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.

Where to find Catfish: Structure Transitions for Catfish

Of the many places catfish anglers look for fish, transitional areas are often over looked and typically do not get a lot of pressure by other anglers. Learning to identify and when to fish these transitional areas can produce good results for trophy catfish during the migration cycles.

Transition areas are spots where the structure composition changes abruptly. Typically, the transitional areas are defined when the hard and soft bottoms meet. Some good examples would be when chunk rock bank transitions into gravel or mud, another example is rocky bank turning into a sand bank.

These transition areas are simply a breaking point which creates an edge effect.

Below is a small transition but will give you a good visual on what a transition looks like.

catfishing hot spot

Catfish like many other living things are drawn to the edge. By that i mean there have been studies that have determined there is a pattern of animal behavior that has been termed as the (Edge effect). It’s the tendency of so many living things that responds to the edges in their environment.

Transitional areas are just another type of structure that is desirable for catfish and other fish including baitfish to congregate while traveling the migration or feeding routes.

Structure for catfishing can be best described as any change that breaks the general contour of the bottom such as ledges or drops, points or deep holes and should be considered as part of a possible travel route or stop over area, on their way to some other feeding or resting area. This includes transitional areas.

Transitional areas are the most the visible, but probably most over looked type of structures available to anglers. Although transitional areas are not considered a go to spot for numbers of catfish they are considered a hot spot for large cats during the migration cycles.

Catfish will move in seasonal patterns throughout the year. From winter to spring they have reproduction on their minds as they begin to migrate to the spawning areas and will use transitional areas as staging points on their journey up river and again after the spawn on their way to where they will spend the summer. During the hot summer months, catfish will seek cooler waters in the deeper holes and does not have to feed as actively.

Fall brings cooler water temperatures and starts the migration to the shallower feeding areas as they prepare to go deep again for the winter months.
Catfish will often lurk in transition zones as they prepare for the next part of their seasonal journey. Most other anglers will avoid these types of areas because the action can be slow but taking advantage of these types of spots during the transitional periods can often pay off big.

Methods to fish the transitional areas include anchoring, and controlled suspend drifting.

Suspending a Carolina rig over the transitional area will keep the bait in the strike zone. Use three to six ounce sinkers to help control the bait and it allows you to adapt to any sudden changes in depth and adjustments can be made quickly.

Anchoring above a transitional area and casting onto the area with a traditional 3-way or Carolina rigs is another presentation that works well. In this presentation the sinker size should be determined by the amount of current that is present.

Fishing transition areas could seem like a waste of time to some anglers. Simply because they are not a good area for numbers of catfish, however If you are looking for quality and not quantity, the transitional areas are a great place to cut a trophy catfish off at the pass during the seasonal migration periods.