Catfishing MethodsThere's Newer and more up-to-date info at www.catfishing.tv Just click on the Catfishing Tips link.
Balloon Drifting Rig
A Little Bird Told Me!
Float Rig, April 2005
Summertime Bluecat Fishin
Tiny's Fish Fixins Recipes
Cutting Shad Fillets
Cutting shad heads
Surf Casting Rods
Surf Casting Reels
Hook Sharpening Information
Balloon Fishing Rig
Distance Casting Rig
Cork and Jig Rig
Tiny's Sinker Sacrificer
Catfish Fishing Tips
Snake Identification Page
Great Knot tieing Page www.marinews.com
Reel Cleaning & Lubrication
Keystone area maps
Competition Casting Rods, Reels, & Info
Surf Fishing & Competition Casting Links
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 dorsil 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 enherently 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 predomanently 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.
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.
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 oppinion 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.
Tue Nov 23 13:06:17 1999
I went over to Kaw dam yesterday and fished off the walk way thats on the east side of the river and a man fishing next to me
was catching 2 to my one he was useing stink bait and I was useing perch .
He was catching blues and channels I was catching blues and flatheads .
He cought 15 fish and I cought 9 but my smallest one out weighted his bigest one he keep all 15 of the fish he cought and I keep 4 of the fish I cought he ended up with around 10 lbs of fish I took around 60 lbs home .All in all we had one hell of a good time fishing.
I think this is what Tiny was trying to say to you ALL yes you can catch fish on man made baits but most of the time you will catch biger fish useing the baits that mother nat. put here for the fish to eat . Im not posting this to try and piss off any one I catch nice fish useing fresh cut and live bait and myself like Tiny have spent money on stink baits but over time we have learned it's all about what kind and size of fish you want to catch I still catch some small ones on fresh and live baits and I know that the info that Tiny has given will help the ones that don't know what to use and they want to catch some big cats . All in all it's what ever you can use and be happy with .
I don't think Tiny or me are trying to tell some of the old timers how to fish isn't this board out to help new fisher people to catch fish and keep this great sport alive .
What do you think some of the younger people think about all this bad mouthing going on here me myself I would like to tell and show the young people we are sports men and it's something they will enjoy doing for a life time . And again I will say Im not getting on this board to piss any one off so if you want to make smart remarks about what I post they will go unanswered by me .Happy fishing to ALL
Great Post Deano and thanks for letting me use it.
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 catfishin 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.
Here is an article done in In-Fisherman magazine's Catfish Insider I think is the name ... lc sent me this article. Bait Company Article
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 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 fishin 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.
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.
Note added Aug 24, 2005
george brought some danny king punch bait into my boat the other night so my panties is still in a wad over that ... I told him when we was leavin that if he wanted to catch even more hell to bring some wd40 to squirt on his bait and some ivory soap to fish with next time ... at least it'll smell better. ole george was puttin that punch bait on with his hands too so the bait tank ended up stinkin like danny king punch bait ... he wouldn't give up on it neaner ... even when we caught like 100+ lbs of fish and he caught two dinks about 7 to 8 inches long on the punch bait ... he nursed that stuff all night long hahaha. as for the ivory soap taste I've tasted it in the shower and it gives ya a burning sensation in your mouth and about as noxious as wd40 in your mouth ... or even worse. ivory soap is organic though and a fish will eat it most likely but nothing takes the place of or works nearly as well as fresh cut and live bait that the fish are accustomed to eating. people I think look at this bait thing as a way to enhance their fishing when they can't catch fish on natural baits either ... if you're using natural baits like fresh cut shad or fresh cut bluegill, carp, buffalo or anything the catfish have available to them naturally and you're not catching fish it's not because of the bait and that I think is where people go wrong ... they think the fish are there so maybe they're wanting something else and they'll sit in that spot for hours on end trying this and that and when they've given up on conventional bait they'll switch to whatever wive's tale or perhaps be using it all along and this is a form of desperation in a way to try anything or everything they've heard of to try to catch fish where there aren't any. if you're fishing with fresh cut bait and you're not catching anything then there's probably not any fish there or you're fishing on bottom when the fish are staying suspended or any number of things such as you're just not in the right spot, the fish may be holding tight to structure or staying out of the current or in the current ... my suggestion to people is to not try to catch fish that aren't there ... the