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Mississippi River Catfish

All catfish on this website were CPR'd

Catch, Photographed, Released

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85lb Mississippi River Bluecat

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38lb Mississippi River Flathead

Welcome to Mississippi River Catfishing!

The search for Trophy Cats...

continues.  My name is Shane Williams.  My son (Evan) and I enjoy pursuing blue and flathead catfish on the Mississippi River.  We do also like to fish the Tennessee and Ohio rivers.  This website is just a way of organizing pictures, stories and being able to share information with those interested in catfishing.

Catches on the Mississippi

70 lb Mississippi river Bluecat

70 lb Blue catfish caught on the Mississippi River

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Check List

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Fresh Bait
  • Charged Batteries
  • Boat Plug!
  • Fishing Buddy

Our Catfishing Rig:

Recent Catches: (click on pics for more!)

Here's some of the catches we have had over the summer.  We've had some good days but we've also had some very tough days out.

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Finally getting around to posting some pics of my new boat (new to me) that we got in May!  It's a 1998 Starcraft Pro-Elite 2000.  It's 20' long, 8' wide and has a 200HP Mercury on it!  We are very excited about it and hope to fish a few tournaments in it next year!

20' 1998 Starcraft Pro-Elite
Evan posing with the Starcraft!
Starcraft Boat Comparison

Update May 5, 2016

Sorry for the lack of updates here lately.  It's not for a lack of fishing however.  We have been doing a lot of bumping lately.  Let me give you a run down.

March 28th - Evan got a 20 lb Blue suspend drifting on the Tennessee River.

April 5th - Evan caught a 15 lb Blue

April 9th - We headed to the Mississippi river to try some bumping there.  Evan caught a 25 lb Blue bumping over there.

April 16th - We hit the Ohio River determined to catch some blues bumping.  We caught 4 fish.  2 bumping and 2 anchored.  The current was pretty strong.  The biggest fish was a 27 lb Blue.

April 23rd - This was the best day we've ever had on the river.  We hit the Ohio once again.  This time we didn't anchor at all.  We caught a total of 9 fish for 237 lbs!  We caught a couple of 17 lbs, one in the low 20's, then I hooked into a beauty.  He weighed in at 60 lbs!  We decided to do another drift.  Evan picked up one in the low teens and I believe I caught another one around 8 lbs.  We were just about to the end of the drift when another big one hit.  This one weighed in at 65 lbs!  What a fight!  What a day!

60 lb Blue Catfish caught on the Ohio River
65 lb Blue Cat caught on the Ohio River
Evan holding my 65 lb Blue cat
20 lb Blue Catfish caught on the TN river
15 lb Blue Catfish caught on the TN river
25 lb Blue Catfish caught bumping on the Mississippi River
Blue Cat caught on the Ohio River
23 lb Blue Catfish caught on the Ohio River
20 lb Blue Catfish caught on the Ohio River

Update March 21, 2016

Evan and I decided to take an afternoon trip for a couple hours on Monday.  I took some skipjack out of the freezer, picked him up from school and we headed to the river.  The wind was blowing pretty good, so it made drifting a bit more of a challenge.  I had to angle the boat away from the shore and make fairly constant adjustments to compensate for drift speed and the direction the wind wanted to take us.  Immediately after putting our 4 suspended rigs out, a rod went down.  Evan brought in a nice 8 lb Blue.  As we continued our track, I decided to do a little bumping while we were slowly going downstream.  I never felt the hit but when your bumping and then your sinker fails to bump, either you hit a drop off or something else is going on!  In this case, a blue cat decided to eat the skipjack head and swim up with it.  I reeled down, trying to figure out what was going on, only to then have my pole bend over double!!  It was a nice fish, weighing in at 25 lbs!  We continued on and had a couple more hits.  Had a real nice take down on a big piece of bait but apparently he didn't have the whole thing in his mouth or he let go.  Finally, as it was getting close to being time to go in, another pole went down.  Evan proceded to bring in another bluecat that went 8 lbs.  So, overall, 2 - 8 lbers and a 25 for just a couple hours fishing.  We had a great time and can't wait to get out again!!

