The catfish bite this month should be very good. We had a wet, cool, summer and that should lead to a continued good fall bite. By November the threadfin shad will have reached the 3 to 4 inch range which is excellent bait size for cats. The young shad minnows will be there primary forage at this time of the year. Start your search for catfish in the middle portion of the lake from Gargis Hollow downstream to Shoals Creek. Fish will be on ledges and humps in 20 to 50 feet of water in this area. Watch your electronics closely because fish will suspend underneath the shad schools throughout the lake. It’s not uncommon for fish to suspend 15 to 20 feet deep in 50 feet of water if that’s the depth the bait is found. Check out long points that extend into the main lake. If you can locate one with a steep drop on the downstream side, and has pea gravel on top that’s all the better. The North and East sides of Hog Island should be loaded with fryer size fish as well as the flats from Hog Island to Wheeler Dam. For trophy cats work the deep bluff lines and old river channel ledges from Six Mile Creek to Wilson Dam. Concentrate on the 45 to 60 foot range. As always with trophy fish, use large chunks of cut bait or whole shad. I like a 6 to 8 inch Gizzard shad best.
One tactic that works well this month is to cast live shad against bluff walls. Search for a bluff with wind and wave action pushing against the bluff if possible. I use a 7 foot BnM rod, spooled with 17 pound test Vicious line for this tactic. Collect live shad minnows with a throw net which are found in the back of most any creek this time of year. Lip hook the minnow on a 3/0 or 4/0 Mister Twister Weed less Worm hook and cast up against the bluff wall. I use a 1/16 or 1/32 ounce split shot to slowly sink the minnow. Allow the minnow to fall to the bottom then slowly lift it of the bottom and allow to fall back again. This method is deadly on fish feeding along the shore. It’s not uncommon to catch some nice flatheads with the live bait, especially if wood cover is present.
Last month was tough on our area lakes. Cold fronts, wind, and flooding played havoc on anglers most of the month. This month continue to search for catfish in deep holes at the bottom of ledges and channels. On Wilson Lake the fish should be in the mid to lower lake region. Start your search in 50 to 70 feet of water and move accordingly. If the dams continue to generate high flows smaller catfish will be numerous in both tailraces.
For Stripers try casting swimbaits or live gizzard shad in seams below Wheeler Dam. Start about 100 yards below the dam and drift to the mouth of Safety Harbor. Once fish are located, either anchor or shorten your drift to stay with the school.
For smallmouth bass your best bet will be the tailraces and the adjacent waters within 1 mile of the dams. Isolated rock piles and wood should hold a few bass, especially if current flow is strong. For largemouth bass on Wilson deep bluffs with timber and the deeper points should be the ticket. I like to focus on the north side of the lake when the sun is out. On Pickwick, your best bet for largemouth is to head down river. Concentrate on humps, ditches, and creek bends from Waterloo to Pickwick Dam.
In June we began looking for a fishing trip that would be different from the usual bass, crappie, and catfish excursions we normally book. While wacthing YT videos I stumbled upon Brian Barton. The video was titled " live bait fishing " At first it seemed like any other fishing trip but after going to Brian's webpage I found that it appeared a little different. Was it ever. I never dreamed of a fishing trip where we caught fish non stop and some nice ones at that. We caught smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass, white bass, stripers, sauger, channel catfish, blue catfish, drum, and a gar. We caught everything in the river!!! Don't remember how many he told us we caught but it must have been 50 or 60. If you've never have been " live bait " fishing give Brian a call. It's the best fishing trip we have ever had. Brian is honest and busts his hump to make sure you're catching fish and your gear is right. Best damn fishing guide we ever fished with.
Fishing with Brian was the absolute best trip I've ever had. My wife and I fished a half day trip and it was amazing. We caught 33 fish with most of them being nice bass, stripe, and blue catfish. Brian was so much fun to converse with. His knowledge of the areas Indian, river, and music industry is amazing for a fishing guide. It was a history lesson as much as a great fishing trip. If we ever get down to north Alabama again we will fish with Brian. He's the only guide of many I've used that apologizes for only catching 30 fish in four hours fishing. I've had many all day trips where we only caught a few.
My son said, "Dad let's go catch some catfish." So I did some research, called around and booked 2 seperate one day trips with Brian Barton. All I can say is absolutely awesome. We caught lots of fish, and had lots of action both days and one day hooked and landed a monster 62 pound Blue Catfish - truly a fish that we will remember forever. Brian is a great guide, a quality person and now a wonderful friend to me and my son. And we will be fishing with him for many years to come. Give him a call. He will treat you fair, do what he says he will do, his equipment is top notch and can put you on fish better than anyone I know.
Can't say enough about our trophy cat fishing trip with Brian Barton. He is first of all a class act individual not to mention an exceptional fishing guide. We scheduled Brian for a half day trip with big expectations but feeling optimistic being it was our first time. Man were our expectations met and then some. Needless to say it was the best day cat fishing we've ever experienced. We brought home over 300lb of eating size fish not to mention the 15lb, 22lb, 25lb, 48lb, and 50lb monster blues we caught and released. If your looking for a affordable trip of a lifetime, give Brian Barton a call.
Thanks Brian, we will be back!
John Dixon and Kyle James
Because of our son Dillion's deep love for fishing, specifically cat fishing, my husband Randall and I began a web search for a guided tour. We had heard that Alabama was one of the best places to catfish so we came across Brian right away. From the first phone conversation we knew that this was the guy we wanted. Brian was polite, informative, and accommodating. He is a great Christian guy absolutely perfect for family fishing fun, not to mention he knows his stuff. From the moment we stepped on his boat we felt right at home. We enjoyed every second of the gorgeous glistening Alabama waters, warm sun, beautiful blue herons, and other wildlife which was all around us. How was the fishing? Way beyond anything we could have expected! The fish were on! Dillion caught 133 pounds of catfish and one half day trip, including a 35 pound fish, a 24 pound catfish...not bad for an 11-year-old from rural West Virginia. He was running in circles trying to man multiple rods at the same time! It was super exciting! And the next day doing was able to reel in his personal best catfish ever, a beautiful 44 pound blue cat! So if anyone out there is on the fence thinking "Is it worth a trip?"I say absolutely yes! It was definitely worth our eight hour trip from West Virginia. We wanted to make some memories with our son who is growing up way too fast and we were able to do just that! Thanks again Brian Barton for helping us do that and what little boy doesn't dream about catching 40 to 50 pound catfish or greater? We hope to see you again this summer
Randall, Tammy, and Dillion May
I have had an interest in big catfish now for several years, but my personal best remained at about 18 to 20 pounds. Having met Brian Barton at Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA), a writing event for outdoor writers, I decided to line up a trip with him on Wilson Lake in Alabama. I had already heard from others that he was an excellent guide.
Surprisingly, when we met up for the trip, one of the first questions he asked me was, “What is your personal best catfish? We are going to try and beat it.”
With that positive attitude Brian proceeded to explain the morning’s activity. He had gone out the day before and put plenty of fresh skipjack in the ice chest so we went straight to one of his favorite spots. His long experience on the lake gives him the knowledge of where to go under given conditions. There was no wasting time looking for fish.
He has all the best equipment on board his roomy and comfortable Custom built War Eagle 2170 Blackhawk boat, including B’n’M Poles, Daiichi Hooks, Driftmaster Rod Holders and Vicious Fishing Line. Humminbird Side Image Sonar and a Minn Kota trolling motor put us in position to catch fish.