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Drifting for Cats on the Missouri River By Gary Howey

  The Blue catfish, one of the largest catfish in North America, and aren’t caught on rod and reel often, but one Midwesterner, from South Dakota has it figured out.

  Pat Carter of Elk Point, South Dakota, director of the Cat Attack tournaments has been catching these elusive Blue catfish on the Missouri River on a regular basis.

  During his Sioux City tournaments, contestants from Kansas and other states had used the drifting or slipping method t tale some big Blues and he had perfected the presentation to be able to cat Blues on most of his trips on the river.

  Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Member Larry Myhre and I had an opportunity to spend some time on the river with him a few weeks ago and the method he uses isn’t what we would call a traditional method for catching catfish.

  Fishing in the current associated with the Missouri River is different from fishing in the smaller rivers catfish are known to haunt. Some anglers anchor above the deeper holes using sliding sinkers with hooks baited with live or cutbait, waiting for the catfish to come to them.

  Not Carter as he drifts for them, keeping his boat at the right angle, allowing his partners and him slowly drift or slip along with the current, keeping their baits running right along the bottom. [Read more…]

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Drifting for Cats on the Missouri River By Gary Howey

  The Blue catfish, one of the largest catfish in North America aren’t often caught on rod and reel, but one Midwesterner, from South Dakota has it figured out.

  Pat Carter of Elk Point, South Dakota, director of the Cat Attack tournaments has been catching these elusive Blue catfish on the Missouri River on a regular basis.

  During his Sioux City tournaments, contestants from Kansas and other states had used the drifting or slipping method to take some big Blues and he had perfected the presentation to be able to catch these big catfish on most of his trips on the river.

  Team Outdoorsmen Adventures Member Larry Myhre and I had an opportunity to spend some time on the river with him a few weeks ago and the method he uses isn’t what we would call a traditional method for catching catfish.

  Fishing in the current associated with the Missouri River is different from fishing in the smaller rivers catfish are known to haunt. Some anglers anchor above the deeper holes using sliding sinkers with hooks baited with live or cutbait, waiting for the catfish to come to them.

  Not Carter as he drifts for them, keeping his boat at the right angle, allowing his partners and him slowly drift or slip along with the current, keeping their baits running right along the bottom.

  His rigs consist of 60# braided line with a three-way swivel, a 20# dropper line with a 2 ounce sinker, a 4′ leader with an 8/O Kahle hook baited with Creek Chubs or Shad cutbait.

  As the boat drifts with the current, he slowly bounces the sinker on the dropper line on the bottom, win anticipation of the bite.

  Before meeting Larry and I at the boat dock near Sloan, Pat had gotten fresh shad and some Creek Chubs, allowing us to get our baits into the water shortly after launching the boat.

  Larry and I were both using circle hooks while Pat would use his Kahle hooks, as we they allowed us to pack a lot of cut bait and had good success hooking catfish on previous trips.

  Pat removed the bait, smelly Shad and Creek Chubs from his cooler, dicing them up into strips that we worked onto our hooks, packing the pieces on so tightly that the point of the hook verily protruded from the bait.

  The trip didn’t start out quickly as we drifted quite a ways south before Pat had his first bite, it wasn’t the bone jarring bite I’d expect from a big catfish, more like a pecking bite a smaller fish might do as it tried to pull pieces from the large hook.

  Whatever was doing it escaped without harm as when pat reared back to set the hook, the fish was gone.

  A half-hour after the first bite, Pat again had something pecking at his bait, he patiently waited for the fish to grab onto the bait and then set the hook hard.

  Immediately the fish took off, peeling his 60-pound line from the reel, charging hard towards the bottom and away from the boat.

 Pat, in no hurry, let the fish run, fighting it with his heavy rod, first on one side of the boat and then to the other. As his three way swivel came to the surface, I thought the fight was about over, the fish did not as it tore off more line, once again testing the drag on Pat’s reel. [Read more…]

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We drift for elusive blue catfish on Missouri By Larry Myhre

SLOAN, Iowa | I stood on the boat ramp just below of the mouth of Winnebago Bend and watched the Missouri quietly pulse its way along. Low, scudding clouds slipped overhead and spit out the occasional drops of rain I could feel on my bare arms.

I was waiting for Pat Carter, Elk Point, S.D., to show up with his boat. He would have collected our bait, gizzard shad, with his cast net at Browns Lake. The young-of-the-year shad would be crammed into a ziplock bag and thrown on ice in the cooler. When cut into small pieces and speared on our hooks, they would become the bait that might lure channel or blue catfish to take a bite.

When Pat arrived, we dumped his boat into the river. He fired up the 150-horse outboard and pointed the bow upstream. We ran a couple of miles, and then began drifting back.

Our goal was to catch a big blue catfish, but if a channel catfish wanted to bite, we’d not object.

It seems that blue catfish are making their way up the Missouri in greater numbers the past few years. We’re not exactly sure why but more of them are being caught than previously.

Of course, it may be that we were not fishing correctly for them in the past.

It seems, from what we have been able to gather the past few years, virtually all blue catfish have been caught by anglers drifting their baits downstream rather than anchoring. [Read more…]

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Drifting the Missouri River for catfish makes for a good day By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.
It was going to be a warm day, but that breeze ruffling the leaves of cottonwoods along the bank of the Missouri River would make it seem a lot cooler.
Pat Carter, of Elk Point, S.D., pushed his boat out into the current of the whispering Missouri and jumped aboard. With the bow pointed upstream he put the hammer down and we were soon on our way.
We had launched at the Sloan, Iowa, boat ramp and our plan was to motor upstream a few miles and begin drift fishing our way back.
Earlier that morning we had stopped at Browns Lake to pick up our bait. After a few throws of the cast net around the dock it was apparent that we would have to launch the boat and pursue the huge schools of newly hatched shad we could see riffling the surface of the quiet water.
It took just one cast. [Read more…]

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Drifting the Missouri River for catfish makes for a good day By Larry Myhre

This column reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

It was going to be a warm day, but that breeze ruffling the leaves of cottonwoods along the bank of the Missouri River would make it seem a lot cooler.

Pat Carter, of Elk Point, S.D., pushed his boat out into the current of the whispering Missouri and jumped aboard. With the bow pointed upstream he put the hammer down and we were soon on our way.

We had launched at the Sloan, Iowa, boat ramp and our plan was to motor upstream a few miles and begin drift fishing our way back.

Earlier that morning we had stopped at Browns Lake to pick up our bait. After a few throws of the cast net around the dock it was apparent that we would have to launch the boat and pursue the huge schools of newly hatched shad we could see riffling the surface of the quiet water.

It took just one cast.

When Pat lifted the net into the boat it was gleaming with young-of-the-year shad, each about 2 inches long. He dumped hundreds of them onto the floor of the boat and we began filling plastic zip bags with them. We would have plenty of bait for the day.

Our hope was to land one of the big blue catfish that we know inhabit this river. There apparently are not very many of them, but they do exist.

Of the 30 teams that weighed fish at the recent Cat Attack catfish tournament, of which Pat is the director, only two blues were brought in and those by the same team. The biggest of the two weighed 30.05 pounds and took second place big fish behind a 35.50 flathead. [Read more…]