Catfish Basics #058 – Shallow Shad – Jake Herman, Kennesaw, GA
I frequent Lake Allatoona, also known as “the dead sea,” I fish there mostly because it is close to home. Then there is the Etowah River that feeds Lake Altoona and leaves to join the Oostanaula River to form the Coosa River in Rome, Georgia. I also fish the Coosa River on into Lake Weiss.
I find some exciting winter fishing in most those places. Anglers should remember that shallow water warms faster in the afternoon sun than deeper water, especially if it is stained or muddy. I watch for the shad and try to stay close to where they are. The shad tend to come up into the shallows in the afternoon with full sunshine warming the water. The big blues won’t be far behind the bait.
Look for water as shallow as two feet deep with shad present on a winter afternoon. Depending on conditions and fishing style I use a Carolina rig or a Santee dragging rig. If there is light or no current freelining cut bait works well.
When a big cat detects the bait, he makes a V-shaped wake thru the shallow water in a straight line towards the bait. They often make a splash when they hit. It can look like a topwater bite. A big blue in shallow water will fight more like a striper on a big run. In that shallow water they can’t dive so they stick to the bottom and run. The best part is when they go airborne like a bass and tail walk the surface. Shallow water blues can make for some really exciting winter fishing.