What's the best Catfish Bait?
The best bait is what they feed on naturally... Shad is the usual preference of the fish where shad are located but people place too much on baits when they should be focusing on the environment the fish are in and locate the fish instead of going out ... sitting in one public fishing hole and throwing every kind of bait they can think of until a fish happens to come through or mess with dinks all day long with those chicken livers. focus more on fish location instead of some kinda magic potion and you'll do a lot better ... fish structure ... current eddies ... humps ... anything to locate the fish cause just sitting in one spot and throwing all kinds of baits at them makes about as much sense as going bass fishing on the dam of a pond and throwing every bait there is at them that you have in your tackle box all day long and never moving and when you throw that last lure you have at them and nothing takes the bait then you pack up and go home and tell the wife ... they weren't biting today. .... when this same guy would normally be working the creek and around stumps and whatever else is in the pond ... wonder why catfishermen don't view catfishing the same way because that's how you have to do catfishing too ... you can't just sit in one spot and expect to catch fish or think the fish are there ... you just need to figure out what they'll bite on ... it ain't like that.
Become more mobile when you're catfishing with rod&reel and that'll help a lot. See something sticking up out of the water, sneak over and throw a fresh shad head by it. If you see a good current eddy then go throw a fresh shad head or two around that ... in the eddy itself, then a few around the point that the current is coming by and one out in the current. You only have to stay in one spot about 30 minutes to find out if the fish are in that area because it doesn't take long if they're there.
After the lake has risen due to flood waters coming into the lake the fish will go up into the freshly flooded vegetation to feed heavily ... this is a great opportunity to really hammer some catfish. Using fresh shad heads and cut Bluegill this week I've taken 3 sets of clients out and they all had a great time fishing the flood waters. The first trip on May 2nd was freshly flooded and I located some fish on a plateau and we caught 20 fish in that one little spot with the biggest being 20 lbs. The second trip they moved out of that area as we'd had two more feet of water come in and we found the fish in a spot that I'd told a friend of mine they'd be in in a few days. We went up there and they were up there by Thursday and they caught 20 fish there. Saturday they were there again but then Monday they pulled off of that spot ... I had the KTUL Channel 8 Good Day Tulsa crew with me and the fish had pulled out of the spot we found the fish Thursday and Saturday and I covered that area a little too long but the fish had moved back to the Plateau we found fish on on the 2nd but by the time we'd found the fish everyone was too tired to continue. We got one good 10 lb'r run and missed that one when the 5 minute countdown came in. I think I've figured out why they pulled out of that spot we were in Thursday and Saturday ... they opened the Tainter Gates on the dam and the Lake level started dropping so the fish pulled back ... that's a natural instinct of the fish to pull back to deeper water when the river or lake crests. I didn't know they'd opened the Trainters on Monday so I'm pretty sure that's why the fish weren't still there. The weather was great and the wind was right so that's about the only thing it could have been .... I guess.
The point of this is to show that you need to be more mobile when you're fishing for catfish ... I've already written this in different places on my Tips Section but I thought I'd go ahead and write a page on just that so that no one will miss it. If you're using fresh cut shad, Bluegill, or Buffalo and you're not catching anything in 30 to 45 minutes then you need to move. If you see some gulls working over an area then get downwind of them and you'll most likely catch catfish. If you see a good current eddy then work that over really good. Locate the fish and don't expect them to locate you and you'll do a lot better.