Flathead from the St. Francis

I have been getting reports that flathead are being caught at several places on the St. Francis River.  Steven's Landing near Trumann is said to be hot right now, and these two flathead (18lb, 15lb) were caught by Jared Shaneyfelt, on the St. Francis River west of Senath.

I took my grandchildren trot lining near Lunsford last weekend, but we only caught two keepers.  From the numbers of fishermen getting bait at Pillow's last Friday, I would surmise that they are having pretty good luck in this area.


Two weeks ago, I made a test run at jugging near Jacksonport.  One of the locals told me to fish near the old train trestle, but that didn't work out for me.  Because of the action of the currents and eddys, most of my jugs ended up hung up on trash near the banks.

While retrieving my jugs, I did have an encouraging experience.  I was headed toward the last two jugs and saw one of them disappear.  When I got to the place it went under, I finally spotted it under the water about eighteen inches, and going upstream.  I've caught several large catfish on jugs before, and most can't keep the jug under water more than thirty seconds, before it resurfaces.  This one stayed under water the entire time I chased it upstream.

Because the current was so strong, even with a 24V trolling motor, it took me a while to catch up with the jug.  Using a seven foot grab pole, I missed it on the first pass. When I grabbed it on the second pass, the line tightened and the fish never even slowed down.  In just a few seconds the hook was straightened enough to tear out of the mouth of the fish, and I was left holding a jug with a bent hook at the end of the line.

I can only guess as to what was on the jug, but knowing how big the flathead and blues get in our rivers, I would suspect that it was a pretty sizeable fish.  I will be going back with the grandkids, and we will move up to an 8/0 hook, to increase our chances the next time.