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Marine Plus Parts
Troutlining Tiny's guide service offers learning trips. You will be able to learn
anything Tiny knows about catfishing on these trips, Locating fish, reading fish
finders, bait, keeping bait alive, learning to throw a large thrownet. It seems
like it's hard to do but I can have you throwing a 10 ft net like a pro in just
a few minutes. Bluecat, Flathead and Channelcat catfishing is some of the most
exciting fishing there is if you can figure out how to do it ... A trip with me
will dramatically reduce the learning curve as I don't hold any information back
and it won't be like some obscure rambling about lunar tables and what not ... I
show you how to actually do it and can have you locating your own fish in no
time. That's the main thing about successful catfishing is learning how to
locate them. If you don't know how to find the fish it makes it a lot tougher as
you will have to rely on drift fishing and hope you just luck into fish or you
can learn how I locate fish and you won't be depending on luck. If you depend on
luck when you're bluecat fishing then how dependable can that be? I have only
fished two tournaments and they were on lakes I'd never fished in my life but I
placed 2nd and 3rd on them ... the way I did it was I just used my fish location
methods and they work anywhere. If you know how to locate catfish then
catfishing is a lot easier. If you don't know how to locate them then you'll be
out there fishing trying to find them and I never fish to find fish ... I find
them and then fish for them and you can too.
Catfish Fishing How To Tips
© Copyright 1996 - 2014 Tim Smith - Catfishin.net - All Rights Reserved
Tiny's guide service offers learning trips. You will be able to learn anything Tiny knows about catfishing on these trips, Locating fish, reading fish finders, bait, keeping bait alive, learning to throw a large thrownet. It seems like it's hard to do but I can have you throwing a 10 ft net like a pro in just a few minutes. Bluecat, Flathead and Channelcat catfishing is some of the most exciting fishing there is if you can figure out how to do it ... A trip with me will dramatically reduce the learning curve as I don't hold any information back and it won't be like some obscure rambling about lunar tables and what not ... I show you how to actually do it and can have you locating your own fish in no time. That's the main thing about successful catfishing is learning how to locate them. If you don't know how to find the fish it makes it a lot tougher as you will have to rely on drift fishing and hope you just luck into fish or you can learn how I locate fish and you won't be depending on luck. If you depend on luck when you're bluecat fishing then how dependable can that be? I have only fished two tournaments and they were on lakes I'd never fished in my life but I placed 2nd and 3rd on them ... the way I did it was I just used my fish location methods and they work anywhere. If you know how to locate catfish then catfishing is a lot easier. If you don't know how to locate them then you'll be out there fishing trying to find them and I never fish to find fish ... I find them and then fish for them and you can too.
we caught over 700 lbs of bluecat catfish on Dec 10, 2011. we released over 20 fish that was 15 lbs or bigger. it was a great day with really great weather catfishing on Kaw Lake. decided not to go to Keystone due to the better fishing on Kaw
I went catfishing with my sponsors yeterday .. from www.marineplusparts.com and had a great time ... we caught two 18 lb'rs and a couple of 15 lb blues along with two 10 lb bluecat on Nov 28th, 2011 ... pics available at www.catfishin.net/catfish-pictures.html
tiny can teach you how to locate catfish like a pro and be catfishing on your own with conficence that you'll be catching nice fish on your own without depending on luck. catfishing isn't about luck and luck has nothing to do with catfishing unless you're just going out and throwing your line out and hoping for the best ... if you go out with tiny he'll show you how to locate fish and the proper way to fish for them instead of just going out and thinking ... this looks like a likely spot and sit there all day with little to no fish to show for your efforts ... if you find the fish then catching them is simple if you use the proper rigs and fresh bait caught from the waters you fish from. don't spend all your time not catching fish and spend it bringing them in instead. lots of people are likely spot fishermen and that is fishing like mentioned above .. catfishing is pretty easy because they're always biting ... you just need to figure out where the active fish are and you're eating fish in no time.
