One of the keys to catching big catfish from the Mississippi River is knowing where to find them. During the heat of summer, big catfish will lay up in deep river holes and one of the easiest, most consistent places to find good catfish holes is around a wing dike.
Wing dikes are plentiful and found up and down many large rivers. A wing dike, sometimes called a wing dam is a manmade barrier that, unlike a conventional dam, only extends partway into a river. These structures force water into a fast-moving center channel which reduces the rate of sediment accumulation, while slowing water flow near the riverbanks.
B’n’M pro-staffer and Mississippi River Catfish guide Bob Crosby focuses much of his fishing efforts on deep water holes and wash-out created by wing dikes in the Mississippi River near him hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. These wash-outs typically have plenty of deep water, anywhere from 60 to over 100 feet depending on the river stage, and some structure inside the hole that will provide a current break for catfish to hold behind.
“Most of the dikes come out of the water at Vicksburg at about 14 feet but they’re all out at 12 feet,” said Crosby. “If water conditions remain steady at this level, meaning not a lot of rapid ups or downs, it’s no trouble to fish the scour holes at the end of the dikes. That’s where I catch the majority of my big fish.
When setting up on trophy catfish in the Mississippi River, boat positioning is critical so the boat will settle close enough to reach the right areas with your baits. Positioning the boat correctly means accounting for the direction of the current then backing off the distance of the cast plus the amount of anchor scope.
“The average dike is probably a couple hundred yards long,” he said. “You can anchor up on the edge of the dike, where the main current is blowing through the cut out. Catfish will hold right on the edge of the main current and the slower current. Use your graph, find the fish and anchor up on them.”
Once he is settled, Crosby will an cast rods in locations catfish are likely to hold, he may place a couple baits on the downslope of a hole and a couple straight off into the depths.
“I prefer to target trophy catfish, so most of my tackle is outfitted with two hook rigs,” he said. “That’s a hook in the head and a trailer hook in the tail on a fresh 8 – 10 inch skipjack. I use 8/0 Gamakatsu circle hooks with a slider for my sinker like a slip slider. Typically, I use 6 to 8 oz weights to keep the bait on the bottom in a moderate current.”
To haul catfish that may weight up to 100 pounds out of heavy structure requires some muscle in your fishing rod. This was the goal that B’n’M had in mind when they designed the new Silver Cat Magnum catfish rods.
Like the original Silver Cat, these new 90% carbon/10% fiberglass rods feature a wrapped nylon cord grip for sure-handling, super-slick guides, and a tough graphite reel seat. The new Magnum series is a tournament-level, heavy-duty rod, offered at a casual fisherman’s price.
These rods start with sensitivity to the smallest nibble, and finish with the backbone you need to haul in the monsters. The new models feature an 8-foot 2-piece casting rod, a 7.5-foot 1-piece casting rod; and a 7-foot 2-piece spinning rod. Whichever style you prefer, you’ll find B’n’M’s quality, workmanship and bullet-proof warranty is with you all the way.
“These are my rods of choice,” said Crosby. “Between heavy current, heavy cover, and a heavy fish, a lot can go wrong. You want a rod that you can depend on.”
You can contact Bob Crosby of Blue Cat Guide Service through his website at www.bluecatguideservice.com.
Check out B’n’M’s full line of catfish rods and tackle by visiting our website at bnmpoles.com