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Yeajray231

Channel catfish strategy

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Ok. I'm looking for advice from an experienced cat angler. I usually bass fish. But this weekend me and my brother  (and our girlfriends ) are going to go catfishing in a 4 acre pond. There are catfish in the pond 100% positive. 

I'm wondering what you would use and where you would target. To describe the pond it has a huge oval at the left side that has had the trees cleared out and this is supposedly the deepest spot . To the right there is a small bay and to the right of that kind of tapers off into a narrow corner. But the corner is heavily covered in vegetation. (noticed while I was bass fishing it a week ago. ) I've caught catfish on chicken livers and bluegill. And a mepps #5 spinner (I seen it soaking up the sun last fall) . 

I think it's just channel catfish in there. But the owner says there are cats in there that are well over 3ft so I'm assuming they are flatheads. 

I want to know where you would target, what you would use for bait. The type of pole (and line) youd suggest , and how you would rig your bait. 

Thanks in advance. 

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People always say that there's huge catfish no matter what body of water you are in. I would keep it simple. Cut bluegill on the bottom, and if you can get some little ones, live bluegill under floats. I never mess with livers or stinkbait because it gets all over everything, and catfish wouldn't encounter that in the wild anyways. I would start in the deepest water, if you can find a drop off or shelf, that is usually where pond catfish will hang out during summer. Evening and at night should be your best options. Have fun!

 

When you fish on the bottom, make sure to either use no weight or a carolina rig. Catfish will drop a bait if they feel resistance.

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Im not an expert but I do catfish a lot, with more catching than fishing. With that being said, I have only fished a few ponds for them but I would imagine it would be the same. Definitely fish in the evening through the night. Channel cats dont have big mouths, small cut fish is the best thing I have ever used especially bluegill. Chicken liver is messy and doesnt cast well but is definitely a great catfish bait. Also, dont look past night crawlers(my 2nd fav) and stay away from stink bait! I would also use the lightest weight you can get away with, on the rivers I fish I have to use 6oz of lead to even get the bait to stay in 1 spot. In a pond a simple split shot/egg sinker should work. I like to carolina rig(weight,bead, swivel, leader, hook). As for line, you should be more than fine with 8-12lb in your pond. Just play the fish and enjoy the fight if its a nice one. Personally I use braid any/every time I can 30lb is about the same as 8lb diameter... the advantage is obvious. I use a MH and H casting rod, my plastics and jig rod. Unless youre planing on catching a 60lb+ that should be more than enough rod.

If you feel like there could be giant flatheads in the pond catch a bluegill, you can do the bobber thing but I NEVER have luck like that. Tie on a 3-5 oz weight, slit the top of the fishes tail so its bleeding, and send it to the deepest hole in the pond. It wont be able to swim with the weight on it and it will be in the giants face bleeding and looking all tasty! I caught my pb flathead of 51lbs with the exact method above with the bluegill on 30lb braid on a MH spining rod. 

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Thanks guys. I think I'm gonna opt for the braid as well. I also like using braid almost all the time. I was planning on using a bobber. As it would give something for the girls to watch. @GORDO but now that you mention it. Every cat I've ever caught I didn't use a bobber. I will also opt to use the bluegill. What kind of hook should I use for the crawlers ? I'm assuming a treble with a whole gob of em on it.. 

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For worms the regular eagle claw bait holder hooks are perfect. You will have to sharpen those hooks though. I started using the gamakatsu octopus hooks this year, I think I have the size 2 or 3 and I like those a little more. Just a lot more expensive. For the blue gill, depending on how big it is throw 1 hook under its spine through its back. Just not too far down or you will kill it quick. I only use treble hooks for the livers and watch the pole, last thing you need is a catfish with a treble hook in its guts! If you are gonna use livers I would recommend putting the liver inside a pantyhose(idk if thats how you spell it) and then putting a single hook through that. It will let you cast the hell out of it and stay on the hook. 