Catfishing, Blues don't lay around in holes or areas waiting for a bait to come hit them in the head ... they migrate in schools a lot it seems like ... when they move through you'll catch a lot of fish all about the same size ... schools can prolly be from 5 to 50 fish or even more. Fishing trotlines suspended I've caught several of these blues on bait and empty hooks (unbaited hooks) close or the next hook to where I'd had a bait. All of which would be about the same size. I'm sure there are exceptions to every rule and I'm just stating what I believe is fact as I've not done any underwater survey or junk like that ... I just go by what seems to be happening and try to make sense of the situation. All the channels I've caught were singles between catching blues and all different sizes so I don't think that channels migrate as much and tend to feed more stationary ... these are the fish you might catch more of unless your state laws allow you to bait holes like they do on those fishing shows for catfish. Baited holes will drive fish kinda crazy depending on what was used kinda like the movie "Jaws" throwing fresh blood overboard except you bait the hole or holes several days in advance. I've tried this b4 and it is really weird how it works ... Baiting can be with just about anything ... you can throw bails of alfalfa hay in areas and attract several channels to an area ... they'll rip those bales apart in no time. Usually baited holes are with a fermented grain inside a burlap bag like a 100# tater bag. I won't tell you how this is done as there's no sport to this type fishing and I don't know how much if any damage is caused by this type stuff but baited holes are pretty wild action ... you can catch fish three to four days in this area that had been baited with just about anything you throw at the fish. This is how some bait companies sell their baits and products. These baited fish might hang around this area for several days waiting ... the best way is to keep baiting like every 3 days drop another and then another and then another and then another ... the channels come in like dogs to a feed bucket and will hit anything that's thrown into the water. This technique is used all over and is highly illegal in some places ... Oklahoma has laws against it ... I don't know about other states. It's very hard for the Fish and Game Dept. to catch these individuals though as they'd have to be caught in the act of dumping the hole bait. I'd imagine a lot of the catfish fishing guide services use this type deal to please their customers. I can't say this for a fact though. Carcass dumping has the same fish attractant capability also but most of this is mainly for channels but blues are drawn into the feeding frenzy as well at later stages of the baited hole's life cycle. Any time one species is drawn into an area others will be drawn as well. Dogfood is also another hole bait as it comes in good quantities and reasonably priced enough so that hole baiting with it is possible. Usually with that type baiting someone will take about two to three weeks and drive by and chunk a can full of dogfood in the water ... then the next day again and again and again and in effect kinda changing the feeding habits of the fish in that area ... then when they get ready to go fishin the fish are drawn by the sounds this baiter is makin whether it's the dog food rattle in a bucket or whatever or the splash the dog food makes in the water. They then do the same thing and you can catch a lot of fish on store bought bait as these fish will be scouring the area lookin for dog food and pick up just about anything that resembles it. This is also how the manufactured bait gets used on the fishing shows prostituted to the bait companies get you to buy their bait ... they'll bait the area weeks in advance every day sometimes twice per day and then wehn they get there they'll throw out a handfull of their prepared bait making you think that's what is attracting the fish but they don't tell you about the preparation to get the fish conditioned to bite like crazy on this stuff. "OH MAN ... THIS BAIT IS THE BEST STUFF i'VE EVER USED .... OH WOW ... i GOT ANOTHER ONE!" Now you know how to catch fish on manufactured bait. Kinda like watching pro wrestling ... sorry everyone but that's fake too.
I thought I'd do another little bit on bluecat fishing in daylight hours ... this can be very tricky to do in some situations. The hardest being calm, clear, hot mid summer days in a clear water environment. I mean the hardest if you're not sure where to look. Situations like this usually make it very easy to find fish because we know that fish don't like direct sunlight. The are very reclusive in situations like this so fishing structure is the most important thing to focus on in a situation like this. Mid to late summer is my line of thinking on this piece when the oxygen level is depleted very badly below 10 ft deep where there's not current at all. This will help you find the fish because they can't be any deeper than 8 to 10 ft so they must look for shelter in the shallows.
Wind creates waves which refract the light more-so than a calm flat water surface does, this effects fish more than a person can realize. I'd imagine it'd effect all other fish as well but I haven't much experience there. The important things to realize is that the calmer and clearer the water is, the tighter fish will hold to structure and I mean they'll be up under rocks, logs, or anything they can find to make them feel more secure. Large bluecat don't get large by being bold and unafraid of anything in their environment so this lets us know we have to fish as close to structure as we possibly can.
Catfishing, When looking for a place to fish in a new area under these conditions I'll look for an area that's shaded most of the day. Hopefully I'll find a shaded area on the back side of a bluff with some kind of broken rock structure or piled up driftwood, logjam or something the fish can get under. Flooded timber is also a good choice of fishing areas in this situation. Not always will you find areas such as this so if you don't there's always someplace that'll be shaded like the back side of boulders. If there is absolutely no structure or shaded areas in clear still water environment that you're fishing then you should focus on fishing the banks at about 6 to 7 ft deep around the small tributary/tributaries and cover some water. Usually small lakes that have little to no structure will have small tributaries feeding it and these tributaries are a lot of times shaded by trees so start there and work your way around the mouth of the tributaries.
