Early Season Catfish with Spinner Rigs
Large concentrations of early season catfish will flock to dams in late spring and early summer
When catfish are aggressively feeding, they routinely rise up to pursue baitfish. It’s the perfect time and conditions to take that seductive strip of sushi for a summertime spin. Most catfish anglers stick with traditional bottom rigs, but when the big cats are on the prowl, spinner rigs dressed with cut bait can attract them in from afar and put a mess of fish in the net.
James Lindner likes to present these spinner rigs on a simple 3-way rig system. Depending on the depth of the water you’re fishing and the activity level of the fish, you may want to adjust the distance your bait is off the bottom.
As a rule of thumb, it’s good practice to have everyone in the boat presenting their bait differently. In this situation, you might have varying dropper length. Different types of “meat” can make a difference as well.
Just because there are large numbers of early season catfish congregated around dams this time of year, doesn’t mean they aren’t moving. Bait placement and boat control can be critical when you’re fishing areas with swift current and subtle depth changes throughout. Just a few feet in depth change can mean the difference in catching fish and striking out.
Often times, the biggest key to success is finding a current seam that the fish are using as a highway to get from one area to the other. Setting up camp in these areas and waiting for catfish to cycle through can be an effective way to contact high numbers of fish without constantly lifting the anchor to reposition.
If you want to fish some fresh water without lifting the anchor, simply turn your outboard motor left or right to swing the back of the boat one way or the other. This gives you the ability to comb a little bit of water without needing to re-anchor over-and-over again, which isn’t always an easy task when the current is howling.
Try new presentations and simplify you boat control systems and you’ll catch more early season catfish this year.