TX best catfish lakes pt. 4: Texoma

It goes without saying that Lake Texoma is one of if not the best location to catch a monstrous blue catfish. It produced the “Splash”, the 121.6-pound state record bagged by angler Cody Mullenix in 2004 and continues to yield impressive catches of blues.

For anglers willing to work hard to catch one or two big blues, the deep water around the spillway offers some of the best fishing. There are many legends of super-sized blues (the size of a Volkswagen) prowling this area and while those stories are highly suspect, fish in the 50 to 75-pound range are not uncommon here.

There are two basic ways to fish this area: drifting and anchoring over structure.

Drifting this deep, open water is a little different from drifting small coves, creeks and shallow areas. The challenge lies in being able to drift over the old riverbed and the humps and ridges you will find in the area, which can be difficult to do when the wind is blowing, even slightly. An absolute necessity is a drift sock, which pro angler Ted Takasaki said should be in the repertoire of anyone doing open water fishing.

“Drifting is all about finding fish over vast structure and then being able to keep your bait in the bite window long enough to get a strike. I recommend using one drift sock if the wind is light and two if you have a heavy wind. Even when you have like a five-mile per hour wind or any kind of current, you will be surprised with how fast you actually move. The sock will keep you moving at a slow enough pace that you do not pass up any fish,” he said.

Try drifting with whole live perch or shad, using a fluorocarbon leader with a ½-ounce weigh rigged above. Most of the fish in the open water this time of year are going to be at least 15 feet down, so it’s important you keep your bait down in that area.

Anchoring over structure is a simpler method and allows for chumming, which can bring the fish to you. Look for humps and ridges that are showing many shad around them and anchor on the shallow end of the structure and position the boat so that you can fish vertically over the deep water. Lower down a live perch or a large piece of dead shad down toward the bottom and throw out some soured milo or range cubes to draw fish in. Fish the area for 30 minutes and then move if you do not find success.

The author got to swim with "Splash" a few months after the monster catfish was brought into captivity. Thanks to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for the opportunity.