Larger environments such as dammed up rivers aren't so technically involved during this time of year. Usually the fish will be congregated around any open water source such as water trickling down from tainter gates on a dam or some small feeder creek. Fishing a float and bait shallow around these type places will produce a good amount of fish during the day ... my favorite fishing technique this time of year is a grasshopper under a float thrown right under where a tainter gate is leaking... this creates highly aerated water and the fish are very drawn to it. The fish will hit instantly if I make a good throw and hit directly under the open water source. If I miss a little I'll have to wait until it drifts close to the area, that is, if it'll drift towards the dam at all.
Catfishing, Shallow river fishing is also good this time of year around restrictions in the river. Restrictions that make it hard for the fish to go further upstream like massive log jams with shallow water on the upstream side of the jam. In this situation you'll want to fish directly behind the log jam or if you can place your bait under the backside of it it's even better. Wade fishing is really cool like this. I'd take an old stiff rod and with my bait on a hook with no sinker I'd probe around under the backside of the logjam. I did this in Deep Fork River near where I grew up and was very successful ... the Nerodia water snakes made it a little un-nerving when they'd drop off into the water but they usually won't mess with ya. I tried this in Cimarron also but it was a lot harder there because when a log jam is created in the Cimarron all the sand washes out from behind the log jam and it's hard to wade it so the best way to fish that is to walk on the log jam dropping your bait down into the holes. When doing this you need to make sure you have very strong line and rod so you can just horse them out. It's impossible to fish structure like this with anything less than 40 lb test or so... I'd recommend 40 lb test Ande for doing this. Yellow grasshoppers is also my bait of choice for this type fishing because the fish won't hesitate to grab them. If there's any current you'll need to use a sinker but don't use any more of a sinker than you have to.
I've still got the catfish photos of the logs online and I'll post um here so you can print them out. with a little explanation.
Finding fish in winter
now I'll try to reconstruct the catfish post on how to locate big catfish in the winter ... paying attention to the wind direction is critical or you can go to the link above to weather underground and punch in a local radio show and it'll show you the weather history for the last week. anyhow ... we'll talk about wind being out of the south for several days and looking at this first map we'll try to figure out where the fish are holding and at what depth the majority of the fish are at by slowly going through the area on the north side of the lake watching our color fish finder and normally wintering fish will hold in the intermediate part of the lake ... I've checked the deepest part of the lake several times in mid winter when the water temp was 36 and lower and it's like a deadzone out there but I've always found fish holding about 45 to 50 ft just below where the shad are holding and I'll work my way across the northern part of the lake's depths until I figure out where the majority of the catfish are holding using the info above on how to tell the catfish apart from the scaley fish. you should have a good gps map loaded on your fish finder for the lake you're wanting to fish ... this is critical for fishing for wintering bluecat because without it you don't really know where to start and having a good contour map of a lake is like knowing the lake better than you ever could by fishing it for 30 years. this picture below is what I'm talking about ... notice the 50 to 60 ft depths and then abrupt changes from 45 ft to shallower real fast near the bank .. catfish will bunch up right in there on that ledge in the winter with a good south wind for several days or they may be holding just 50 to 60 ft off that ledge but this is a good place to start looking.
now in this next photo I show a path of my boat or similar to what I'd do if I found the fish holding mostly on the 50 to 60 ft slope working my way back n forth in a zigzaging motion to try to spot those big umbrellas that I'm looking for once I've found one I'll go back n forth at the fish in several directions to pinpoint it's location and then i'll get off to the side ... either east or west about 20 yds or so or maybe just 10 yds and then go south about 50 ft and let out my anchor and then let the wind carry me back even or parallel with my waypoint that I marked the fish at .. more instructions under the photo.
