Drift-fishing is a Cross Lake standard

Although he prefers fishing in a downpour, Charles Citrano doesn’t mind blending in with everybody else and doing a little drift-fishing for catfish every now and then.

And he has perfected this most-common catfishing method just as much as he has off-the-wall foul-weather fishing.

“Not that there’s much to perfect,” he quipped. “You’re just dragging some baits about a foot off the bottom. If you go out the boat launch, looking at Buzzard Island would be 12 o’clock. Go over to about 2 o’clock, and you’ll see Hick’s Pocket.

“You can drift fish over there no matter if the wind is out of the east, south, whatever. I don’t know why, but that seems like the hotspot.”

The typical way of drift fishing Cross Lake is rigging up three or four rods with a bank sinker tied to the bottom and a couple hooks tied about a 1 1/2 feet above it.

Citrano likes to use No. 1 white-perch hooks because they seem to penetrate the fish easily while being sturdy enough to stand up to a catfish.

“I tie on another hook about 5 feet up from the first hook,” he said. “That’s not for catfish, though: That one’s in case I drift through a school of white perch that are suspending up higher.”

Citrano tosses this setup about 30 feet out, engages his reel and sits his pole down in the bottom of his boat.

Each rig drags bottom in anywhere from 8 to 10 feet of water, depending on what he’s drifting over, and he keeps a sharp eye on his rods tips to detect what kind of bottom he’s drifting over and when he gets a bite.

“Stick your middle finger out and flick it a little bit,” Citrano said. “That’s what your rods do if you happen to go over a sandbar; they’re going to constantly bump. But if you go over a muddy bottom, it hardly bumps at all.

“When you get a hit, it’s going to bump one time and stay down.”

Sometimes, when the catfish are really aggressive, they knock the heck out of your bait and bend your rod over. And if you’re not quick enough, you’ll lose the entire rig.

Citrano brings along a gallon milk jug painted hot pink or florescent orange rigged up with about 15 feet of line.

“When I go through a spot where I get more hits, I throw it out,” he explained. “Then when I reposition to make another drift, I set it up so that the wind will blow me right back through there.

“You can pretty much keep on them like that and get bit in the same spot pretty much every time you drift through.”

Bait choice is a little bit easier to manage when drift fishing. In this case, Citrano sticks with either a couple dozen minnows or Canadian Crawlers purchased from a tackle shop.

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About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at chrisginn.com.

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