easiest way to fish is to sit in one spot all night and just put all your hopes into the fish will be there and that's hardly ever the case ... you have to find them and they'll be located in a different area just about every time you go fishing for one reason or another. dogyeller has seen this when fishing with me as we'll fish one spot and catch a lot of fish there and then they just shut off and we'll move to try to predict their movement rather than sitting in that same spot and throwing ivory soap at them ... conditions change instantly or the fish are migrating together due to food sources or paths that that fish take or whatever ... I'm not sure if dogyeller remembers the first time he fished with me but I had already established a pretty good pattern for the fish the few nights before he went with me and the fish were in a migratory movement every evening ... when we first anchored in the one spot I caught several fish and I was in the back of the boat and then he started catching them and they stopped biting for me in the back of the boat ... when they eventually stopped biting for him after he'd landed about 10 or 15 there was a laps in action for about 30 minutes so we moved ... I knew they'd either go east down the edge of the structure or go northwest to the other edge along a weed line ... we moved east first and only caught maybe two and it was very slow there so we then moved to the west side where we picked up several more ... if we'd have kept fishing we'd have had to move on north up the western edge to stay up with the fish ... we ended up with something like 29 fish on the stringers and we'd thrown maybe 5 or 6 back for about 4 or 5 hours of fishing ... there are other times we fished areas that if they were any shallower we'd have been fishing dry land and catching fish in 8 inches to a foot deep when we couldn't get a bite hardly anywhere else ... we didn't alter our bait thinking that it was the bait's fault .. we moved to see if we could establish where the fish were holding and this is how I fish ... I cover a lot of water sometimes to try to establish a pattern and I'm not really all that happy unless I am catching a fish about every 5 to 15 minutes ... if I'm not I'll try to see what the fish are doing or where they are and I don't ever question the bait or think I'm not using the right bait. My point is mainly that if you're not catching fish and you're using what the fish eat naturally and it's cut from live shad or whatever then you need to try to figure out where they are and not what they're biting on cause they're always biting on natural baits ... the only thing that prevents them from biting natural baits are good strong cold fronts and other things like that and sometimes that's just a matter of changing patterns or locations ... suspende vs. bottom fishing sometimes and this is things that have to be figured out everytime a person goes fishing and not a bait issue. I view using alternative baits as something that is of very little value and even kinda foolish when location and fish habbits are the most important part of fishing. getting to know the area you're fishing and watching for signs of activity are very important ... going out to a creek/river bank and just sitting on bank is a great way to fish as I've done that a lot but don't ever question whether or not you're using the right bait when you got a shad head on your line or cut bluegill or something of this nature cause if there's fish feeding in the area they'll hit it and be sure to change your bait every 30 minutes or so and this will maximize your success at bank fishing. this is very important in the summer also cause the hot water cooks the bait pretty fast and the fresher the bait is the better off you are.
I've seen people a lot of times ... well most of the time
they'll come up to a camping area and not focus on anything other than just
water ... they'll walk down from where they're camping ... set up a lawn chair
and start fishing for a two day excursion which is fine to do and I've done it
but these same people think since they're not catching anything it's not because
of the location or the fish's habits or anything ... they think it's their bait
... the fish just ain't biting and they'll say that ... fish weren't biting at
all this weekend and that is hardly ever the case ... there may be a few fish in
this area once in a while but public fishing/camping areas get more pressure on
them than anyplace and any fish that happens through there will get caught and
there usually isn't very many fish that'd ever come to the area anyhow. mostly
all you see in areas like this is little dinks hitting your line and you never
catch them because they're too small to get the hook in their mouths and no
magic potion or anything at all is going to help a situation like that. Throwing
all different kinds of bait at them isn't going to help either ... that'd make
about as much sense as a bass fisherman going out and anchoring in the middle of
a lake and then tieing on different lures all day in a deadzone where there is
absolutely no fish and then going home and telling someone that the fish weren't
biting and I tried everything ... they may have tried every bait in the box but
they weren't where the fish were and this is about the same deal that
catfishermen actually do ... you absolutely have to go to the fish because there
isn't very many times that the fish will come to you or circumstances where they
will. I've just drawn a diagram of the area I'm fishing lately and I'll explain
some things below the picture.