once i've gotten positioned I'll throw out a rod with a bottom float rig if the fish is on bottom ... I never want to see these fish suspended because it's hard to get them to bite if they're suspended but if they're on bottom they'll feed readily. so if they're on bottom I'll throw out a bottom float rig baited with shad head cut fresh from live shad just past the fish about 10 yds and to the right or left of him and drag it back slowly until I think I've went past him just a little and do that again on the other side of the fish and if I want to make sure I've got good coverage on the fish I'll throw out two more rods just to the right and left of the first two just so I've got plenty of baited lines around the fish ... I don't ever remember missing a fish like this and the one trip I went trophy fishin on last year there were two big umbrellas that looks like fish near 20 lbs or better and they were close together ... just a few feet apart ... I did a drag n drop on both sides of the fish I seen and then just a few seconds went by and one of the rods took off and bent down hard ... then just a few more seconds the rod beside it started bending down and I told the young man not to get it because I think it's hung up with this line ... but then they seperated ... we caught both the fish I spoted at the same time ... one was 24 lbs and the other was 17 or 18 if I remember right.
if the wind is out of the north for several days then I'd be focusing my search on this side of the lake where the arrows on this picture is. hope this helps
Tiny, this is great stuff. I don't know why you go to all this trouble to share you knowledge, but it's much appreciated. Hope you're doing much better and will be back on the water soon. This time of year in my part of the country, we'll often times have north wind for about 2 days and then south for about 2 days. How long does it take fish to move to the windward side when the wind changes?
When you get a wind shift for just a few days, all it does is scatter the fish somewhat so the best thing to do in this situation is to drift fish some south of where the fish are holding the most ... gotta remember that bluecat are an open water fish anyhow so where you have a lot of fish like at tawakoni or ray hubbard you can pick up a lot of fish just aimlessly drifting but when you get a handle on where most fish are holding you can be a lot more successful when drifting ... I don't like drifting because I like to locate the fish and set up on them mainly because keystone doesn't have a lot of fish in it. you can drift keystone all day and just catch two or three fish in the best case scenarios like where most of the fish are on keystone ... you drift it and it doesn't work well at all just because of the low numbers of fish in the lake. when you have fish holding on a slope between 25 to 30 ft on the north side and you get a north wind for a couple days it will probably pull them south a ways and scatter them so drifting would be the best way to catch those fish that have been scattered some. kind of got to get out there and troll around with your trolling motor some and watch your electronics to see if you can spot some of those big umbrella arches and see if you can't establish a pattern on how they're holding when you have a good south wind for several days ... I'm a creature of habit though ... I'd still anchor fish those lakes down there but I'd get on the fish first ... I don't ever stop and fish unless I know there's fish in a spot ... I don't ever stop and fish just because I think there might be fish there. the remote control trolling motors are best for this as you can sit in the driver's seat and watch your electronics and work your way back n forth around those slopes and humps and won't disturb the fish any by using your trolling motor ... using your big motor will allow you to see fish but once the exhaust of the motor goes over them they'll spook and won't be there when you drop your anchor ... especially if you turn around to go back where you seen the fish ... gotta take into consideration of how blues school together also ... they're most of the time not shoulder to shoulder like other species like stripers or hybrids or sandies ... they move in groups but they're just in close proximity to one another ... so if you move over 3 or 4 fish within a 30 yd path of your boat then chances are great that you're on a big group of fish because they hunt in packs so if you are watching your electronics and you see three to four catfish in about 30 yds or so then you'd do well if you anchored right there and broadcast your rods in all directions ... 6 to 8 rods as far out as you can cast them ... cover as much water as you can when anchor fishing like this ... I can normally cast 75 yds on an average cast with my 7 and 8 ft rods using 3 to 4 oz sinkers and some casts I can punch out there to 90 yds or so so what I'm doing when I do that is covering almost 200 yds diameter of water around my boat and since bluecat are just in close proximity to one another and most likely all moving in the same direction across flats or along slopes you'll end up catching your last couple of fish on a couple of rods in the direction they're headed so it's easy to relocate them after you've not caught a fish for 15 minutes ... reel all your poles up and drop your trolling motor and head in the direction that you caught your last couple of fish and most of the time you'll relocate them heading in that direction.
