Understanding the difference between structure and cover for Catfishing
Simply put, structure is the contour composition of the lake stream or river bottoms, such as ledges, drops, points, depressions, creek channels, flats and deep holes. Any natural change of the bottom contour is categorized as structure.
Catfish will use these contour changes to navigate throughout the river, lake systems using them as highways to move from one area to the next.
Cover is considered as add on’s to structure or bottom contour! Such as stumps, log jams, bridge pilings or even old sunken boat. Cover can be natural or manmade elements and is either manually placed or has been deposited by Mother Nature.
In addition to knowing the difference between the two elements, understanding that catfish are attracted to certain covers and structures for some particular reasons. Determining which cover or structures are the most attractive to the fish for any given time of year will improve your catch rate.
In the late spring, when the spawn is occurring, a good piece of structure that is located in the deep channel is not going as good due to the fact that catfish have moved to shallower water. The same type of structure near the shore will be a better choice for catfish at this time.
In the warmer summer months, structures which are in deep water can be very good for catfish anglers.
In lakes that produce a thermocline in the summer or fall, look for structures that are above the thermocline of the water, the best structures will provide shade and cooler water that the catfish will seek.
In addition, the baitfish will also be attracted to these types of structure also.
During the fall and winter months, the fish will move to the deepest parts of the area, where the water fairly stable and there is plenty of oxygen. It’s known that deep water structures may be great spots during these times, but there is never a guarantee when it comes to these whiskered adversaries.
Underwater structure plays a big part in fishing for catfish, but it is not the only factor that needs to be considered.
Catfish can be unpredictable however you can make adjustments to increase your odds. Another important part in finding the underwater structures is the food factor. If the structure has no baitfish, the catfish will move somewhere else where the food source is present.
Many anglers will just assume that if an underwater structure is present, there should be catfish down there waiting for their baits, and this is not always true.
Another element to finding a great piece of structure is cover.
Cover is like a bonus when locating structure, if you can locate a piece of cover on some structure, you have again just increased your odds of having a successful day.
Cover on structure will attract baitfish as well as give the catfish an ambush point to feed.
Understanding the migration of the catfish throughout the seasons, as well as the food sources and their locations, will help you find structures that produce good catfish.
Understanding the movements or migrations of the catfish and the baitfish, will help you understand where they will be at any given time, giving you an advantage when it comes to choosing structures to fish.
It’s like a puzzle, all of the factors must be considered together, to help pinpoint structures that have all the elements a catfish is seeking for the time of year and the specific weather and temperatures.