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Crankin' Out Texas Catfish
It was in 1996 that my father and I were fishing along the riprap at the dam right after dark. Fayette's cats seem to bite best at that hour -- we caught four cats up to 10 pounds on waterdogs.
Don't let the small size of this lake fool you; its whiskerfish can be quite big. The rod-and-reel record for flatheads there is 79 1/4 pounds; for blue cats, 65 pounds. World-class catfish by any standard!
Some of the prime spots for taking the cats on the river lie along the rapids and faster-moving waters near New Braunfels, and near Kerrville, where the river looks more like a resort area. But don't be fooled -- it's still got a load of flatheads.
For optimal results, consider fishing at night, during which these flatheads like to feed along shallow, brushy shorelines. Bait up with large live shiners or perch and fish them under a popping cork.
FORT PHANTOM HILL
When the water's low, access to some of the best structure is limited, so chumming to bring the catfish to you assumes great importance.
BIGGER AND BETTER
So is everything bigger and better in the Lone Star State? When it comes to catfish, you can bet your life it is!
A general observation: One of the best things about cats is that fishing for them doesn't cost much money. You can get away with sub-par tackle, and the cheapskate in me likes that. However, I refuse to skimp on two things when seeking catfish: line and hooks.
My all-around favorite is Berkley Big Game line. I use the 50-pound-test on my big rod and 17-pound on the smaller rig.
Being singularly effective for fishing in heavy cover, braided or fusion lines can also aid in catching big catfish. Fireline, a type of fusion line, is one that I've had positive experiences with. Spider Wire is another popular brand that's catching on among catfishermen. Both hold up well to abrasion, and their no-stretch qualities are a bonus when you're making a hookset on a big fish.
When catching pan-sized fish is the object, the brand of hook doesn't matter much to me. I personally like the Kahle-style hooks, because the bite-to-hookup ratio's better. But when I'm after big cats, I spend the extra money and use the 5/0 Daiichi Catfish Wide hooks.
Good advice to the wise catfisherman!
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