when I'm in search of larger fish on keystone I'll work the areas they're holding like I mentioned before and when I spot one of those larger umbrella arches on my locator I'll triangulate over the fish from several directions so that I can pinpoint him and then set up to the side of him and drag n drop two baits ... one on both sides of him within a few feet ... I'll cast past the fish on both sides then reel slowly back just a few feet past it and then set the rod in the holder and then do it again on the other side of the fish with the other pole ... when you cast past the fish and reel it back slowly past him you're leaving a scent trail of fresh cut shad in the water that the'll pick up and track down ... since it's only a few feet they don't take long to pick it up. I've NEVER missed catching a big fish like this ... once I spot them they're as good as in the boat. only thing that could possibly allow them to not get caught is if someone in the boat starts banging something around in the boat and drives the fish off. I used this method only one time last year as my clients agreed to throw back all the fish we caught over 15 lbs ... okies don't really understand the concept of catch n release yet so this don't happen too often when my clients want to go after big fish only because a lot of them don't want to turn the big fish back ... only one did last year and we spoted 5 big arches and caught all 5 of them that day ... big for keystone is over 20 lbs ... ain't many 30 lb'rs left due to all the snaglining but we caught all 5 of them that we spoted that day and it was because of finding out where most of the fish were holding ... or knowing where they were holding ... they'd been holding on 45 to 50 ft slope for a few weeks ... but figuring out where most of the fish are holding then use your electronics and trolling motor to work your way back n forth over the areas and then pinpointing the fish ... then drag n drop baits on both sides of them and that's all it takes. pay attention to your environment ... especially the way the wind has been blowing for the last several days and then another most important thing is to forget using carolina rigs ... that's one of the worst rigs there is for using cut bait with because it lets your bait settle right down into the mud or rocks and the big fish can't get to the baited hooks ... if you use a carolina rig you also can't cast it very far or nearly as far as you can a bottom sinker rig like the ones depicted on my tips section ... the bottom float rig casted out can cast about 2 to 3 times further than a carolina rig because the sinker won't slide on the line and the bait won't helecopter nearly as bad ... that's several reasons why a person shouldn't use a carolina rig when anchor fishing for bluecat ... you fishing success will improve drastically if you won't use a carolina rig... only time I use carolina rigs is when I'm downlining for hyrbids or catfish with my sinker reeled up off bottom a ways or if I'm using it santee cooper style with a float on the leader. I'll post more info pretty soon ... I think I'm about to retire and there's some more of my more secret info that I'll post one of these days when I'm sure I'm going to retire ... my health is getting pretty bad so I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep going but we'll see.
Catfishing, Let's start this with a little background and life cycle of catfish be it blues channel or flathead. These fish hatch out and are very small ... bottom of the food chain ... the blues and channels have a pretty decent defense with the spines on their sides and dorsal fin that are very sharp and sting like fire when they poke ya ... blues and channel will feed off their young sometimes if they're wounded and I've seen big blues that have been skinned alive by larger catfish ... judging by the marks on them I'd have to guess they were other blues biting them. We'll start at the beginning though ... they're very small and have to fend for themselves and are inherently scavengers as they will feed off carcasses or anything they can knip a little morsel of food off of and they grow fairly fast like this. Once these fish reach about 1.5# they tend to scavenge less and hunt more it seems and when they reach that 3# mark they are predominantly hunters of smaller fish like shad, perch, bass, or anything they can catch and devour. There are usually a lot more fish under 1/2 lb to 1 lb in all waters and they'll be the ones after most prepared baits, punch bait, and dough bait. This is of course dependant upon food supply mostly and health of the fish as fish that have become injured might have to scavenge more ... they are opportunists in some areas more so than others.
Catfishing, Bluecat are my main target fish and you can't catch many blues on prepared baits ... channels are a little different as are flatheads. Channelcat will feed off of prepared baits more so than Bluecat or flathead but there's not nearly as many of them as there are blues so fishing success will be even worse fishing prepared baits or commercial baits as there's gonna be a lot of fiddlers and just a few quality fish that may bite on these ... flathead bite mostly on live bait ... I've seen them caught on worms quite a bit and cut bait at certain times here lately have produced a lot of flathead for me during and just after cold fronts moved through ... don't ask me why cause I haven't a clue, but most of the time you have to use live perch or other live bait to catch flatheads. Don't try goldfish ... I've seen goldfish used for over 5 years and never seen anything caught on them but gar ... now you guys that catch fish on goldfish and catch fish on them don't go getting upset now cause this is just what I've witnessed ... use them if you want to and I'd suggest everyone try things I say that don't work and email me your findings with the type of area you used the things in question. catfishing info,
Here's a posting I asked if I could post by a man that fishes tail waters like I do. He explains stuff better than I do and I never intended to offend anyone or say that I'm a better fisherman than anyone else. If these writings offend anyone that is not the purpose ... this is an info piece to help beginners and experts alike. If you catch plenty of fish and have the bait experience you are happy with then I am not trying to change you or suggest that what I say is better than what you do ... this is just an opinion page written by someone that hasn't used manufactured baits for near 15 years so I don't know how great or not so great the newer ones are. Read this with understanding that I don't use prepared baits any longer and most likely won't try the new ones either ... not because I know they don't work ... because I'm pretty much at ease with what I use now and that's whatever the fish I catch has in it's stomach if I can catch one or two to find out. I don't have to do this in places I'm accustomed to fishin as it's pretty much the same all the time. Just different presentations occasionally work better like shad heads vs. shad fillets or whole live shad. Don't seem like it'd make any difference but it does make a lot of difference on certain days.
