Sometimes called yellow or mud cats, the Flathead catfish is easily distinguishable from the Channel and Blue catfish. They are native to the Mississippi River but can be found in waters across the country. Their characteristics include a protruding lower jaw, very broad flat heads, and tiny oval shaped eyes. They have thick bodies with colors ranging from yellow to brown, dark colored mottling on their sides, and light, whitish underbellies. Their tails are squared and only slightly indented, not deeply forked like the others.
Catfishing has become so popular that tournaments are now held in many states across the country. Flatheads are favored for sport because they can put up a ferocious fight. However, your quest may take a considerable amount of patience. Adults range in size from fifteen to nineteen inches long and can live for more than twenty-five years. It's not unusual to catch a 20 pounder and they've been known to weigh in at over 100 pounds, jockeying for the top weigh spot with Blues. You'll want to choose heavier gear than you'd use for the smaller, and usually more plentiful, Channels.
Flatheads are considered somewhat different from other catfish species in that they have a preference for live bait, even though they have been known to eat whatever is dangled in front of them. Live bait should increase your chances for a great catch. It is thought that Flats make great mouth-watering meals for the dinner table especially because of their preference for live bait such as small fish, crayfish and insects. They have a huge appetite and have been known to decimate the native fish in areas where they have been introduced. They prefer slow moving water and like to hide under wood cover and undergrowth, and they are partial to deep holes. It's thought that Flatheads bite better at night when they will come closer to the water's surface. However, you may fare well during the day where you will find them closer to the bottom of the water. Look for them in the deeper parts of the water.
Fishing regulations vary state to state, so it is advisable to check the area you plan to fish in and become familiar with their specific rules. Some baits cannot be used legally in various states so check the local fish and game regulations to ensure compliance. There are some states that have restrictions and/or consumption advisories regarding how often the fish should be eaten, based on whatever contaminants may be found in their waters.
Mickey Landry is experienced in catching big catfish. "I have been catching catfish for over 30 years and I want to help catfisherman to catch monster catfish. Learn more about catching big catfish as well as other important information on different species, check out this catfishing website here.
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