Lake Palestine

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Drifting For Catfish


It’s getting to be that time of the year again when drifting for catfish works great on any lake that has a good population of catfish, and that just about includes all of lakes in Texas.

Some of the better lakes in east and central Texas are Lake Palestine and Lake Texoma. At Palestine, drift live bait between Hawn Point and the bridges on Highway 155; at Texoma drift shad and cut perch in the creeks and more shallow areas at night.

Chad Ferguson, catfish guide and author, said he uses the Whisker Seeker XL Rattler and the X3 Big Bertha Rattler when drift fishing. “It’s like the Santee Rig. The biggest difference being that the Whisker Seeker Rattlers make noise in the water when they’re moving.”

A traditional drift fishing tackle and rigging consists of a medium bass rig. The majority of the fish will be under 10 pounds with an occasional giant on good days. Tie a 1/0 or 2/0 Aberdeen crappie hook on leaving 12-18 inches of line. The hook may seem a little light for this job but can be straightened out to pull free of snags. The crappie hook will land a big catfish. Just use judgement with the drag system. On the end of the line attach a ½ ounce bell sinker. A stronger wind will require a heavier weight.

Bait is a matter of choice. Catalpa, earth or nightcrawler worms, chicken livers, live crawfish, shrimp, cut bait, live shad, live minnows, commercially prepared or homemade blood cheese baits are just a few baits preferred by catfish anglers. I have seen some catfish anglers using wieners.

I began my catfish learning cycle using long, juicy nightcrawlers, but learned chicken livers stayed on the hook much better.

Drifting is simple. A couple of anglers can manage multiple rods until the action really gets intense. Define the wind direction, positioning the boat perpendicular with the wind.

Find a flat that will give you a long uninterrupted drift. If you have electronics look for a flat with bait. Seeing shad schools is a sure sign the catfish will be nearby. Cast or freeline you reel that you have about 20-25 feet line out. Experiment with length of line and sinker weight until you find what the catfish want.

Even a small catfish can remove an unattended rod in the blink of an eye. Many drifting experts will use an array of rod holders that hold two or more rods. These holders keep the rod in the boat even with a fish on. This comes in handy, allowing an angler to fight and land one fish, then reel in the second.

Some lakes seem to produce better for drifting than others, but the techniques here described will work on any lake that has a good population of catfish.



Tom Behrens has over 50 years experience in fishing and hunting across the United States. Much of this time was spent in Oklahoma and Texas where he became very familiar with the outdoor opportunities in these states. You may contact him by email at:

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Lake Palestine Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Palestine Weather Forecast


Slight Chance Rain Showers

Hi: 91

Wednesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 75


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 96

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 76



Hi: 97

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 76


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 96

Saturday Night


Lo: 76

Lake Palestine Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 8/5: 344.81 (-0.19)

Lake Palestine Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 29)

GOOD. Water clear; 86 degrees; 0.02 high. Largemouth bass are good working blue fleck, or black fleck TEXAS rigged worms, swimbaits, and deep running crankbaits. Crappie are good on minnows around bridges and timber in 15-25’. Hybrid stripers are good on live bait. White bass are excellent on small swimbaits and slabs. Look for birds diving over feeding schools. Catfish are good on cut shad and prepared baits.