Here is an article done in In-Fisherman magazine's Catfish Insider I think is the name ... lc sent me this article.
Catfishing, If you're fishing an area that is a healthy environment for the fish and they have plenty of food you'll not be able to catch them on just any old thing ... you will have to use what they feed upon. This is usually the case in most waters in Oklahoma as I've fished near every body of water here and in every tributary just about ... Deep Fork river being the exception to all these. I've catfishing info, bought near every bait imaginable and caught nothing but little bitty fish on them and some I caught nothing at all on when I was younger ... when I'd fish with worms, grasshoppers, frogs, crawfish, shad, perch, or any other natural bait I'd catch fish ... I've bought a truck load of Bait of different kinds and used them with no success and then find something to use on the bank like bugs or toads and start catching some fish and then be unable to find any more and go back to the prepared baits and not catch anything again except little bitty fish and I'm talkin bout sardine sized fish. Every time a new one came out I'd try it several times and also about every kind of homeade stuff you could think of looking for that miracle cure for catfish. The only thing I've bought out of bait stores that worked for cats is shad guts and that was only in Deep Fork river that I ever caught any decent fish ... as most of you Okies know Deep Fork isn't the most sanitary place in the state ... it runs right through downtown OKC and used to got just about everything in the world dumped into it ... don't know about now ... I'd imagine that since Arcadia Lake's tributary is Deep Fork they may have had to clean up their act ... I don't know but the baitfish was almost non-existant forcing the fish to eat just about anything they could find ... Deep Fork fishermen try to use the same methods they use normally in other rivers or lakes and they'd be skunked on a regular basis. Chicken products can catch you fish and always have been able to but most all the fish will be the smaller variety. I've used chicken gizzards a lot catfish fishing with trotlines and baited every other hook or every third hook and catch a lot of fish on the unbaited hooks ... seemed like when one bit the gizzards the others that are with it or are attracted to the line by the caught fish will hit anything around it ... usually the shiny hooks were the only thing there and they'd bust them just like regular baited hooks as I've came back the next day and pulled several fish in a row off the line and there was only every third hook baited. This confirms my suspicions that these fish are hunters ... and also them feeding on whole shad and have a gut full of shad in water running so fast you'd think it'd kill the fish with all the turbulance of 50,000 cfps coming out of the dam ... ya know if those shad were dead those fish woulda had to gathered them up goin down river at a super fast rate of speed and being able to find a bait in that fast of water is totally amazing to me. They do though and they find them within minutes of you hanging your sinker in the rocks. I also use this to catch more fish knowing that they are hunters they'll track down wounded shad in a hurry ... I will cast out in calm water and reel the baited hook back towards me about 50 yds and this increases my catch ratio a lot as when they swim accross where I'd reeled my bait it'll leave a minimal trail of blood and slime/scent in sort of the same manner a wounded fish will and the cats will track it down if they're feeding. The prepared baits are good for spending hours messin with fish that you can't hook due to their being so small and being opportunists but if you wish to catch quality fish out of a healthy environment you'll most likely need to use what the fish are accustomed to hunting which is most of the time shad, perch, and other small fish. If you have to use prepared baits due to not being able to catch anything you should use chicken products such as blood bait and livers or perhaps nightcrawlers or shad guts and save your money on the rest of the stuff.
Catfishing, Here's a little trick I used to use when I was a kid is take a
pair of hose ... like panty hose and put the liver down in it and tie two knots
in it above the liver or whatever that you'd just dropped down in it ... the
knots should be about 1/4 of an inch apart and cut the hose between the knots
... this will let you drop another bait down inside the stocking and the second
knot will already be there to catch the bait and tie two more knots above the
bait again and cut between the knots again ... you can get about 20 little bait
packets outta one leg and the fiddlers won't be able to rob you of your bait ...
