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Texas Sportsman
Texas' Triangle Of Catfish
Here's where and how to enjoy some of the best catfish action to be found within this cat-producing region of our state. (August 2009)

It's called the Texas Triangle, a place where you can spend a hot July or August afternoon and literally get lost, at least in your thoughts, until awakened by the tug of a catfish at the end of your line.

While big flatheads are most often caught on trotlines or limblines baited with something live, Groveton angler Leah Kissinger caught this hefty yellow cat on rod and reel.
Photo by Bob Hood.

From Lake Tawakoni, near Dallas, westward to the narrow, ravine-like beginnings of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River northwest of Abilene and then southeast to Town Lake near Austin and back to Tawakoni, the Texas Triangle offers anglers more than 50 prime catfishing lakes to choose from -- and many of them are right at their back doors.

The hot summer months provide many of the best catfishing opportunities simply because large numbers of catfish can be caught so many different ways, from fishing vertically or drifting with rod and reel to setting trotlines, limblines or juglines to fly-fishing with grasshoppers.

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Let's start in my favorite, and more eastern, corner of this Texas Triangle of catfishing hotspots and see just what's out there for Texas anglers: Lake Tawakoni. There is a reason the community of West Tawakoni was designated the "Catfish Capital of Texas" by the state legislature several years ago. It's just that good!

Veteran outdoor writer Luke Clayton of Combine says he believes no other lake can match Tawakoni for producing large numbers of channel and blue catfish, especially during the summer months.

"It is just unbelievable how customers of fishing guides like George Rule and David Hansen -- as well as many groups of everyday anglers -- can go out and catch 100 or more catfish day after day, year after year," Clayton said.

If you want to catch lots of good eating-sized channel and blue catfish at Tawakoni, use the method that the pros use: baiting out areas close to tree stumps with soured maize, wheat, chicken feed or a combination of them ahead of time. The more regularly you can bait the area with the soured grain, the more catfish you will attract, Clayton said.

Good additives to spice up your baited areas are cattle or horse range cubes, half-cigar-sized compressed feed that attracts baitfish and catfish as they dissolve. A dozen or so cubes once an hour while fishing generally will do the job.

Soured grain as bait can be achieved simply by filling a five-gallon bucket three-quarters full of maize, topping it off with water and letting it stand in the sun for two weeks. The range cubes can be used as they come in the sacks. The worse the maize smells to you, the better it smells to the catfish!

"If I want to catch a bunch of channel cats for a fish fry or to go after a big blue catfish, Tawakoni is going to be at the top of my list," Clayton said.

Venturing westward across a 10-county line at the top of the Texas Triangle, anglers will find a host of other great catfishing lakes. Among them are lakes Ray Hubbard, Lewisville, Benbrook, and Joe Pool in the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex. And there are lakes Weatherford, Possum Kingdom, Palo Pinto, Hubbard Creek and -- one of my favorites of all -- the narrow Clear Fork of the Brazos River from northwest of Abilene near the beginning of its 800-mile-plus course to the Texas Gulf Coast.

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