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Cormorant Catfishing! 
Jim Gilbert and Benny Roberts

What the Heck is Cormorant Catfishing?
  If you have been fishing for any length of time you should know that fishing where the "real pros" fish will improve your catch and the "real pros" are those that fish for a living --  and I don't mean fishing guides. I mean pros that literally starve to death if they don't catch fish -- BIRDS man BIRDS!  

  All good white bass fisherman know that where the gulls (birds) are active on the lake the white bass can be found just underneath. What most catfishermen don't know is that the same theory applies to another bird -- the Cormorant.


   Cormorants are voracious shad eaters and they roost in large flocks in submerged timber. Think of what falls into the water under one of these roosts!

   So the theory and practice of Cormarant Catfishing is simple...... 

Locate the Cormorant roosts, quietly slip your boat in amongst the trees under the roosts and fish.

Cormorant Habitat and Finding the Fishing Spot
  Cormorants winter on Texas inland lakes and reservoirs (same places every year); are summer resident in parts of Texas; and,  Cormorant breeding has even been reported at Toledo Bend Lake. 

A few are even present year-round at some inland lakes and reservoirs in central and north-central Texas. But the absolute best months of the year on Texas lakes are during the wintering season November through April.

The real key to capitalizing on the Cormorant catfishing is to locate the roosts. Typically these roosts will be found in flooded trees over water in flatland lakes. Since large roosting groups gather mainly near or after dark and humans typically fish during the day, you may have to locate the roosting site by the appearance of the trees -- trees over water COVERED in white bird droppings!

Benny Roberts (the king of Cormorant Catfishing) wasn't willing to give exact locations for this article, but he was willing to provide enough information to get you in one of the areas. Lake Ray Roberts (Du Bois Creek about 1 mile south of the 922 bridge, middle of the lake, 10' to 20' feet of water).  Benny's all time favorite for this type of fishing is Lake Arrowhead in Henrietta, Texas (sorry, but Benny pretty much keeps the exact location to himself).   

How to Fish the Area
  Catfish under these described circumstances are a bit spooky -- the water around flooded timber is generally shallow (3' to 15').  You will need to ease your boat into the fishing area and carefully tie both the front and back of the boat tightly to a couple of trees. The idea is to get the boat secure and also keep the boat from drifting into trees, making noise and interfering with your rod and line read on bites. Start early while the catfish are still feeding off the droppings from the Cormorant roost, because the birds leave at daylight.

Use a catfish rig as in  figure 1. It  uses a slipping 3/4 to 1oz egg sinker that allows the catfish to take the bait with no resistance -- this is important!   

figure 1

Everybody has their favorite catfish bait but  I'll share with you what is reported to out catch all other baits under these conditions.  

 "SureShot Catfish Punch Bait", by Benny Roberts.  

If you are not familiar with punch baits, this is what they are and why they are called punch baits. They come in tubs of various sizes, are  nasty, stinky and thick. They are made of shredded bait fish and some secret ingredients that I care not to know about. They are called punch baits because they are so foul that you don't ever want the stuff on your hands and the makers recommend using treble hooks so you can take a stick and punch the hook down into the bait and pull the hook out by the line to load it.

The reasoning for using this punch bait is simple -- Benny Roberts has designed SureShot so that the wad of bait on the treble hook looks and smells just like something coming from the back end of  a roosting Cormorant!

If you want to try SureShot don't bother shopping at WalMart -- you had better order it from Benny directly because there are darn few (I know of one) bait shops that carry it.

Benny Roberts 
146 PR 1123
Decatur, TX 76234    940-627-7302
$20 per gallon + shipping

web site:

Click here for a sample of Benny's catches. 





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