I'd suggest though when/if you catch a decent fish cut it open and see what it's
feeding on ... that will tell you more than anything.
Catfishing, A Lady emailed me the other day asking about locating catfish so I thought I'd write this little piece and give a few bits of info on how I do it here in Oklahoma when I fished the lakes. A lot of people just try anyplace that looks like it'd hold catfish but this really isn't the way to find good to fair catfish action on rod & reel. The main reason is here in Oklahoma we have more blues and if ya haven't illegally baited holes then they're most likely not gonna hold in one particular spot ... I like trying around crappie structure looking around it with a trolling motor ... just cruising through with an outboard motor I never see anything but a few once in a while as the fish usually skeedaddle and move from the path of the boat ... the motor and prop noise is very loud .... the fish are used to the sound of boat motors but will still get out of the way when they hear one coming straight at them and will usually not be underneath the boat unless they're really deep. Using a trolling motor and current you can go right over large schools of blues without making them bolt. They usually don't pack close together like whales or dolphins but they will be in close proximity. They are aggressive and will attack one of their own if it gets injured or hooked if it's small enough .... this doesn't happen much but I have hooked smaller fish on rod & reel and other cats will bite the hooked fish excited by the thrashing or some kinda sound they're giving off ..... perhaps it's the barking noise they make that excites the others or just the electrical impulses of the hooked fish. I'd like to find out if this is the case as duplication of this noise might attract other blues to the area. Might be illegal here though but would be interesting to be able to figure that out.
Catfishing, Structure is always a good place to start and structure can be anything from abrupt to subtle as blues kind of use structure as a holding area like a place that is darker or darkest during the day in that particular area. It doesn't seem like they really like being in direct sunlight during the day as I've caught most of my daytime blues on the shaded side of the pilons. Water temp plays an important part of where fish will be also ..... if it's cold the fish can be deep ..... if the water is very hot during mid summer they'll be suspended as the oxygen level will be very low towards the bottom so in mid summer a lot of times the fish won't be able to stay in shadows. I catch a lot of fish during the summer in the daytime knowing that the fish are up and even on top looking for a good source of oxygenated water so that they can breath and feed in a little better comfort. Streams or water trickling in from a natural spring will hold quite a few fish during the summer months.
IMPORTANT FACT! IF THE FIDDLERS ARE BITING AND STRIPPING YOUR BAIT WHERE YOU'RE FISHING...THERE ARE NO QUALITY SIZED FISH THERE! I can't stress that enough ... When you're fishing and catching larger fish you should be able to notice that those little rod peckers aren't messin with your poles. This is due to size difference mainly ... larger fish will scare off and even drive off smaller fish just by being in the area ... the little ones prolly get gone just out of fear of being eaten like some kind of natural instinct maybe or perhaps the larger ones do actually try to feed on their smaller kindred. I've seen people catch a lot of fish on fingerling blues and channels ... I won't use them as I'm not certain of the legality of it and they don't bite on them very good it seems like but when one is caught on a fingerling channel or blue as bait it's usually a pretty big fish. Catfishing, I've also seen near dead blues about 8 to 10 lbs totally skinned alive by other blues ... I say this because of the more rounded mouth prints on the fish's body ... flathead bite would have been a more straight across imprint. This info will help you not sit there and mess with fiddlers all day. If you're fishing from the bank and fiddlers are messing with you and you are just camping there watch when you start getting good fish on .... the smaller fish won't be biting any more or will at least quit until the larger fish move on through. If you're in a boat these smaller fish are good indicators because if they're there and biting there are no big ones in the area. Depth locator/fish finders are a handy tool in locating good quantities of fish but if you don't have one use the fiddler/small fish as info as well ... move to another spot if there's nothing but smaller fish there and stripping bait off your hooks. If you're camped in an area and just fishing to kill time watch for the fiddlers to stop biting ..... if they do that usually means larger fish have moved into the area and if you're not catching any you'll need to use a different bait ... most likely there's fish in the area hunting for food and probably the best thing to use is live perch ..... smaller ones work well on blues or use live shad or take and cut the head off a live shad or slit it's body cavity open and hook it through the eyes and cast it out .... WAY OUT! and then reel it back slowly letting it rest in the area you want to fish ... if there's current you won't need to do that if the water is moving really good. Doing that though imitates a wounded baitfish to a certain degree and will produce a lot of good fish.