Spearfishing catfish stump strategy

While Jacob Griffin munched on peanut butter-filled cheese crackers between dives, he chattered about the fish he loves to chase.

“I think the fish go in the stumps to feed, to spawn and for protection,” he said. “I also think that the fish bounce in and out of stumps. They seem to move in schools. When I kill one fish, I usually kill four or five fish. Time of day can make a difference as to whether they are in the stumps or not.

“When they are underwater they look twice as big. The insides of stumps are dark. Sometimes you need to stick your head in the stump and let your eyes dilate. The first thing you see is a white eye or white lips.”

Griffin said he likes to have the tip of the spear within a foot of the fish before pulling the trigger, even though he has 3 to 3 ½ feet of line attaching the spear to the gun. What he calls a “pass-through” shot, where the spear point emerges from the other side of the fish is best.

“These fish are so strong,” he said, “that they will pull the spear out if it isn’t a pass-through shot.”

But he added that a surprising number of shots are kill shots, where the spear hits the spine of the fish, putting it down immediately.

His preference is to shoot blue cats right behind the head in the fleshy part of the body rather than the belly.

“Yellow cats are best shot in head,” he continued. “Their skull isn’t as hard, and their skin is more tender than that of a blue cat’s.”

Spearfishing catfish takes stalking skills, he said.

“They are wary,” Griffin said. “When you see a good stump, you need to slow down your approach or they will take off. A lot of people ask why we don’t noodle (or hand grab) them; that’s why.”

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.