the arrow marks the current direction the line from A to C is a shelf that roughly shows where the water goes from 1.5 ft deep to 3 ft deep ... the 3 ft deep side is where A is. B and C is roughly about 1.5 ft but it's not sharp ... like instantly going from 1.5 to 3 ft deep ... that's about 50 yds in transition from A to B ... the heavier current runs from B to A and about where C is there's a little current there but it's not nearly as fast as B and A ... the shore line to the right of A is deeper water.
Right now I'll start out at A for just a little while because if they're in the heavy current they'll hit instantly ... when I'm fishing from the boat I also cover about a 50 to 60 yd radius in all directions to maximize coverage of the water. if I don't get a hit pretty fast at A I'll move up between B and C and fish in the heavier current and try to reach the slower current where C is this has been where I've caught most of the fish the last few weeks and then back down along the island just south of A. The deeper water hasn't been producing very well and in a few days Island B will be under water due to the rains we've been getting and the fish will most likely move up on that high spot and just south of it.
when they have the dam open and generating electricity the current is pretty strong from B to A but when they shut it down it slows way down and that causes the fish to move out ... once they quit biting we don't think there's something wrong with the bait ... we make an educated guess as to which direction they move and we move with them ... we don't strap on some ivory soap or danny king punch bait thinking the shad ran it's course or is no longer any good. we continually search for the fish until they're located and sometimes they move north of C when the water is shut down or sometimes they move up river ... both places are too shallow to run a boat in so the next move we make is south of A or back to A. moving accomplishes a few things also ... it allows you to freshen the bait on all the rods and it also gives you experience as to the fish's habits in certain situations or environmental changes ... staying in one spot and throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them will fail time after time with only once or twice catching anything to speak of ... like george insisting that danny king's punch bait was the shiznit cause he caught a few nice fish on it ... we caught fish all night long while he nursed that danny king punch bait all night stinkin up the boat and not catching anything on it but two little dinks ... a person might catch a nice fish or two on stuff like that over the years but it ultimately costs you the price of the bait plus the time wasted not catching any fish when you could be focusing more on how they're reacting to the environment around them.
There are like three main types of spot fishing I do and focusing in mostly on places that draw fish into them. I look for areas that draw fish into them because this is the place they'll usually hang out at most of the time. Structure type areas I don't focus on too much at keystone lake other than drop-offs and humps, that sort of thing. If the draw area is too vast I'll start out at where I think they'll come into the area which would be a path type area. Path, Draw and Structure. Food sources are the main thing that draw fish into an area. Areas where the bluecat can catch shad easily. Multiple sources of food are what I'm normally looking for when locating the fish. Birds sometimes help me out but not too often. when you see the Turns working an area hard for several hours that means there is some feeding going on and catfish are probably kickin some butt under the birds. Most of the time I'm looking for an area with a good source of forage fish and other things that'll draw a catfish into the area like vegetation and what not. I'm getting a sense of de ja vu after I typed that last sentence so this may be a reproduction of one of my other tips section articles. Anyhow, That's all I have to say about that.
Anyhow, catching fish requires you to be where the fish are. If you're not catching fish it's most likely because they're not there and no ungodly spectrum of prepared bait is going to change that. Spend your time locating the fish and not locating some new fangled sure fire concoction of bait because the best bait is already at your fishing hole. You just have to spend the time it takes to catch it and keep it alive. Once that's accomplished all there is left to do is locate the fish ... If you're fishing with fresh cut shad and not catching fish in under an hour then you're not in the right spot.
