Steve Lemmon from Elk Point, South Dakota with his South Dakota state record Blue Catfish that tipped the scales at 99# 4-oz. fish.
If you are looking for monster catfish. Try pursuing blue cats in the Missouri River
Pat Carter, South Sioux City, Neb., and Larry Myhre, Sioux City, Iowa, have concluded that drift fishing is the most effective method to take blue cats along the channelized section…
“Pat has really perfected drifting on the fast currents of the channelized Missouri River,” Myhre said. “He basically just drops down the bow mounted electric motor and uses it to slow the drift just slightly slower than the current. He drifts the rip-rap side of the river holding just outside the rocks to avoid snagging.
“We use cut bait on three-way rigs,” Myhre said.
Here’s how they rig them. A large barrel swivel with an 18-inch dropper line of 20-pound test is slid up the main line which is 40-pound test Berkley Big Cat. A large plastic bead is then fed up the line before tying on another large barrel sinker to the end of the main line. To that they tie a 30-inch leader which holds the hook.
“Pat uses a 4-ounce sinker most of the time,” Myhre said, “while I prefer a heavier 6-ounce sinker. You need to keep the rig near the boat and near the bottom. Don’t drag the sinker or you will snag up. Instead, try to hold it about 6 inches above the bottom, touching it down occasionally to make sure you are in close contact.
“Pat prefers Kahle hooks, usually 6/0.” Larry said. “I use a Gamakatsu 8/0 Big Cat circle hook. These are extremely sharp with a slightly offset point. When a cat grabs your bait, just wait for some even pressure on the line, then lift the rod tip and begin reeling. The fish is always caught in the side of the mouth in the upper lip.
“We both use 8-foot Shakespeare Ugly Stick Big Cat rods, medium heavy, with a high-capacity Ambassador reel,” he said.
“We usually use goldeye, more commonly called skipjack, for bait. We catch them in the eddy behind wing dams,” Myhre continued. “Cut them up into chunks and put as much as you can on the hook.”
Channel cats are a lot more prevalent in the river than blues, Myhre says.
“We probably catch 10 or more channels to every blue,” he says.
The biggest blue to come into Pat’s boat was a 65 pounder, Myhre continued. “My best is 40 pounds. Most run in the 20-pound-plus range.”
“On various trips we have drifted the river from a couple miles above Sioux City to a couple of miles below Decatur, Neb., which is probably better than 50 miles,” Myhre said.
So, if you want a shot at a really big catfish, try drifting for blues on the Missouri.