Ive literally never caught a catfish on a bobber, is it possible? sure. is it the best set up? IMO no. Clip a little light to the end of her rod and throw it out like the rest of everyones. Have her watch the pole or you can keep an eye on it too. My girlfriend comes fishing with me all the time and im blessed to have someone that loves to fish. Its funny, she outfishes almost all of my friends!

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I have those exact (eagle claw) hooks. I'm just getting into the catfish . I've been on the bass for almost a decade now. And everyone here in ohio seems to be crazy about the cats. Most people where I'm from (Michigan) like the cool water fish like pike , musky , walleye , and salmon. Ive just always liked using artificial, and the bass ' abitiliy to live in even a tiny pond makes them easier to pursue . I don't always have a complete day to take my Jon boat out. Sometimes just a couple hours to run down the road and hit up a pond. Can't beat it . In my opinion 

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I grew up in south east Tennessee on Watts Bar Reservoir. I could hit a golf ball the lake from my living room! Here, no one fishes for catfish! Its the same cool water species you listed lol bassin is just more fun to me. Although camping(or hanging out) on the bank with a cold beer waiting for that rod to bend over is always a great time as well. I have to drive 2 hours to my honey hole on the Snake River to even catch cats here. Luckily I have weekends off and nothing but time! 

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Ha-ha thats dedication ! And yea I'm hoping I don't get rained on so I can go this weekend. Do you think throwing a top water for bass (at the opposite way my lines are set ) will affect my bite ratio with the cats ? Should I just chill and wait 

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3 hours ago, Yeajray231 said:

Ha-ha thats dedication ! And yea I'm hoping I don't get rained on so I can go this weekend. Do you think throwing a top water for bass (at the opposite way my lines are set ) will affect my bite ratio with the cats ? Should I just chill and wait 

I should be completely fine! You could throw whatever for bass and get away with it. There was a pond back in Tennessee that we would fish for bass then cats at night. 

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Tennessee is awesome , I go there every year for the "rod run" and have a blast. 

@GORDO I meant fishing for bass with a popper at night while I have my cat lines out. Would the commotion of me catching bass affect how many bites I get from the cats ? 

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Lots of good information here.One of my favorite ways to catch catfish is to use fresh cutbait on a size 2/0 hook with no weight.Cast this bait in areas where the water gets deep close to the shore and wait for that big catfish to take the bait.

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I usually got to set the hook on cats, I will watch the tip of the rod and a cat will give the tip an aggressive tap tap tap, unlike a run from a carp or a light tap tap from a dace. I have pulled alot of cats and hornpout on canned corn. However if I were to target them I would use a crawler. 

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I really like using chicken liver, but it's such a pain to keep on the hook, I found another way. Get some Friskies Concoctions cat food in Salmon and chicken liver flavor. Comes in a purple can. Mix in some crushed Wheaties, or just the store brand Bran flakes until it makes a paste thick enough not to stick to your fingers. Better use 3 or 4 cans since there will be a few of you.

Bury your hook in a small ball of the paste,rub some on the line just above it for 6 inches or so to disguise the line, and cast it out. Make up some small balls of bait beforehand, and after you cast, throw them all around your bait. Cats and Carp will both eat this bait. I use either a #2 J hook, or a 3/0 Team Catfish Circle hook with the barb pinched down.

I agree with Gordo too. Leave the stinkbaits at home. They have never worked as well for me as fresh cutbaits have.

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@PondHunter how is it you have 200 posts and only 3 likes ? Especially with replies like that ! Did they just start doing the like thing or what 

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15 hours ago, Yeajray231 said:

 

Tennessee is awesome , I go there every year for the "rod run" and have a blast. 

@GORDO I meant fishing for bass with a popper at night while I have my cat lines out. Would the commotion of me catching bass affect how many bites I get from the cats ? 

