Trophy Catfish: Big Winter Blues

Now through mid-March is prime time for catching the biggest blue catfish of the year and I know of no better spot than Tawakoni to target jumbo size blues.

Now through mid-March is prime time for catching the biggest blue catfish of the year and there is no better spot than Tawakoni to target jumbo size blues. The ‘trophy’ winter months produce regular 60 pounders, so catfish in the 15-35 pound range hardly raise an eyebrow of locals.

My guide tipped that fishing shallow water can be especially productive, especially after two or three days of constant wind from the same direction. He also mentioned that when the wind’s been blowing a couple days out of the south baitfish stack up in the shallows on the north or northwest banks and often some of the biggest catfish of the season come from water as shallow as 3 feet. During periods of high pressure with little wind, he drift fish humps and ridges in water 20-30 feet deep with big pieces of cut bait (shad or perch). Filleted pieces of carp, Buffalo fish or drum are also productive, when fishing from a stationary position or drifting.

Wind speed is very important when drifting and some it is a good idea to use a drift sock to slow drift speed when the wind is strong enough to move the boat too quickly over submerged structures. Targeting the area around cormorant roost trees is another very effective method of catching a combination of blue and channel catfish during the winter months. Locate roost trees by seeking out dead trees that appear to have been whitewashed (from the birds droppings). The natural chum created by the gregarious cormorants attracts and holds good numbers of catfish. The trick to catching the spooky cats is to sneak up within a long cast and, making long casts, allow the baits to the water with a ‘splat’, mimicking the sound of the birds’ droppings hitting the water. Strikes are often occur within the first 3 feet of water.


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