|Late summer and early fall is a great time to catch catfish. At this time, they begin feeding for cold weather.|
There's plenty of warm (and probably hot) weather left before fall's cooling breezes, and there's plenty of time to catch big catfish
During August and September anglers usually find some of the best catfishing of the year, including some biggest fish catches.
Hot late summer weather and warm early September days mean slow fishing for most species. Fish seem to slow down just like anglers in the heat but for catfish anglers, these hot days and nights can mean “hot” fishing.
Some of the biggest catfish of the season are taken during this period of time. The state record blue cat (104.5 pounds) was caught in August from the Ohio River near Hawesville. During that week, several anglers caught cats over 50 pounds in the area.
A recent early August King Cat tournament on the Ohio at Vevay produced big catfish, especially for some participating Kentucky teams.
Taking first place was the team of Scott Cress of Covington, KY, and Carl Crone of Villa Hills, KY,with an impressive weight of 190.1 pounds and earning $4,300. Scott and Carl were fishing the Markland Pool targeting fish in 30-50 feet of water using skipjack to catch around 60 fish over the two-day period. Each team was allowed to weigh in five fish each day of the competition.
In second place was Rob Benningfield of Bowling Green and Ricky Eisett of Louisville, weighing in a close 188.3 pounds and earning the team $2,000. Rob and Ricky were fishing just below the Markland Dam in 30-35 feet of water anchoring and drifting using skipjack to catch eight fish in two days.
But these warm days of late summer aren't limited to river fishing, they also are productive in lakes as well whether fishing Kentucky Lake, Green River, Patoka or Monroe Reservoir, as well as Hovey Lake, despite it's shallow water. The Wabash River upstream from the Ohio also has plenty of catfish to fill a freezer for good eating months ahead.
Catfish can be caught anytime of the year and anytime of the day, but probably the most likely time to catch big cats in warm weather is at night. Catfish seem to prefer to feed late evening and early night. Some studies show there also is another significant feeding period in early morning, just before daylight.
Most cats go into deep, cooler, darker water in summer time, especially during the day. But like everything else, there are exceptions. They often will come up to feed in early evening,
Not all catfish are alike. There are a number of different species of cats and they have different habits, including what they prefer on their menu. Blue cats and channel catfish select from a varied menu and will bite on night crawlers, chicken livers, cheese and stink baits, and minnows.
Channel cats at times can be aggressive. I’ve caught a number of channels on bass lures. What I anticipated was a dandy largemouth turned out to have whiskers.
Flathead catfish, who earn their name from the shape of their head, prefer a diet of live fish, and among their favorites are shad, skipjack herring and bluegill.
In late summer, flatheads prefer deeper holes, but they will come up at times in search of food. And of the big cats, most fish eaters agree that the flathead is the best tasting.