8 lb Blue Catfish
25 lb Blue Catfish
8 lb Blue Catfish

Update March 19, 2016

Today, we didn't even touch the anchor. We started off on the Ohio bumping. The current was too strong and there was a lot of trash in the water, so we went up the Tennessee River to try bumping in there. We had been bumping now for over an hour, & were about ready to try something different, whenever dad's rod all of a sudden bends over, like I'm sitting on the tip of it! We were so excited! After dad reeled him in, and I netted him, he weighed in at a hefty 22lbs! Our first bluecat bumping! Next we decided to suspend drift through the same area. All of a sudden our 3rd rod bends over & almost touches the water. I jump up & grab it before it leaves the rod holder. This guy was a fighter. I thought dad had not set the drag right, again. Obviously if something is off, it's the other guys fault. Finally he gets to the surface, & dad netted him. He weighed in at a solid 24lbs! We kept on this course, & got a takedown on our second rod. By the looks of things, this could be it! This could be a world record. Dad picked up the pole, & then that excitement was over. It hadn't even taken any line off. We got him to the side of the boat & slowly dragged all 10 pounds of him over the side of the boat. So in conclusion, today was a great day. Who knows, maybe we could have done this good anchoring but all of these were caught with the trolling motor in the water NOT the anchor. To finally catch a cat while bumping, is certainly a step in the right direction. Today was a great day, & I wish you all tight lines. This is Evan, signing off.

24 lb TN River Blue Catfish
22 lb TN river Blue Catfish

Update February 6, 2016:  This might seem like a meaningless update, however it is a big deal to Evan and I.  Today we got our first catfish on Kentucky Lake!  Yes, we went to KY Lake and did some drift fishing.  He didn't fight very good and he sure wasn't very big, but let's face it, he WAS definitely a catfish.  A Blue Catfish in fact!  We did some suspending and some dragging.  He bit on a piece of Asian carp on a dragging rig.  This won't be our last trip to Kentucky Lake.  There is a lot of water to try out there.  We have much learning to do but I'm confident that the size of catfish we will catch can only go up!

3 lb Kentucky Lake Blue Catfish
3 lb Kentucky Lake Blue Catfish

Update January 31, 2016.  We finally had a day where the river wasn't CRAZY high and the temperatures weren't CRAZY low!  My son, Evan, and  I set out to the mighty Mississippi River at Columbus Belmont park.  The river still fairly high but fishable.  We launched and set out to see what we could find.  We first set out and did some bottom bouncing while drifting in about 30-35 feet of water.  I had marked some fish but looking back on it, they probably weren't catfish.  We had a still 15+mph wind coming from the SW and that made boat control tough.  It kept blowing us to the shore.  Anchored up on a transition area in about 50 feet of water and didn't do any good.  Decided to head farther up river a few miles and check out some revetment banks.  No success there either.  I did notice, however, that the water on the Missouri side was 6 degrees cooler than it was on the Kentucky side (37 vs. 43).  With that on my mind we headed back over to the Kentucky side.  I wasn't marking any fish but we anchored up on a ledge in about 45 feet of water.  Threw a rod out and realized that the wind was blowing us harder than the current could hold us.  The only option was to move out farther into more current.  We ended up anchoring in 75 feet of water, baited up and finally seemed like everything was good.  By this time, it was 1:30pm and I felt like we were running out of new things to try.  After about 25 minutes my 2nd rod on the left, popped up!  That got my attention!  It went back to a resting position and then preceded to fold over with line ripping off the reel!  Oh, how I love the sight of that.  It was a good fish that stayed down.  Over the course of 10 minutes or so I slowing brought him up.  My son stood there eagerly with the net ready.  We were both excited when he slipped the net under him and we brought him in the boat.  A beautiful 50 lb Blue cat!  He was 44" long.  After some quick pictures, this beauty was released.  It's amazing how 1 bite can entirely change your outlook on a fishing trip!

50 lb Mississippi River Blue Cat
50 lb Mississippi River Blue Cat

Update November 23, 2015.  Well we haven't been out on the river in a couple weeks.  There has been lots of rain and it has kind of been a mess.  I did, however, have a chance to fish below Barkley Dam for some skipjack.  I normally don't talk much about the size of our bait but I did catch quite a "whopper" skipjack.

He was 20" long and had a 12" girth.  He weighed 2.95 lbs, which means he was only .15 lbs shy of the Kentucky state record!  I was almost a little embarrased to go by the bait and tackle store and ask for a scale.  However, I just had to know!  Anyway, the 3.10 lb record is still safe for the moment.  You never know though, if the next one might be the one you are looking for!

