Are you Looking For a Good Reel: Abu Garcia 6500C

Hey Guys,

I hope everyone had a great christmas. I know I did. My family was very excited about spending time with each other and the gifts of course. Veronica, my fiance, was nice enough to buy me a catfishing rod as my christmas present. I was excited to say the least.

Now I don’t keep a lot of fishing rods and reels and I sure don’t have any extras sitting around the house. SO I was kind of in a tight spot with this new reel. But I am a big fan of fishing on a budget. So I went thumbing through my old “broken” reels and wouldn’t you know it, I had an Abu Garcia 6500C sitting in the shop.

If you don’t know much about the Abu Garcia 6500C, I will fill in a blanks for you. Abu Garcia’s have remained nearly unchanged for 30 years, maybe longer. They are designed for simplicity and to last. Many of the reels that we have are over 20 years old. The 6500C and most other Abu Garcia’s are designed so that you can work on them and clean them with ease. This reel is truly a great catfishing reel. Once I found it, my excitement level was through the roof. But first….

Here is some more information about the reel.

  • 5.3 to 1 Gear Ratio ( Good Power and Speed)
  • 5 point Drag System ( You don’t need any Better)
  • Line Clicker ( For when a Catfish takes Your Bait)
  • 14lb/245yds Line Capacity ( Can hold Big Lines)
  • Smooth Casting and Priced well

Personally I see this reel as a long term investment. You will literally not break this reel. Now I know what you are thinking, Justin you pulled this reel out of the broken pile. True but the only part that worn out was the Level Wind Pause. This little piece runs along the worm gear and causes the line to run back and forth across the spool. This piece is also less than $10. That’s a easy fix.

If you have the money, I suggest that you get a new model and not worry about the cleaning and the repairs. But if you are on a budget, there are plenty of people that are selling these reels. Checking Ebay, craig’s list, local bargain finders, and amazon can yield great results. I have seen deal that were 5 reels for $100. If you are just getting started or completely involved, that’s a great deal. You might have to buy the level wind pause and clean the parts up, but that’s still $30 a reel. These reels normally cost from $80-120 depending on the dealer.

If you are getting into catfishing, the 6500C is a great option for catfishing. It will do anything you want it to. You can fight in big catfish. You will have fun catfishing tons of catfish. It casts well and reels smoothly. Its easy to work on and simple to clean. And the price is cheap. This is what I call fishing on a budget.  Below is a link to Amazon’s Abu Garcia 6500C is you want to get a look at them.

Abu Garcia 6500C


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20 Catfish Fishing Tips


Warming Weather for Catfish in Winter

During the Winter, Warming Trends have a great affect on catfish. We go from frigid cold days to nice almost spring like weather down here in the south. While up north, its probably still cold and frozen over. But that doesn’t mean that the temperature change won’t go unnoticed by those big catfish. When a warming trend passes over your area, its time to hit the water. Here’s why.

The Water is Warming

When the sun gets out and the wind is calm, the surface water temperature starts to warm. This causes the lower levels of water to also warm. The first day or so of this warming trend won’t cause much to happen. But by day three, we start to see the water come to life. Starting at the surface, minnows and baitfish have begun to swim freely. Below them, bass and crappie have started to feed again. And below those fish, catfish are taking advantage of the activity.

It seems that all the life in the river are taking advantage of this good weather. What does this mean for us? Better fishing! You will find that your catches will greatly increase. The reason for this is simply that this is the time when the majority of the fish in the system are active.

How do we target these Catfish?

If you are targeting Flathead Catfish or Channel Catfish, you should spend your time around deep holes or major structures near deep water. I love ledges, jetties, and channels for these types of structures. Typically during cold spells, you will find catfish on the sides of these ledges and channels. As the water warms, these fish move to the top of the ledge to feed. If the water warms for two weeks, you will find those catfish moving shallower.

