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Thread: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

  1. #1

    Default Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    Has anyone here targeted or caught flathead catfish? I've caught a couple channels. I was thinking of making this my next goal. Any insight into flies, type of water and time of day would be welcomed. Thanks.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    1,835

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    A bottom feeding, mostly nocturnal fish that hunts mostly by smell? Dude, you don't play small do you? I wish you luck and keep us posted.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pocono Lake , Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,173

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    I've caught several small ones while targeting Smallmouths on the Susquehanna with Clousers. There is a group of guys who target large Flatheads and Channels on flys in the James River in Virginia. You can probably Google them. They get some monsters!
    "I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
    "There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
    " It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
    "Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser

  4. #4

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    I know, I like a challenge. They don't have to be big ones.


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  5. #5

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    It would be a challenge. I've caught one 5-10 lbs. on a fly but incidentally.

    Flatheads eat live baitfish. Serious flathead fisherman use blugills, sunfish, goldfish, etc. for bait. They also look for wooded cover. Trotliners will tend to put lines near a big log. From observing flatheads in aqauriams, they invariably like to lie underneath a big piece of wood or a rock. They like cavernous places to rest.

    if you were going to target one, I'd throw a big, sinking fly/line right up tight to a log. Good luck pulling him out.

    The other option would be to get in a tailwater when they're releasing water and hope you put one in front of his nose. I'd throw a shad pattern in that situation.

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  7. Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    a lot of channels, but not flatheads

  8. #7
    changler Guest

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    Many of the big regulated rivers of the midwest flow relatively clear during winter and before spring rains, and I've caught a few flatheads and blues fishing the eddies of wingdikes using 8wts and fast-sinking lines. Big water-pushing streamers work- think double deceivers and pike/muskie flies- these guys are lie-in-wait predators.

    Pulling a big, evil looking flathead out of a muddy river can be fun, but in my experience they don't fight particularly well- like pulling a tree stump out of 15 feet of water. But don't let that discourage you

  9. #8

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    Yes. I target them. The idea is just as others have said. The trick is getting the fly right in front of their nose. Since you don't have the edge of smell, you will need something that moves a lot of water and if it's murky, something that they can see through it. Mornings, evenings, and dim days are best. That's all I have, though.

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  10. #9

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    I have caught a few small flat heads many years ago when I was first getting into fly fishing. Some of my first flys were large woolly worms ( not buggers) tied on size 2 bait hooks. Orange and black. I would bounce those with some spit shot infront of them and the crappie would eat the hell out of them but so would small 12-14 inch flathead cats. In fact a flat head was my 2nd type of fish ever caught on a fly rod after bluegills

  11. #10

    Default Re: Has anyone targeted flathead catfish?

    I've caught a few Flatheads on the fly. Mine were caught on woolly buggers and clousers. My next goal is a behemoth size flatty and my plan of attack is to use a big shad or bluegill imitation and a lot of weight. I fish below a low-head dam and they'll gladly eat flies, the issue is keeping it in front of their faces. I've caught several 10-15lb ones and one pushing 20lb. The fight is good, but not spectacular like a steelhead, or even a carp. It's like hooking into a Mack truck stuck in 3rd gear. It'll wear you out and make you wonder if you'll ever get it in.

    ---------- Post added at 02:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:57 PM ----------

    Oddly enough, I know many folks swear by night, dusk, and dawn for them, but I've caught most of mine right around noon.

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