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snatcher20

Flathead Size vs. Location

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So what are some thoughts on flathead size verses where they are caught? My crew pulled a couple nice fish early in the season on Pool 2, but now can't break the 15lb mark. This leads to the first point. Each trip out we usually catch at least one flathead, so the spots we are hitting have something the fish like/use. So as far as locations, whether they be holes, wing dams or timber, we are dialed in to active fish. However we aren't pulling multiple 3-4+ fish nights.

This leads to the question do bigger and smaller fish coexist in the same spots? I've read that bigger fish will get the prime feeding spots. With that said, if we are only catching smaller fish, are we in reality fishing secondary spots in relation to large flatheads? Do multiple flatheads utilize one area? Pool 2 is a different animal as some holes can be 50-100 yards or longer while others very compact. I'm sure this variance can lead to more or less fish in a given spot.

This also ties back to the topic of luck. We have also caught 30lb+ fish from some of the same spots we are currently only catching smaller fish. I'm guessing there is some "right time, right place" involved as well. So to me, this leads to the question, how much time to spend on any given spot?

We really run and gun on Pool 2. Usually won't spend more than 30-45 minutes, 1 hour at most in any one spot. I'm also starting to question if we are moving too much. I like looking for active fish and if we don't get a run in that 30-60 minute window, I really start to question the location, or presence of active fish. I'm sure there are two types of cat guys, always on the move and those that will sit on a known spot or two for an entire night. Which side do you relate to and why?

I know I listed a lot of talking points. Just looking for a discussion as we had into the doldrums/spawn of the cat season. Heading out tonight, can't wait!

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Those are some very good questions and I will give you my opinion. This is just what I think.

If you are catching Flats of any size, you are in the right spot. Plain and simple. I know some guys will say that they don’t coexist, but I know for a fact that they do, especially prespawn when everything is in “eat” mode.

I’ve caught 5lb and 50lb fish within minutes of each other.

While I think a person can move too much, I’ve had some horrible nights saved by making a short move to a different spot. One of the hardest things about this type of fishing is second guessing your spot and if spot B or C is producing better, and what if I leave spot A? Is there a fish there waiting to eat?

About the smaller fish you seem to be catching. There seems to be a pattern this time of year in which the little ones get really aggressive. They were crazy active last night. I sometimes wonder if those are the non-spawners and or small males taking advantage of the big girls doing their maternal thing. Just a theory.

I am a firm believer that if you have caught some smaller fish in an area, then sooner or later mama or papa will be there too.

I have confidence spots that I’m willing to sit at for 5 hours without a run and others that I do 30 minute drive by just to give it a try. A lot of times those drive by spots evolve into a confidence spot.

Good luck tonight.

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I am limited to shore 99% of the time I often fish the same spots I have had luck at previously. I have had several people ask me how I'm doing and when I say I caught a couple 30 inchers they tell me it must be a small fish spot and I should try elsewhere for the big mamas. Little do they know, my GF picked up two 40+ lb fish in a little over an hour just a week before.

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I echo what Dtro said. If you caught a flathead from a spot - remember that spot because you will catch fish there again. I log all my spots in my journal with the date, time, river conditions, weather conditions, etc. That way next year or at some future time when I am struggling to catch fish I will try to match that day's river and weather conditions to where I have had success in the past. I also consider a small flathead a success. I have one spot where I caught my PB a 55 lb fish and at least 5 over 40 lbs but it also gives up a lot of small 20" to 30" fish. I will sit for hours on that spot with confidence that eventually a big one will be coming along.

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Steve, I know it seems as such here on the MN (no facts to prove it), but maybe your journal is a better indicator. Have you found a window that corresponds to the spawn in which all you are catching is small fish? And if so, is there enough data to give a good idea how big that window might be (timewise).

I really wish I had the discipline to keep such good records as you. Every year I have good indications to do so, but fail miserably.

My fear is that with all that data at my disposal, I would overanalyze it instead of just fishing.

