Fishing Report - 11/26/2016

Probably the last decent-sized channel cat of the season. Looks like she was fattening up for the winter.
It looks like the catfish in my area have headed for deeper waters. It's been slowing down for the last few weeks while the weather is getting colder and the last couple weekends have been just short of dead. Without a boat or locating some bank area close to deep creek channels, I'm probably done for the season. Well, a period of unseasonable sunny warmth could draw them out to the flats temporarily until the weather turns cold again - and I'll try to take advantage of any of those that I get - but I think it's mostly done until the spring.

I've learned some more things that last few weeks:
  • My initial goal was really modest: I wanted to be able to catch channel catfish reliably in my neighborhood lake. I can definitely do that now. But ironically, after pulling in much bigger fish in other lakes, fishing in my neighborhood lake doesn't hold the same appeal that it when I set that goal. I'm a little worried that if I target and have any success with blue or flathead catfish, I may never go back to channels. But for now anyway, I'm delighted with 2.5-10 lb channel cats, but less so with the sub-1 lb to 2 lb cats that are in my original lake
  • I'm not slaying it by any means, but I think I can catch enough sunfish for live or cut bait going forward. I started getting better at it just at the time when those fish are heading for deeper waters too, but I think I'll be alright come spring.
  • I often call the sunfish I'm catching "bluegill" but in reality, the most common sunfish at my current favorite lake is the redear sunfish. I've probably caught more of those than anything else. It's a pretty fish and almost a shame to turn around and use them as bait.
  • My experiment with frozen bait didn't go well at all. No bites. Unfortunately, I didn't also use punch bait so I didn't have a control group for my experiment and I don't know if it was the frozen bait or if they just weren't biting at all. I may do some more experimenting with it again next year. But a better idea is to get one of those insulated live bait wells with the battery powered aerator (Frabill makes one). That would keep the bait fish alive long enough for me to fish with, perhaps even overnight.
  • On the other hand, I've come to the conclusion I don't really need to catch bait fish unless I start targeting blues and flatheads. The punch bait works great for channel cats and it's a lot less work to obtain.
  • But who am I kidding? I will go after the blues and flatheads sooner or later. It's just a matter of time and resources. 
  • The biggest resource I lack currently is a boat. I see these huge 10,000 acre reservoir lakes and I can only fish a few hundred feet of them because bank access is so limited here in NC. I'm literally confined to less than 1% of the lake! A boat would also allow me to get out to deeper waters so I wouldn't be so limited by season.
  • But I don't really want a full-size boat again. Too much hassle and expense to operate and maintain. I'm thinking a kayak would open up a wealth of fishing opportunity and would be good fun and exercise to boot.  I'd really like to get one (or two) in the spring. We'll see.