Channel catfish in rivers could prowl the flats anywhere from the lip into the main channel all the way to the shoreline, and though they may hold in pods, those pods could be scattered.
Popular catfishing floats include: Balsa cylinder float (1), Balsa cigar foats (2), Weighted foam float (3), Lighted float (4), Glow-in-the-dark float (5), Foam tube float (6) and Peg floats for floating a leader.
One of the best ways to zero in on active channel cats, and eliminate unproductive water, is to scour the flats with float rigs. They allow anglers to fish a long stretch of the flat from one spot. Anchor the boat between the shoreline and the drop-off into the channel and simply allow the baits to drift in the current behind the boat. Cover all depths, working the deep side more than the shallow.
An ideal rig consists of a 25- to 30-pound main line, a large cigar-shaped slip float, 3/8- to 3/4-ounce egg sinker, barrel swivel, 8 to 10 inches of an abrasion resistant leader and a 2/0 to 3/0 wide gap hook. Pin cutbait onto the hook, making sure the point is exposed. The bait should ride the bottom, even bumping it occasionally without hanging up.
In rivers where current seams form, they are obvious hotspots. But if they're not a factor, channel cats could be anywhere on the flat, even right along the shoreline. Don't be afraid to fish "too shallow" as these fish sometimes hold very close to the bank.
Cover different depth ranges by sliding the float stop up or down the line and making longer or shorter casts. Sometimes it's necessary to manipulate the float so it stays on course, so a 7 1/2- to 8-foot baitcasting rod comes in handy. It also allows you to pick up a lot of line when setting a hook that may be 150 to 200 feet downstream.
Float rigs will help you pinpoint channel cats on river flats, but remember that these fish can be scattered. Don't get locked into one spot. If you don't get a strike in 15 minutes, move. Even with this technique you can cover only so much water. If the fish aren't there, look for them elsewhere.