The main problem with changing to alternative baits is that the learning process is nullified to a certain extent. Here's a for instance, You're fishing with cut bait and prepared baits in one spot and you wait for hours and usually you've let the cut bait sit on the rod for several hours with the prepared baits getting hit by every fiddler in the neighborhood. It's a constant process of replacing the prepared baits and then finally after hours of catching nothing you finally catch one on the prepared baits that's a keeper. The rod with the cut bait on it has probably been reeled in a few times and the bait was still on it and thrown back out and the bait wasn't changed. Then eventually you catch another on the prepared baits and perhaps check the cut bait pole a few hours later then throw it right back out. The problem with that is that the cut bait probably lost it's effectiveness about an hour after it was thrown out or even 15 minutes if it was the hot part of the summer and now that bait has been on that rod for 8 to 10 hours or even more or perhaps changed once or twice all night. The score is now probably 3 on prepared baits and 0 on cut so now we assume the prepared baits are the key to the success of this night's fishing. I'm going to make a point, directly, but it's taking me a while to figure out how to explain it because it's kind of hard to explain since you're now thinking that the prepared baits saved the day when it actually dumbed down the learning process by taking the learning process completely away from you. You see, using alternative baits give you another variable into the equation of the feeding habits of the fish and also take your attention away from using real baits since you're fighting fiddlers all night and replacing the bait while you're letting the cut bait pole sit forever. This doesn't give you any insight as to the habits of the fish at all because you've thrown in several problems in your fishing technique when you using something that's gonna attract so many non-target fish keeping your mind off the cut bait rods when your focus should have been on the cut bait/live bait rods in the first place as that is what the fish you're after are wanting anyhow. The fiddlers want your prepared baits more so than the quality sized fish do as they've graduated to adult food, you might say. Fiddlers have to make a living just like the bigger fish do and their feeding habits are "eat anything that they can nip a little off of" They have to do this because they're too small to catch and eat live bait. They're seeking out the chicken livers, nightcrawlers and prepared baits. It gets worse too cause the more you use them in one spot the more it'll attract, just like flies to a rotting carcass. Then all of a sudden they shut off and nothing happens for hours and gradually start to come back and start pestering your prepared baits all over again. What happened was maybe a quality fish or two ventured into the area and when larger fish come into an area the small ones will leave. They'll hide out cause they're on the menu of the larger fish. Once the larger fish leave then the smaller ones will return to the food source they can consume which is prepared baits and the like. If you'd have noticed this halt in the fiddler action you could have put on some fresh cut bait and probably caught several larger fish.
Taking the prepared baits and alternative baits out of the equation does several things. It allows you to focus on what's important and not on replacing the prepared baits all night long. It allows you to focus more on fish habitat/structure/current/location and other scenarios that you normally wouldn't be focused on if you're sitting there messing with fiddlers all night. It allows the thought process to kick in because you know you're using what the fish make a living on and that's natural forage fish that they eat every day to survive. They have no problems with eating a fresh piece of cut bait at any time, anywhere, anyhow. But, the fish absolutely have to be there else you're not going to catch anything anyway. If you're keeping the bait fresh by changing it every 20 to 30 minutes and you're focusing on structure, contour or current eddies or something of this nature then you're now focusing on what you should have been focusing on all along instead of just assuming the fish are always there and you just have to find what they're wanting and usually this fishing spot is just some camping area or maybe a deeper hole in a river channel or something where a person is just casting out over and over into the same spot instead of looking for an area that the fish may be attracted to. This also helps people get over the "wives tale baits" weird concoctions, WD40, Ivory Soap or any number of magic potions and rituals you may have heard about and lets you get out of the desperation mode when fishing and allows you to start catching decent fish and decent numbers of fish by focusing on the environment instead of some fabled magic wand that never seems to work very good but does do one thing in that it takes your attention away from what's important and that's the environment, habitat and weather conditions. Prepared baits or alternative baits are a distraction in other words. Kind of like someone sitting there rattling a bunch of cans on a string while you're trying to figure out a complicated mathematical equation. Once you kick that knothead's butt and take his cans from him you are then left with the ability to concentrate on the problem at hand.