To catch these catfish, you should be using an anchoring technique and fishing slowly. We’re talking about letting a bait sit for 30 minutes or more. Flathead and Channel catfish do not enjoy the winter and will still be sluggish even with the warming weather.We should target our lines so that we cover the whole drop off. You want to have atleast four rods. One rod should be at the bottom of the ledge. Two of the rods should be on the side of the ledge. While the last rod, should be at the top of the ledge. This will cover all the areas that a catfish will use during the winter. After this, you just need to simply follow the ledge 20 yards at a time. Sooner or later, you’ll come across a large school of fish.

Note: Flatheads will be there deepest year round but will still relate to cover to feed.

If you want to catch a Blue Catfish, you will need to do plenty of searching. When the water gets warm enough to get these fish active, they get to traveling. These fish will roam the flats, bare sections of rivers, and structures. You need to be using a technique that covers water such as Drifting or Bounding Down. They will be much more active than their other two kin. You will even find that they will strike a bait hard and pull even harder. It something about winter that makes these fish get stronger.

If we are looking for a great time to go fishing, I talk about this in the Post: Best Time to Go Fishing in Winter. Here I talk about the hours that are best for catfishing in these cold months.

What about Bait?

You might think I’m crazy when I tell you this, but bait is the least important part of the plan for this time of year. It doesn’t matter if its alive or dead. During this time of year, many of the baitfish are dying. So the catfish are used to eating dead prey but they will also take a fresh bait. The secret is to get the bait in front of them. Personally I follow the strategy of keeping fresh bait that catfish would regularly see on the hook. Typically in the winter, this is shad and drum. Both of these can be found in the deep holes that big catfish are in this time of year.

Winter fishing can still be tough, but warming spells really change the name of the game. If you can plan your fishing trip around a warming trend, you will increase the odds of you catching catfish immensely.


Looking for Winter Blue Catfish

In winter, blue catfish can be a little different. Most fish get real calm and pile up in those deep holes. Big Blues do something different. While most catfish are relating to holes, blue catfish will be relating to any type of structure that they find fit. They will even take to nothing banks.

I guess it comes with their nature. These catfish like to roam for food. They will swim from structure to structure looking for schools of shad all year long. And Winter is no different. I have been forced to notice this more than once. Actually dozens of times. Once you think you know something about fishing, you get surprised with something new.

My dad has this one section of bank that he has to drift every fishing trip. There is nothing on it. No cover. No structure. I never understood why he would fish there. The first time he took me there, we caught nothing. I pleaded with him to fish a Jetty that was within a mile. I knew we could catch some good Flatheads. The second time through he showed me something. Plenty of blues. And Big ones too. We caught 10 really quick one that ranged from 5-20 lbs. I’m looking around confused thinking to myself, ” Where are they coming from?Then I found a video. Steve Douglas made a Bounding Down Video for winter catfish and he talks about fishing nothing banks. And he is catfishing huge catfish. Here’s that link:

Bounding Down with Steve Douglas (Youtube Video)

This was a great learning moment for me. Blues breaks the rules that flatheads and channels folllow. They don’t need structure. They might like current breaks but they aren’t bound to them. They are concerned with food. Shad! I believe that a strong current will bind them to current breaks but slower currents let them enjoy the full river. So be ready for this surprise.

During tough days, I would suggest that you target structure. They consistently hole larger schools of fish. They are also more tested than nothing banks.  But don’t neglect those banks that don’t look as promising. You might find a secret area. To find these areas, Steve suggests that you should use bounding down. If you are in Northern States, where the temperature gets down, you should follow Steve’s advice to the letter. He’s approach gives the catfish a minute more to find the bait and to entice lazy catfish into biting. BUT if you are in southern states, you would be hard pressed to beat a simple Drifting Technique. These catfish are a little more active. They aren’t as hesitate about chancing a bait because of warmer temperatures.

So remember to test the rules and try those unlikely areas when you are looking for blue catfish. Thank you for reading this short. In a future article I’ll talk about baits that winter catfish will take quickly. If you are craving more articles to catching catfish, here are a few that you might enjoy.

Flathead Catfish: The Series Starts

Big Catfish

Winter Fishing for Catfish

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Feeding Habits for Flathead Catfish

Yesterday I asked about guys find some scientific information about catfish. And just as I thought, you guys came through for me. I now have a ton of information at my disposal. Thank to AVERYMADFISH for putting me on to I’ll be cracking out new information now with more proof than just I say so.

