Patterning Big Catfish in the Current seams

Current seams are created naturally by the obstruction of the water flow. Major structural elements in a river that create current breaks include points, wing dams, eddies, backwaters and deep holes. The diagram shows a cross section view of how current is diverted by a point extending into the main channel.

fishing for catfish

Bait placement on a current seam

Obstructions such as points and humps have developed on the river bank or river bed that will cause the water flow to slower, creating a seam between the fast flowing current and the slower diverted water.

In most cases deeper holes are created on the back side of these obstructions creating Eddy’s [dead mostly slower water] the water is funneled from the tail of the Eddie towards its head creating a whirlpool effect. Current seams and particularly eddies can concentrate drifting food. Small forage fish will use the current seam to pick through the drift, in turn these current seams will also attract the trophy catfish as they feed on the forage fish.

Current speed will effect the way the seam develops on each break or structure, so the trick is to learn and understand when each spot (or spot within the spot) will be productive and when the fish will use them and only concentrate on these areas and fish these them during the correct water flow.

If the flow is to slow, the seams will just disappear and look nonexistent and therefore not very productive in low water times.

In a nutshell, understanding where the catfish hold at during the different water levels and current speeds on this particular seam will help you catch them. When the flow changes the catfish will change so you should too.

However setting up or anchoring on these current seams can sometimes be tricky, boat placement is crucial.

If you anchor too far out in the fast side of the seam, this will cause your bait presentation to drift further out into the main current away from the seam, and if you anchor too far in on the slower side of seam, (the Eddie) will cause your boat to spin in the whirlpool effect the eddy produces. There is a fine line between these two transitions, once you find your positioning you will drastically increase your chances of hooking into a trophy catfish.

fish current seams for catfish

Catching big catfish on current seams


Current seams and eddy’s are not limited to guys who only fish from a boat, bank anglers can also fish these types of spots as there are many different size current seams created naturally from river bank erosion. Small points and cut away banks all create a current seam even in small rivers and streams. Setting up on a point with moderate current flow and casting your rig out, allowing the current to sweep it into the seam is the same as anchoring a boat on it.


ATTENTION ANGLERS: Here is a video of some safety tips and possible dangers of fishing current seams.

Seasonal Patterns for catfish

Where to find catfish in all seasons

Catfish are like any other fish in the fact that they have very specific movement or migration patterns. These patterns are heavily influenced by the change of seasons.

The key to successful catfish fishing all year long is being able to identify their habits during the particular season you are fishing in.

Like all living things, catfish have biological clocks programmed into them and length of daylight hours will trigger certain movements also.

Spring weather changes bring on the first movement of the season. Catfish will begin to stir from there wintering patterns as the days get longer and the water begins to warm with two things on their minds; food and the spawn.

Catfish will leave the wintering holes and begin to move towards the spawning grounds. In rivers they will move up river or into the tributaries, feeding heavily in preparation of the spawn.

If the option to move up stream isn’t available, catfish will seek out shallow or wood laden or rocky banks instead.

During the pre-spawn, catfish will often hold up in deep holes close to the spawning beds. Once the spawn is on, the males will move into the beds and stake their claim to certain spawning beds prepping them for the female to lay her eggs.

Once the female is finished here business she will leave the nest and the males will protect the nest until the eggs have hatched.

After the business of reproduction is over, catfish will slowly make their way back to deeper waters.

Typically the catfish will be a little sluggish and not as active immediately after the spawn, they will need a few days to recuperate from the rigors of the spawn before they will again begin to feed heavily.

Once they have recuperated from the spawn, catfish will begin to feed more aggressively. In early summer, the catfish are fairly aggressive about food. They will begin to occupy deep water flats, humps and other underwater structures.

Any place that attracts the forage fish will typically have catfish nearby. In the day time look to the deeper water lairs and as the sun sets look a bit shallower as they will follow the baitfish to the shallows.

Summer temperatures and sunshine will slow the catfish bite down in the shallows, but probing the deep water lairs with some suspended baits will still get successful results.

The catfish will still eat, but the offerings needs to be easy for them to get as they have fed up after the spawn, however catfish are opportunistic feeders and will not pass up an easy meal.

Slow presentations are the best bet this time of year.

Fall is another season of change that triggers their biological clock. The bait fish will make a move to deeper water at this time to over winter and as the days get shorter and the water begins to cool off, the catfish start to feed actively anticipating the long winter ahead.

There are few reasons for this, one of which is the females will need to stock up on food for energy in order to produce their eggs over the winter for next year’s spawn.

As winter temperatures kick in, the catfish movements and activity slows down. The catfish typically find deep areas to reside in throughout the winter months, making them easier to target because they will be somewhat concentrated in the deep water holes where they can find some sort of thermal relief from the cold.

They prefer to suspend below schools of shad or other forage fish if possible. Just because its winter doesn’t mean the catfish won’t eat.

Catfish will eat in the winter; they just don’t invest as much energy into hunting for a meal. Some of the best trophy catfishing occurs during the winter months, because they are the most predictable to pattern at this time of year.

Seasonal changes play a big role in the way you should approach catfish at any given time.

Their seasonal movement patterns are affected strongly from Mother Nature’s moods.

Understanding how and why the catfish moves at certain times of the year will increase your chances of being successful.