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Catfish Tactics 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:58 pm Reply with quote
Larry Larsen
Executive Director
Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 608
Location: Lakeland, FL
You don't always have to focus solely on catfish with a cut/dead bait in the late afternoon or evening on a heavy-duty catfish rod. I've caught taken a lot of catfish (suribim and redtail) in the 10 to 25 pound class by sight-fishing them on the sandbars during the morning and afternoon. I have used the same medium-heavy casting rods that I use on the peacocks and toss the large #18 Pet Spoons. I've also caught them on large Redfin minnow baits, giant Super-Traps and Big M crankbaits fished very slowly along the sandbars both back in and right at the mouth of the lagoons. A friend caught a 45 pound redtail on a plug with me one day. And I have had a few days where I have caught 10 to 15 of the cats. They hit submerged fare like a peacock and fight almost as good as one. They are a fun experience that all peacock anglers should be on the lookout for.

Any others have interesting experiences with them?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:22 pm Reply with quote
Sean Wood
PBA Moderator
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Des Moines, Ia
Larry,
I am hooked on catfishing in the amazon. I find myself wanting to target them half the time I am on a peacock trip. They are a blast to "try" and catch. I took a buddy with me on the last trip that was a very poor fisherman. He hooked a monster cat and had no idea what to do with. It pulled him to his knees before waving good bye. But I know he will remeber that almost as much as if he would have landed it.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:47 pm Reply with quote
Dan Hanon
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Larry,

I often catch catfish while bass fishing, especially when I use Texas rigged plastic worms. These incidental catches are usually channel catfish in the bass lakes I fish, but my friend caught a 40# flathead while bass fishing at Lake of the Ozarks, again, a plastic worm. I have also caught them on crankbaits. Many people don't realize that catfish are not sedentary when they are feeding, they go after stuff. Of course, flathead catfish are not very active during the day, they tend to hide in logs, etc.

Dan
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:24 am Reply with quote
AndrewTaylor
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Minneapolis, MN
One of the best spots for amazon cat is the mouth of creeks or small rivers dumping into the river. If you anchor up from the mouth a few feet and cast your bait near the confluence of the two, you are virtually guaranteed a red tail, perhaps several. As for the giant cat (piraiba), look for a little more depth and current. Although they hang around in deep eddys, they love deeper water and current. If you are in a river with Jau, then all you need is to find the rocks. They love rapids and deep rocky holes. Big ones will also take you "into" a rocky hole after being hooked - good luck getting them out!

Cut bait works well for red tails, but you increase your chances significantly if you use live (or semi live an whole) bait for piraiba. Have your guide catch you a dozen 6" "pratinhas" and you'll be in business. best times seem to be early morning and evening (both before and after dark).

As for the stripped or spotted cats (surubim, pintado, caparari etc), look for sandy beaches in both lagoons and in rivers. These are often in relatively shallow water and will take cut or live bait with gusto. These are considered the best eating of the cats.

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Andrew Taylor
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:05 pm Reply with quote
Dan Hanon
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Andrew,

What types of reels do you use for redtails? I have two "pimped" Ambassadeur 7000's I plan to use, Steve Townson says they should work fine, but he now prefers spinning reels. Do you think my saltwater Penn International 16 is overkill? It's a two speed with lever drag. I don't know if I'll be fishing anywhere piraiba live.

Thanks,

Dan
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:50 am Reply with quote
AndrewTaylor
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Minneapolis, MN
The 7000's should work for the red tail. If you can "hold 'em" on the first run, then you're good. A good guide will get the boat away from cover immediately after the fish is hooked. Once you are out in the open water and the boat is free (no longer tied up or anchored), then you are in the driver's seat.

As for piraibas, you would need a bigger reel if you want to comfortably land a 50lb+ without relying too much on good fortune. Fortunately, unlike the red tail, the piraiba does not head for cover, but prefers to head out to deeper water and that helps a lot. But you would probably get "spooled" with a 7000 on a bigger fish. They really get moving and nothing stops them. Make sure your terminal tackle is up to snuff!! Here is what I take down for a reel and line:
Shimano Tekota 700
200lb power pro
200lb+ sampo coastlock snap swivel (avoid line twist in currents)
A short (12") leader made myself and tested
8/0 up to 10/0 hooks

There aren't a lot of Jau cats up Barcelos way. The 7000 works great for the stripped and spotted cats, but I would spool it with at least 100lb braid.

