Channel Catfish

Check out my new site at

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.

Kaw dam
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.

you can use my free swimming rig for channels as well as flatheads and all that is is a bluegill that's been gently scaled on one or both sides and got a hook in it's tail and just let it swim around freely .... this also works on a float of some kind like a balloon ... what that does is allows the fish to home in on the bait and track it down cause scaling the bluegill will mimic a wounded fish and the channels and flats will track it down before they'll try to catch one that's not wounded.... this really increases bites by a lot and works really well in channelcat ponds ... if you're concerned with deep hook sets it's best to switch to circle hooks and learn how to use them ... it takes a while to figure them out and the best way is to either buy wide gap circles and offset them just a little like on my hook bending proceedure for kahle hooks at
this also seems to make circle hooks work a little better but if you buy hooks with a narrow gap you need to spread that gap out quite a bit... if the fish are under a lot of fishing pressure you should also use pretty small hooks like 1/0 or 2/0 circles ... don't worry bout them not being able to catch big fish cause they will if you use the bending/gapping proceedure ... my biggest fish on a 1/0 circle is a 36 lb flathead .... if you're going to use small circle hooks I'd recommend the 1/0 VMC circles ... they're a hybrid type hook that resembles a kahle/circle that are already offset to the side ... they should be available at any major tackle outlet in your area ... here is the url of the hook I'm talkin bout
the one on the upper left is the one I'm talkin bout ... the V7384BN SPORT CIRCLE HOOK
.. for obvious reasons you won't be able to use a 1/0 v7384bn for fishing live bluegill so you'll need to size the appropriate hook size for the bait you're using ... I wouldn't even use a circle on the free swimmin rig cause it won't work very well unless it's a really big hook and channelcat have pretty small mouths ... I like using a 2/0 eagle claw baitholder hook for that rig .... hope this helps