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Have you found a window that corresponds to the spawn in which all you are catching is small fish? And if so, is there enough data to give a good idea how big that window might be (timewise).

My fear is that with all that data at my disposal, I would overanalyze it instead of just fishing.

It is very easy to overanalyze the data. This summer I have dropped back to just keeping my log active with the river conditions annotated in the Remarks section. I haven't been able to use the historical data to determine spawning conditions - there are just too many variables linked to the spawn.

I find the journal and log information most useful in the early spring when we have high water and the river is hard to read. I will fall back on spots that have produced in the past and the river and weather data is more valuable then to matching spots and conditions that worked in the past. I will use my low water photos a lot in the spring too - that is where a few minutes prepping from past trips pays some dividends.

Chasing cats is a lot like hunting and I think that is why I enjoy it so much. Learning your quarry and the locations that you are going to hunt. I will look at a river section like a turkey hunter or a deer hunter will look at a section of land. Think about what it looks like under the water - where do they bed down?, where and how do they move to feed?, when will they feed and where would I set up to intercept them?. How will today's weather and river conditions affect their movement and when and where is the best place to find them based on today's conditions?. That is how I approach cats and all my previous trips and the information that they have given me are valuable to my hunting.

I am planning a Cat Tip of the Day on Journals and Logs and I've been trying to figure out how to present my information. I have built the log and journal system using MicroSoft Excel and Word so it is computerized and relatively easy to enter, store and recall the data. It does take discipline which can be hard after a long nights fishing.

.

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I have thought about keeping track of stuff but never got around to it until I signed up for the catfish angler survey. It's a good springboard for something like SteveD is talking about.

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Well we had a decent night on Pool 2 and a funny story that relates exactly to my post. Night started out rough when Moore's was out of bullies. Confidence was not high with suckers and the first two spots didn't produce any action. We were also in the middle of a mayfly hatch. Then enroute to our third spot, I made a game time decision and hit an old favorite that hadn't produced in a couple years.

Within half an hour Big O Cat had our first run and landed a 3-5lb flat. Then as we released the fish my clicker started screaming and fish on. A nice 40x24. So as Dtro said yesterday he's caught a 5lb and 50lb back-to-back, we managed a 3lb and 30lb back-to-back. Also had a decent feeling fish come unglued shortly after hookup within a half hour of the 30lb.

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Nice fish and follow up to your post.

Last night we sat at the same spot we caught 6 the previous night and didn't boat one flat.

Go figure...

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Nice fish and follow up to your post.

Last night we sat at the same spot we caught 6 the previous night and didn't boat one flat.

Go figure...

That is funny. Last night I sat in the same spot as the night before the same as you and had no luck at all. There was very little bait activity also. The water was dead calm and except for quite a few sturgeon jumping I didn't see any activity at all.

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I had the same luck friday night dtro thursday night mopped up on them and friday in thaose spots could buy a bite.

snatcher20 I like to see those mayflys cause that means the bait fish are really gonna start feeding well and that means kittys are gonna be feeding on the bait fish which are way easier to find and pattern.

what I dont like about the mayflys is the splat in the face and eyes when cruzin down the riv, dont open your mouth a high speeds either. grin

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Back on topic. I rarely fish the same spot two nights in a row this time of year. Kind of like a deer stand I think you can burn out a spot if you hit it every day. I look for spots similar to places I caught fish the night before.

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It's funny we hit multiple spots and only one had activity with one flat and a total or 4 runs last night. All the spots looked very good but just didn't produce. We kicked ourselves in the fanny for leaving the one spot looking for something better as we worked our way back to the landing. Oh well. The fish will be where they think they should be. wink

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Back on topic. I rarely fish the same spot two nights in a row this time of year. Kind of like a deer stand I think you can burn out a spot if you hit it every day. I look for spots similar to places I caught fish the night before.

Wish I could hop around more but not having a boat limits where I go by 95% at least.

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