Channel, blue cats on a good bite

By Darlene McCormick Sanchez

Anglers and guides are reporting successful catfishing on Texas lakes this fall.

At Lake Tawakoni, guide Larry Thomas said channel catfish are expected to remain strong until December. Right now they can be found in 25-30 feet of water. Thomas said baited holes and punch bait are his keys to success. Blue catfish are starting to come on strong as well, he said. He uses fresh shad or carp to catch blues. On Nov. 6 during a fishing trip, clients pulled in a 35- and 42-pound blue catfish.

At Richland Chambers Reservoir near Corsicana, guide Bob Holmes said he approached catfish a couple of different ways. He likes to fish under roosting cormorants, or water turkeys, as they are called. He also uses baited spots. Recent rains have made catfishing better and more difficult at the same time, he said. More rain meant more vegetation and brush near the shoreline. So Holmes fishes it like a seawall on windy days by backing way up. Punch bait and shad are his baits of choice.

Farther south, catfishing is seeing resurgence after heavy rains in September, said Charles Dewey, a certified weigh station operator for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Guadalupe River fishing for cats has been good from Lake Dunlap to Lake Wood, he said, adding that some nice blue cats in the 12- to 40-pound range have been reported. Guides and anglers have reported catching cats off wind-blown points and in coves. Channel cats are in 5-8 feet of water, with the bigger blue cats being caught while drift-fishing in 15-20 feet of water.