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Andrew Taylor
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:02 pm Reply with quote
Dan Hanon
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Thanks,

I have my 7000's spooled with 100 lb Power Pro, that's what I use on the Missouri River for flathead/blues. I use those heavy duty Spro swivels with 80# wire leader.

I'll bring down my Penn 16 too, just in case. I'll have to check the line capacity if I were to use 200 lb line. The largest I've used is 130 lb.

I can appreciate the importance of mobilizing the boat to "chase" the fish.
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:02 pm Reply with quote
AndrewTaylor
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Minneapolis, MN
I'm not sure what size a Penn 16 is, but all you need is +/- 200 yds as long as your guide "releases" the boat after the fish is on. I actually use the Power Pro 250lb, not 200lb as I mentioned before, but I think 200lb should be fine. Seems like overkill, but trust me, it isn't. Just like the peacock bass force us to use 50lb + line, the cats force us to use 200lb + line. You always regret it if you don't.

Cats are a lot of fun and plentiful. If the guides know what they are doing, you should hook into several while down there, depending on where you are going. Last time we were down (group of 12), we caught 40 big cats, ranging from 15 to 100lb. And this was a peacock trip...

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Andrew Taylor
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:23 pm Reply with quote
Dan Hanon
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I only fished for about 60 minutes for cats when I went. It was at the end of the day, maybe 6:00 pm or so. We used cut bait, maybe dogfish, I can't remember. Fished along a deep bank on the Rio Negro, no takers. Next time I'm gonna do it properly :)
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:08 am Reply with quote
AndrewTaylor
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Minneapolis, MN
There are some more advanced tactics for cats, like drifting, but you need an expert "catfish" guide for that. Those are hard to come by. You need the right location as well. The Rio Negro is best for drifting, rather than the tributaries.

But there are two things you can do to vitually assure a catfish strike. If you are in the river, look for an incoming creek and fish the mouth. Red tails love those. If you are in a lagoon, find an end that has sandy beach like features and that has water flowing in or out (a channel connection). Both red tails and striped cats love this senario.

One thing we have done is to find a shady beach at the end of a lagoon during the hot hours of the day. We stop to rest and have lunch and get out of the sun. While the guides are preparing grilled fish, you can cast out from the comfort of the shady beach with cut bait. Don't leave your rod unattended!

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Andrew Taylor
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:50 pm Reply with quote
AndrewTaylor
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Minneapolis, MN
As for which cats to look for and where:
Catfish in the region:
Piraiba (also know as Filhote and Piratinga)
Pirarara (Red Tail - from the indiginous Pira' (fish) & Arara (macau) as in "macau-fish"),
Dourada (golden version of Piraiba),
Caparari (large, striped cat),
Surubim (smaller striped cat - sometimes called "pintado"),
Bico de Pato ("Duck-bill" has long horizontal stripe)
Barbado (Very long wiskers and long trailer of dorsal fin)
Palmito (also known as Fidalgo - smaller catfish with NO wiskers)
Piranambu (from indiginous pira' (fish) and inhambu (quail) - looks like a large Barbado with lots of small spots)
Mandi - tiny catfish with nasty stingers (look like aquarium cats)
Jau' - Large cat found in deep holes, currents and rapids around rocks.

Most are found in both the Negro and the tributaries. The Piraiba, which grows the biggest (100lb+) is best in the Negro itself, although you will catch them in the tributaries as well. Red Tails prefer the tributaries, especially those that are not "black water". If you are specifically seeking catfish, then target the Negro and a tributary like the Demeni. Some of the tributaries of the Rio Branco are amazing cat rivers, like the Catrimani. Catfishing is much less dependant on water levels, so it can save a trip when peacock aren't active. But the rule of thumb is: location + good guides + good tackle = lots of catfish

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:31 pm Reply with quote
AndrewTaylor
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Just an added note: The only two cats that readily take artificial lures are the red tail and the striped. And "readily" means occationally. Slow retrieve or troll speed is best, lure near bottom.

Cut or live bait work better in just about all senarios. Sometimes with bait, however, the piranha make it impossible to fish effectively. If the piranha are active, your only choice is to switch to artificials or move.

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Catfish Tactics 
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