By: Glynn Harris
Okay you can put away your shotgun, your bow, your deer rifle and squirrel gun for awhile. We’re about to kick off the month of June and there’s no hunting season open and won’t be for another couple of months at least.
After you get your hunting stuff put away, you can start concentrating on what’s going strong right now and that will keep you doing fun stuff in the outdoors. It’s time to put new line on your reels, check the line guides for nicks, be sure your tackle box is stocked with what you need for summer fishing. Get out there and do something about it.
A couple of years ago, I kicked off my warm weather fishing quite a bit later than I usually do. By this time in years past, I would have been to my favorite pond half a dozen times already but later than usual, I made my first trip to the honey hole.
Instead of toting a bucket of crickets around, I opted to go artificial all the way. My ultra-light rig was tipped with a tiny spinner bait while the heavier rig was armed with a wacky-worm, my favorite go-to rig for pond bass.
The morning started off just right; cloudy skies and no wind, no problem with sculling the boat and keeping it within casting distance of a bream bed I knew was there because it has been in the same location for years. Sure enough, every cast produced either a big bluegill or half a dozen bumps before the lure made it back to the boat.
Trying the bass, I had several that were intrigued by the funny looking wacky- worm, opening and closing like a two-ribbed umbrella.
Okay so you’ve already caught bream ‘til the world looks level and you’re looking for something else outdoorsy to do. What about catfishing? Our lakes are full of channel, blue and flathead catfish and you can be sitting down to a wonderful fish fry before the day is out if you want to give them a try.
First, let’s talk about the heavyweights of the catfish world. Keith Johnson, my son-in-law, is a serious big cat chaser, setting stump hooks and limb lines on Lake D’Arbonne for big flathead, or Opelousas, catfish.
“I look for water a little deeper and areas where stumps are clustered or maybe an isolated larger stump,” Johnson explained. “Some folks think you have to fish on the bottom but I catch most of my fish setting my lines around four feet deep. I catch more on dark nights and especially on stormy nights. One other thing is that your bait has to be lively or a flathead won’t touch it. I catch bream and use these for bait.”
If a big 50 pound catfish is not your cup of tea, what about channel catfish? Our lakes are teeming with big populations of eating-sized channels and they’re fun to catch.
The thing about these tasty little rascals is that they’ll bite just about anything so picking just the right bait is not all that important. If it’s stinky or slimy, so much the better.
Lots of anglers fish off the banks using night crawlers, cold worms or cut bait to catch channel catfish. However, a more exciting way to catch them, especially if you have youngsters along, is to go the “pool noodle” route. Simply stated, purchase several of the inexpensive foam pool noodles, cut them into sections one to two feet in length, tie your baited line on one end and toss ‘em in the water. Keep an eye and when one tips up and begins moving, you’ve got yourself a catfish.
One of the best baits for catching channel catfish is to purchase cheap grocery store wieners, cut them into chunks and let them soak overnight in a mixture of water laced with strawberry powdered drink and garlic powder. The cats just can’t leave these tasty tidbits alone.
Take your pick. Whether it’s bluegills on a neighborhood pond or catfish on the lake, now is the time to give ‘em a try.