Join the night (crawler) patrol for summer catfish

Anglers may be surprised how shallow decent sized catfish will be during the middle of the day in the summer.

Trolling on the bottom for catfish has netted a lot of good fish through the years. Big cats can’t resist a piece of cut bait that’s tumbling just off the bottom. Veteran fisherman Hank Lyles said the opposite is also true, trolling baits that never touch the bottom.

“I hit on the idea of trolling a whole night crawler under a cork a couple years ago,” he said. “You’d be surprised at how many big catfish will lay up in 3 or 4 feet of water during the summer — and I mean during the middle of the day.”

To keep from spooking shallow fish, Lyles pulls a pegged crappie float with a split shot between the float and hook. He can set the float so the bait rolls along about a foot off the bottom and slow-troll sandy stretches of bank where frequent wave-wash from boat traffic continually washes the bank. He uses a No. 1 or No. 2 hook under the rig.

The wave action is enough to call catfish into the extreme shallows, and a trolling run along a mudline can be great.

“I guess the waves and commotion washes a lot of worms and mussels loose,” said Lyles. “The other bonus to this kind of trolling is that you wind up catching a good number of big shellcrackers that are hanging out in the same area.”

About Phillip Gentry 821 Articles
Phillip Gentry of Waterloo, S.C., is an avid outdoorsman and said if it swims, flies, hops or crawls, he's usually not too far behind.

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