BLUE CATS - TECHNIQUES AND TACKLE

Lake Livingston has long been recognized as a great cat fishing lake. This is rightfully so as action is again heating up. The Blue Cat is the top draw on Lake Livingston where there is an incredible population of the hard fighting sport fish. The action usually peaks in mid-May as Blue Cats move into shallow water.

There are three techniques for catching Blue Cats on Lake Livingston that I have used over the years to consistently put fish in the boat. (1) Baited holes, (2) The upper river and (3) The lower lake flats. Using either one or all of these methods in May and you should be on your way to catching Blue Cats.

(1) Baited Holes - This technique takes some prep work but is almost a guaranteed ace in the hole for catching Blue Cats. First, you need to prepare your bait. Pick up a 50 lb bag of chicken scratch from the feed store. Pour it in a trash can and add 2.5 gallons of water and 2 quarts of beer or several packages of yeast. The yeast will speed up the fermenting process. Stir the mixture up and let set in the sun for at least 5 -7 days. Now that your bait is ready, the question is where to put it? I usually bait three holes at different depths and locations. This way with the fluctuating water temperature of Spring, you will be sure to bait an area the fish are comfortable with. I use my depth finder to locate depths of 4 -5 feet, 6-15 feet and 16-25 feet deep. Key on areas where there is a creek bend, drop off or a sand flat. After I have selected the locations, then start baiting 2 days prior to fishing. Spread the grain liberally in the areas and it should sink as it hits the water. On the third day, anchor over the baited hole and immediately throw out more bait to further attract the fish. Rig your rods to tight line straight down letting your weight out until it hits the bottom and then reel in the slack until your line becomes tight. This will keep your bait right on bottom and allow you to feel the slightest strike. A small treble hook baited with chicken liver, fresh cut shad, minnows or one of the prepared cheese baits will work. Don't be surprised if the Blue Cats you catch look like they just finished Thanksgiving Dinner as their bellies will be sticking out from eating all the soured grain.

(2) Upper River - This technique depends on some help from mother nature but when conditions are right, you can load up on Blue Cats. First, by referring to the upper river, I mean the river channel north of Lake Livingston, basically from The Jungle northward. Look for cuts in the river where creeks come in. Nose the bow of the boat onto the North side of a cut and cast downstream into the river channel. Use a small Khale (or stinker hook) on a Carolina rig with a 3/4 or 1 oz egg sinker. The heavy sinker is needed to keep the bait on the bottom. The best fishing on the river is when the river is swollen from rains and the current is swift. There can be times when there is too much current or not enough current. Hit it right and a Blue Cat will inhale a piece of cut shad, night crawler or minnow as soon as it hits the bottom. Catalpa Worms are another great bait to use in the river. Swift currents in the river can be dangerous to navigate and also watch out for floating logs and trees.

(3) Lower Lake Flats - With a sustained water temperature over 72 degrees in May, Blue Cats will then migrate onto the shallow flats of lower Lake Livingston. This is where the real bonanza gets heated up and anglers of all capabilities can get in on the hot action. Simply casting a cork rigged shallow and baited with chicken liver or shad off of a bulkhead can produce fish. I often meet my parties at the 190 bridge where before daylight I throw out a cast net and catch fresh shad. Anchor up on a main lake point or sandbar at daylight and cast cut shad Carolina rigged on the bottom. The action is often fast and furious until the sun gets up and the fish pull back to deeper water. On overcast days, the action can stay hot throughout the day.

Blue Cat fishing on Lake Livingston in May can be outstanding fun for the entire family. Keep in mind these techniques and tackle, pay attention to current conditions of the lake and you will be on you way to a 25 fish, 12 inch minimum length limit of Blue Cats on beautiful Lake Livingston.  www.palmettoguideservice.com

Dave Cox of Palmetto Guide Service is a regular contributor to the Lake Livingston edition of the Texas Sportsguide.  This article has previously appeared in that publication.


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