Monster Skipjack Herring caught below Barkley Dam

Written by my son, Evan Williams:


Today, on November 7th, 2015, dad & I hit the Mississippi again. We launched at Columbus Belmont again and got going. We started off by drifting down a section that ranged from 50ft-85ft. After a while of not getting anything we decided to start anchoring. Our first spot had slow and deep water. After a few minutes we saw some tapping. This was on the pole that was in 45ft. After a few minutes of tapping, he finally brought the rod down. Once he was hooked good, I started fighting him. Once we got him in, he weighed in at 15lbs. After this we anchored in a few more spots & not doing any good, we decided to anchor on a cut we've had success on previous trips. After about 25 minutes on this spot, we saw some tapping on our deepest rod it was obvious by the bite it was a flathead, but it was a small telling by the bite. Probably about 5lbs I'm guessing. This bite literally took about 4-5 minutes. It dragged on & on, & I was about ready to give up, until....


The pole finally bent over real good. We use 8/0 Team Catfish double action circle hooks so we don't worry about the rod until it’s bent over and stays down. The pole was bent over real good, so I got up, wait about 5 more seconds, & then grabbed the rod. Of course, as soon as I start bringing him in, my sinker snags. Thankfully it broke off and I kept on fighting. As soon as I start pulling up on the rod, line peels off. Now I'm thinking, he's got to at least be 15lbs. The fight drags on for about 10 minutes and he's feeling bigger and bigger by the minute. Finally, I saw a tail splash. It was yellow, so that confirmed that it was a flathead. After 5 more minutes, the cat surfaced, & words cannot describe how shocked dad & I were when we saw it.... It was the stuff of dreams. More so when we netted him. We weighed him, & he weighed 42lbs!! A TROPHY CAT!!!!!  MY FIRST TROPHY CAT!!!!! He, or she, was 43 inches long, & had a girth of 28 inches!! After many photos, we finally released him to grow even bigger, & headed on in. Thanks for reading. Tight lines everyone.





15 lb Mississippi River Flathead
15 lb Mississippi River Flathead
42 lb Mississippi River Flathead
42 lb Mississippi River Flathead

Written by my son, Evan Williams:

Today (11-3-15) we got out on the river around 10:30. It was a later start because it was real foggy outside and we were waiting for it all to clear up.We got out and decided to experiment with some drifting. We launched at the Columbus Belmont launch ramp on the Mississippi river in western KY. After one pass, we didn't do any good, so we decided to start anchoring. The first spot was very deep and had a depth of around 90 feet. Dad and I anchored in about 60 feet of water on a mud bank. We put out our usual 4 poles with skipjack for bait, & then we waited. After a few minutes, we saw a little action on our 3rd rod.  It was on the right side of the boat close to that drop. We saw the bites continue to bend the rod further & further, until the tip was almost touching the water. I jumped up over to the rod and heard the drag start screaming. I like to have the clicker on just for kicks and I heard it going real good. I picked up the rod and there was something very solid on the other end. After about 10 minutes he got to the surface and he was a sight to see. After we netted him, we weighed him. The scale read 24 pounds, making him my personal best by 4 pounds. In all honesty, a 24 pound Blue Catfish is still fairly small in the grand scheme of things.  But, hey, a personal best is a personal best!


After this spot we decided to move In a little closer to shore. We didn't even get a bite, so we moved on. We went back to where we started drifting, except we anchored. We didn't do any good there either. After this we went further upstream & fished a cut we've had some success on before. Once we were anchored, we were bombarded with the wake of barges coming by. Once this was over with, we got all our poles out. After a little while our second rod on the left side of the boat started getting a little bit of action. My dad had a huge skipjack head on this rod.  In fact we started the day off with this same head.  The bites were persistent and sure enough, the dude finally took it all the way down and hooked himself. Based on how he was biting and how he was fighting, it was easy to tell it was a smaller Flathead catfish. Sure enough, we were right. The little Flathead weighed about 7 pounds and was a very, very beautiful yellow color. Afterwards, we got a few more taps, but that was about it for that spot. We anchored at one more spot, but didn't do any good there, so we headed on in. That was it for today, and boy, what better trip is there than to beat your personal best. Thanks for reading. Keep your line tight!!

Lots more to Come!