I've been accused of being closed minded and statements like using alternative baits is diversifying and neither is correct in my opinion. I feel like diversification or being diversified is using different kinds of natural cut bait. I also think that the larger a fish gets his feeding preferences changes somewhat too. As they get larger it seems like they develop a taste for larger baitfish such as skipjack, small carp and buffalo. Most of the larger fish I've caught the last couple of years have been on cut buffalo or carp. We don't have many skipjack in Keystone. Cut bluegill has also worked pretty well on larger fish too. It's not really the size of the bait either cause when I use cut carp or cut buffalo the strip I use is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch wide and about 2 inches long. They may however develop the taste for these due to the size though. I'm not sure what it is. As far as the prepared baits and stuff goes I'm not actually closed minded about them, I just don't need the distraction or the stink.
Once you've figured things out then you can start trying different scenarios where other baits like nightcrawlers/worms will work really well. I can tell you some of those here on this article. Also native worms work better than nightcrawlers if you're not located where nightcrawlers are naturally available like they are in the northern states and canada. Worms that you dig out of your own worm bed or garden will be about 75 to 80% better than nightcrawlers for catching catfish. It seems like it'd be the same but it's not. The areas and times that worms work best for catfishing is just after a rain when there's a fresh influx of worms, bugs and vegetation into the rivers making the water muddy. When it rains worms will come to the surface and as a result are swept into the creeks and rivers and the fish start feeding heavily on worms. Nightcrawlers work in this situation so if you don't want to dig worms it's perfectly okay to use nightcrawlers ... I'm just saying that regular native earthworms will probably work a lot better ... they always have for me. Flooded fields of grass or low lying hay or wheat fields that get flooded are really good places to use worms and you can sight fish these areas too ... watching for a swirl where a fish moved you can cast a worm right on the spot you see the fish swirl and more times than not the fish will pick it up almost instantly. It's really fun to fish like that when you can find a field flooded in such a manner. I used to do that over on cottonwood creek when the water would be about 2 ft deep across a field that the Oklahoma Dept of Wildlife planted feed grain for the ducks and other wildlife. When it'd get a foot or two of water on it I'd take my surf rods out and watch for fish and cast beyond where I seen one and then reel the floated rig back to where the swirl was and usually it'd hit just as soon as I'd stop the float or just a minute or so later. So if you have an area like this around you you might check that out. Worms also work well under a float fishing the rocks during prespawn when the water is murky/muddy. In clear water fishing like this you should use a different bait such as shad fillets or maybe even fresh shrimp. I quit using shrimp when I was a kid but others have said it works well fishing like that. The reason I don't use worms in clear water is because the bluegill and green sunfish will drive you crazy.
Insert Sep 16, 2005
if you're not catching catfish on shad then you're in the wrong spot ... you can't assume that the big cats are just anywhere you are ... they have preferences as to habitat and you'll probably need to figure out where they are instead of what they're biting on cause shad is probably the best bait there is for catfish. I wrote an article about this very thing a few weeks ago and it's on my tips section but it's down the page quite a ways on the prepared baits link ... the thing a lot of people do is go to a spot and automatically assume the fish are there and they just got to find out what they're biting on and if you're using fresh shad then you already have the bait they're biting on cause if there is a feeding fish anywhere in the area he'll pick the shad up ... use the shad heads instead of whole shad at night ... in clear water which I'm assuming the water is very clear where you're talking about you can use whole live shad during the day but I'd still have a rod or two set out with cut bait and I'd suspend the bait under a float too. if you're fishing deep they may not be able to be down deep due to oxygen depletion. fish tributaries that are coming into the lake and off points like where the tributaries come in there will be two points as a result of the tribs where the bank takes a hard angle from the main shape of the lake ... if you know where the humps are fish all over the humps ... shad and other forage fish like to hang out around these types of structure and that also draws catfish into those areas due to something to associate with other than just a flat bottom ... I think it gives them a sense of security. think of it like a prom dance where the kids are just entering puberty and no one is out on the dance floor ... they're all huddled around their friends in the corners and very reluctant to step out into the middle of the dance floor where everyone can see them with nothing obstructing their view so if a person was wanting to hook one of them kids they'd have to throw their line around the corners where the kids are huddled up instead of out in the middle of the dance floor.
© 1996 - 2005 Catfishin.net Library of Congress Reg # TXu-081-745 - All Rights Reserved