On a recent trip to the lake to catch a mess of bream, things were going great. In the middle of putting together a good “mess” of big bream a channel cat showed up and had its way with our cricket.

It was a nice sized catfish, maybe a two pounder. Adding it to the string for some bonus filets seemed like the right thing to do. A couple of bream later, another channel cat crashed the party.

About the same size as the last. After the second catfish there seemed to be a change in the mood of the bream. The catfish seemed to move in to the area and it seemed like crickets were on the top of their menu.

Several nice cats later a big one arrived and literally wrecked the tiny bream hook and ultralight gear. Quietly swimming away leaving behind a straightened hook and hurt feelings, the catfish went about it’s business.

The whole point of this is be prepared for anything.

Although we didn’t have catfish bait or adequate tackle for the larger fish landing a few on ultralight was a treat and we still got some filets for a fish fry.

The catfish just appeared and were in a feeding mood and we happened to be in the right place at the right time. The lake we were fishing was slightly above full pool and the cats were in less than 5 feet of water. Catfish spawn in the spring/summer in 70-84 degree water temperatures but 80-81 degrees is considered the prime. I have no idea what the water temperature was but the cats could have been spawning in the shallow flat.

Wright Patman lake has long been a tremendous catfish lake and catching the fish in shallow water in early June is usually good business. Lake Tawakoni also has an outstanding catfish population and again early June in shallows is recommended. Wright Patman has heavy rip rap on the dam and the catfish will be in and around these rocks feeding heavily.

Tawakoni also has a dam bite just a few feet from the bank. Lake Fork is a sleeper and has perhaps the best catfish in our area but its an underutilized resource. Lake Palestine has long been an East Texas favorite for outstanding catfishing.

For tackle use a medium action rod with a quality reel. Spinning or baitcasting reels as well as a spincast will all work nicely. In the event a 5-pound plus catfish gets on heavier gear may be desired. I use a gold Aberdeen “crappie hook” as it is soft and will straighten out if snagged but is strong enough to handle bigger fish.

Tie the hook 12-18 inches above a small sinker and of course keep it near the bottom.

Get out to one of these lakes this weekend and invite a few catfish over for a fish fry.