Im not sure to be honest. Im willing to bet it wouldnt effect the catfish at all. I have bass fished a pond with t-rigged worms while I had lines out and still caught fish. I would say throw the PopR anyways and see what happens! 

14 hours ago, PondHunter said:

I really like using chicken liver, but it's such a pain to keep on the hook, I found another way. Get some Friskies Concoctions cat food in Salmon and chicken liver flavor. Comes in a purple can. Mix in some crushed Wheaties, or just the store brand Bran flakes until it makes a paste thick enough not to stick to your fingers. Better use 3 or 4 cans since there will be a few of you.

Bury your hook in a small ball of the paste,rub some on the line just above it for 6 inches or so to disguise the line, and cast it out. Make up some small balls of bait beforehand, and after you cast, throw them all around your bait. Cats and Carp will both eat this bait. I use either a #2 J hook, or a 3/0 Team Catfish Circle hook with the barb pinched down.

I agree with Gordo too. Leave the stinkbaits at home. They have never worked as well for me as fresh cutbaits have.

I have heard of a remedy almost exactly like this! I bet this would work really well where I catfish on the snake river. I fish beside a port where they load grain onto barges, 9/10 fish i catch are full off oats. Im going out there next weekend, ill let you know how this works for me. 

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On 8/25/2016 at 4:55 PM, soflabasser said:

Lots of good information here.One of my favorite ways to catch catfish is to use fresh cutbait on a size 2/0 hook with no weight.Cast this bait in areas where the water gets deep close to the shore and wait for that big catfish to take the bait.

This is the rig I use to catch lots of channel cats with. I move it very slowly, similar to fishing a weightless T rig for bass. In a pond, you can cast one bait out and let it sit while you're working the other in likely areas. I've even done it on the Kansas River to land a flathead and blue over 50 pounds. 

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1 hour ago, Bluebasser86 said:

This is the rig I use to catch lots of channel cats with. I move it very slowly, similar to fishing a weightless T rig for bass. In a pond, you can cast one bait out and let it sit while you're working the other in likely areas. I've even done it on the Kansas River to land a flathead and blue over 50 pounds. 

This way of fishing is extremely effective for picky channel catfish,which is what most big channel catfish are in South Florida.Flathead catfish is on my bucketlist of fish to catch and I plan on making a trip up North to catch these fish.

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Do you think that an established population of channel catfish will hurt the bass population ?(in a 4 acre pond) they've coexisted in the pond for at least a couple decades. But does it hurt the chances of the bass getting to be bigger than average size ?

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7 hours ago, Yeajray231 said:

Do you think that an established population of channel catfish will hurt the bass population ?(in a 4 acre pond) they've coexisted in the pond for at least a couple decades. But does it hurt the chances of the bass getting to be bigger than average size ?

Not at all.  Toledo bend, lake toho,etc. all have established catfish populations, and they don't seem to have hurt the bass there at all.

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One of my favorite small bodies of water has +10 pound bass and +20 pound channel catfish in it,so they can definitely coexist together if there is enough food for them to eat.

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@soflabasser how big is the water ? You're also in Florida. I'm sure the cycles are different in ohio . I can imagine how many times the gills spawn in Florida lol 

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It's a small lake,but it's deep with certain spots over 30 feet in depth .The lake has a healthy population of bluegills of all sizes and other exotic fish that the largemouth bass and channel catfish eat.Yes the bluegills and spotted tilapias are constantly spawning in this lake,so the predator fish have more than enough food to grow fat and happy.

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Right ! So scale that down to 4 acres. Deepest spot about 15 ft. With bass , bluegill and catfish. Also figure I'm up north . I've never caught a bass over 4 lbs out of it. Down the road at a 3 acre pond with no catfish.  I've caught 3 different bass out of it 5 + and one was 23 inches and almost 7lbs. 

The bass I do catch in the 4 acre pond don't really look skinny. I just wondered if it hurt their chances of becoming a real lunker. (up north )

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