I got on this trend recently after reading a post From This post said that the author had received a government study of Flathead Catfish. This study stated that they tagged 231 flathead catfish that are 100mm to  1200mm or 4 inches to 40 inches. This study tracked their movements and feeding habits.

The crew even went so far as to check the feeding habits of the catfish ever two hours. Real Quickly here are the quick results.

  • Flathead Catfish stay in wood covered water less than 10 feet deep
  • Flathead Catfish feed constantly throughout the day
  • Flathead Catfish showed no food preference. They will eat anything
  • They preferred slow current and deep water during the day

Now what stood out to me is that flathead catfish feed constantly and have no food preference. How many times have we been told that flathead catfish only feed at night and prefer bream. I’d really love to read that study but this is a lot of food for thought. They might be on to something.

Let me know what you think. I’ll have more of these types of articles coming in the future.

What to Read more about Flathead Catfish?

Flathead Catfish: The Series Starts

Flathead Catfish in Deep Water

Flatheads in the Shallows


How Long Does it take to Catch a Big Catfish?

Catching Catfish takes patience. Catching Big Catfish takes even more patience. In Muskie fishing, they call their big fish, ” The Fish of 1000 Casts”. Cool name and from what I hear very accurate. Now that doesn’t really count for catfish since we don’t make a ton of casts. I wouldn’t mind adopting a slogan like : ” The Fish of 100 Hours”.  But the powers at be probably wouldn’t allow it. So let’s do it anyways. I truly believe that you can count it out and the hours will come out close to 100 hours for a 50 pound plus catfish.

I’ve been looking around this week and I haven’t found any concrete evidence to support this so this article will be pending updates until we can solve this. So if you know of any studies that can verify this, Please send me a copy. I will give you full credit for sharing the information.

Thank you guys, I’ll keep looking to see what becomes available.

The Best time to Go Fishing in Winter

Hey Guys,

Today I want to talk briefly about the best times to go fishing. This can be applied to any type of fish but you guys know me better than that. We’ve talking about catfish here. Everyone takes the position that in December, the catfish don’t want to eat. And that is completely wrong. Just ask my grandaddy. At the age of 75, he is still catching catfish this time of year. If he can do it, so can you.

The real secret to timing is low light or Must Feed Times and those Warming Periods. Both times are very important and understanding them will greatly increase you catches.

Must Feed Times are times where the catfish must feed. I’m creative ain’t I. Its such a simple term that I can’t forget it. These times are when you can bet on the catfish feeding no matter the conditions. It can be raining, snowing, freezing cold, or any other adverse condition and the catfish will still feed during these times. So what are they? Day break and Sun Set! I remember a fishing trip three years ago where it snowed in alabama and the fishing was awful. Except for the early morning when the fish would feed aggressively for an hour each morning. After that our, it was over.

The Second time is the Warming Period. In December, the weather will show warming trends ever few weeks. The catfish will notice these trends and begin to feed heavily in the middle of the day. I would range the time from 11am-2pm but it can change a little here and there. The longer the warming trend goes, you will notice more catfish are becoming aggressive. One week of a warming trend could lead to most of the catfish in your system feeding heavily during these times. This can create outstanding fishing.

So how do I want you to use this information? I want you to plan your fishing trips to be most effective. I don’t want you to expose yourself to these cold conditions for more than needed since you could get sick. And thats not good for any of us. So take a look at your local weather. If conditions have less than ideal and will be bad for that day, you should plan a few hour fishing trip from thirty minutes before day break til 10am. This will put you right around a Must Feed Time, thus increases your odds of catching fish that day. I suggest that you leave around 10 because the conditions are bad and the odds of the fishing eating during the mid day are low.

What if you have a warming trend? Fish to your hearts delight. You can catch fish all day. You will most likely see the amount of fish that you catch slow down between day break and noon. But if you are fishing with a family member, then you have plenty of time to talk and catch up. This is what I plan to do with my granddaddy in about a week. I’m hoping that he’ll put me on some of those big catfish that he was been catching. I hope you can do the same.