wants it, or just for fun.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:49 pm Reply with quote
fishead
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Thanks. I used to make a cartoon a day but when I started babysitting grandson that came to a stop. I do it for fun and to get traffic on my website. I have a lot of the cartoons on tshirts in my Cafe Press store.

Where do you fish? We have decent catfishing right here in sterling.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:21 pm Reply with quote
fishead
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By the way, you can leave links to your website in here, its fine.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:07 am Reply with quote
catmatt
 
Joined: 23 Jan 2009
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Location: illinois




I fish from Oregon to Erie mostly.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:47 am Reply with quote
fishead
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Well thats a lot of water. I have fished from oregon on down to the rt 30 park rest landing area and I fished the ptown area once is all. I spend most of my time on the mississippi river but I do still have my jetdrive and I miss fishing the rock. I plan on fishing there this year. Especially if the miss. river is messed up from rain like last summer.

Do you ever walleye fish or just cats?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:07 am Reply with quote
catmatt
 
Joined: 23 Jan 2009
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Location: illinois




i catch alot of walleye on accident. i use alot of whole small shad at times of the year and the walleyes just love em'

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:50 am Reply with quote
fishead
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I catch a lot of catfish by accident too. Sometimes big ones, lol. I caught a 36 pounder near the dixon dam using 6 pound test monofilament one February day.

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 Cats on the Flats................. 
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