Catching Trophy Mississippi River Catfish with Bob Crosby
By Phillip Gentry
B’n’M catfish pro staffer Bob Crosby of Madison, Mississippi has been fishing the Mississippi River along the outskirts of the town of Vicksburg for over 20 years. The success Crosby found over his years of catfishing created the desire to share his knowledge and the adventure of hauling in trophy sized blue catfish with others.
“I just got to the point in my fishing career that all I wanted to do was catch big catfish,” he said. “Fishing for catfish on the Mississippi River is like going to Kansas to kill big deer. You got to be in big deer country to do it - and this is the Kansas of catfishing right here.”
During the summer, the key to finding the best, big catfish locations is finding deeper water where current is moving and delivering baitfish and other food sources to the fish. Most any natural or manmade obstacle that is stout enough to withstand the flow of the big river will create such an area, usually in the shape of a big hole. These obstacles can be natural points that jut out in the river or dikes that were built to channel the flow.
Current breaks along the Mississippi River create deeper holes behind the structure where big catfish like to hang out and wait for food to wash by.
“Behind each one of these places, you will see the circle current,” said Crosby. “That current line comes down and makes a big circle and over time, it scours out a hole. At the end of the point or dike is fairly shallow but then behind the point, it drops off into deeper water that might be 80 - 100 feet deep.”
It’s just such a location that Crosby likes to anchor off and fish the down slope into the deeper water.
To manage big catfish, Crosby says you have to have good tackle and the backbone to his catfishing gear is the B’n’M Silver Cat Magnum rod. The Silver Cat Magnum is constructed of 90% carbon/10% fiberglass that features a wrapped nylon cord grip for sure-handling, as well as super-slick guides, and a cat-fishin’ tough graphite reel seat.
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.
Crosby relies on B’n’M’s Silver Cat Magnum rods to pull monster catfish out of the Mississippi River.
Speaking of monster catfish fish, Crosby said the average size blue cat he’ll catch in the summer is in the 25 – 30-pound range. It starts there and goes up to 90 pounds. Crosby said his style of fishing is not what most anglers are accustomed to.
“I fish with a lot of people who may have caught big catfish on trot lines or big catfish on hand grabbing but not on rod and reels,” he said. “I fish the deep holes, the ledges, just like the bass fishermen do. It’s not what you think of as traditional catfishing. I don’t anchor on a place and wait for the catfish to come by. I take my customers and we go find the fish.
For a sport that most novice anglers perceive as a game of sit-and-wait, Crosby takes the action to the fish.
“We’ll go to a spot. If the catfish are there, they’re going to bite within 30 minutes,” said Crosby. “If we don’t catch a fish, we go to another spot.”
A common theme among many serious catfish anglers who fish the Mississippi River is a preference of cut skipjack herring as bait. Crosby throws his hat in this ring as well.
A favorite among most trophy catters – skipjack herring, which are also found in the River, are known big catfish bait.
“Once I anchor the boat, I put out 5 rods baited with skipjack,” he said. “I put out one or two baits right behind the boat and throw some as far as I can throw so I’m fishing different depths to give the fish a choice of baits at different depths.”
After that, it’s just a matter of letting the catfish in the hole find the bait before the battle is on.
To hook up with Bob Crosby of Blue Cat Guide Service, give him a call at home: 601-856-5796 or cell: 601-953-5767 or visit his website at bluecatguideservice.com
Looking to get outfitted for big catfish? Go to the B’n’M website at bnmpoles.com and check out our complete lineup of catfishing rods and tackle or request one of our catalogs.
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