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Hunting Flathead Catfish

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Published on: May. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

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An experienced boat driver can make this job easier by moving the boat away from the bank as the hooks are put on. This takes some practice, so don't get discouraged if you tangle the line. Once all the hooks are on, move the boat until the line is perpendicular to the bank or dike (completely stretched out) and gently release the window weight. Strong currents will often move the line; it can be adjusted by releasing the line at different angles. Remember, state regulations limit you to a total of 33 hooks.

Locations for throwlines

On a big river, rock dikes are good locations. Tie the throwline to a large rock at or near a low spot where water is running through and stretch the line perpendicular to the dike, or try angling the line so it runs along the main (strongest) current. Rock banks are also good locations, but look for large rocks to tie to that are in the water and deflecting the current.

Locations where tributary streams enter are also good. When setting throwlines in these locations, tie the line to a rock or tree on the main channel and allow the current to take the line across the mouth of the tributary stream. Log jams can also be productive, but you may get tangled in debris under the water.

The main advantage to the throwline is that you can quickly set your limit of hooks, and if a fish steals a bait there are still six others. The disadvantage is out of the seven hooks perhaps only three are in a prime location.

Flathead sets

Flathead sets are modified limb lines or drop lines and are the most effective way to catch flathead catfish. When constructed and set properly, more than 90 percent of the catch will be flathead catfish. To save time on the river, place some duct tape on each inner tube and write your name and address with the magic marker.

Flathead sets are placed near log jams, brush piles and downed trees in water depths of 2 to 25 feet. Pull the boat up to a brush pile and use the oar to check for underwater obstructions that may prevent you from setting a line. Tie an inner tube to a secure limb or log using 240-pound test twisted twine. Place a 7/0 or 8/0 hook on the 360-pound test braided twine and slide it

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