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First time Catfishing

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Hey guys, This Saturday I am going catfishing for the first time with a buddy. I am beyond excited to get out on the water again. Catfish is on my fishing bucket list. After doing some research about basic rigs and bait I'm sort of confused. I bought a catfish specific rod and some circle hooks and catfish dough baits. We are going out in the Potomac River. Anyone have some tips for a good start? 

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Ditch the dough bait, especially if you're fishing circle hooks. I honestly wouldn't suggest circle hooks for your first time out but if you want to use them, just remember not to set the hook or you'll miss every bite you get. I'm not familiar with the Potomac other than I know it has some big blues in it and channels. I'd suggest some kahle hooks and fresh cut bait if you can get some. With it still being the winter months, you'll probably be best off targeting the up current side of deeper holes where fish are congregating. Just a simple slip sinker rig with enough weight to hold your bait down in the current. 

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I   visit  river banks  , back waters ... and try to find some dead shad .Just throw them in a bucket . Large shad you can cut the sides off , small shad use them whole . There is always a winter-time shad kill and thats what the catfish are feeding on . Dough bait is more of a warm water option .

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I've caught catfish on everything in the world except dough bait

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Use cut up hot dogs in 1 to 1.5 inch sections or squid of the same size for your circle hook.

 

Bring needle nose pliers to remove the hooks.

 

You can use an egg sinker of 1/2 to 1 ounce or a catfish sinker slide.

https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/team-catfish-sinker-slides

 

Have fun!

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Cut bait (shad or bluegill) works well.

 

For Channel Cats in my area I like a ball of worms on a hook. I thread three of them on one hook cast them out on a slip sinker rig.

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12 minutes ago, NYWayfarer said:

Cut bait (shad or bluegill) works well.

Just make sure your state allows you to use certain fish as bait.

 

In MN it's illegal to use any gamefish as bait...and bluegills (all sunnies) and perch are considered gamefish under state regs. We also can't use salamanders.

 

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17 minutes ago, MN Fisher said:

Just make sure your state allows you to use certain fish as bait.

 

In MN it's illegal to use any gamefish as bait...and bluegills (all sunnies) and perch are considered gamefish under state regs. We also can't use salamanders.

 

Sound advice. Thanks.

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3 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

I've caught catfish on everything in the world except dough bait

An uncle and grandpa use to make their own and they let me help. It was good stuff . The ingredients I remember are cheese , Blue Barrel soap , canned dog food and corn syrup . Dont remember the rest . They use to sell it around town . 

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1 hour ago, MN Fisher said:

Just make sure your state allows you to use certain fish as bait.

 

In MN it's illegal to use any gamefish as bait...and bluegills (all sunnies) and perch are considered gamefish under state regs. We also can't use salamanders.

 

The more laws you quote from MN, the more I think it may become part of California! I guess y'all do have the wrestling governor thing in common. Maybe I should stay on my toes, my county mayor is a former professional wrestler . Next thing you know catfishing will be outlawed!!!

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11 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

The more laws you quote from MN, the more I think it may become part of California! I guess y'all do have the wrestling governor thing in common. Maybe I should stay on my toes, my county mayor is a former professional wrestler . Next thing you know catfishing will be outlawed!!!

Those regs were in place LONG before Jesse was Gov.

 

I think some of them are good ones...Bass are just large Sunfish (yes, they're the same family) and Yellow Perch are members of the Walleye/Sauger family after all. They're all gamefish far as I'm concerned. Plenty of minnow species out there to use without cutting into the gamefish.

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33 minutes ago, MN Fisher said:

Those regs were in place LONG before Jesse was Gov.

 

I think some of them are good ones...Bass are just large Sunfish (yes, they're the same family) and Yellow Perch are members of the Walleye/Sauger family after all. They're all gamefish far as I'm concerned. Plenty of minnow species out there to use without cutting into the gamefish.

In Tennessee you can use game fish as bait. I mean, a human can eat them, why not a catfish? Usually minnows are way more of a threat to introducing exotics than bluegill

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52 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

Usually minnows are way more of a threat to introducing exotics than bluegill

Which is why here you have to dispose of unused minnows in the trash instead of dumping them in the lake - even if you caught them in THAT lake.

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3 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

In Tennessee you can use game fish as bait. 

It's the same way in Kansas, they just have to be legal keeping sized and count towards your daily limit. An 8" bass makes great cut bait for channel cats and we have lots of lakes with slot limits that allow keeping fish under 13" because of overpopulation. Kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

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10 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

I've caught catfish on everything in the world except dough bait

I have caught several channel catfish over 10 pounds on bread but have more success with fresh cut bait.

7 hours ago, NYWayfarer said:

Cut bait (shad or bluegill) works well.

Freshly cut bluegill works very well in Florida for catfish and many other species of freshwater fish.

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14 hours ago, MN Fisher said:

Which is why here you have to dispose of unused minnows in the trash instead of dumping them in the lake - even if you caught them in THAT lake.

Yeah we even have that law down south, minus the same lake part.  You never know exactly what species you get from a bait store

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Thanks for all the tips guys. Where are some of the key spots catfish like to hang out? 

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I’ve always had the best luck on chicken livers and bluegill. 

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When I was younger and use to fish cats quite often, I'd buy a slab of beef liver and cut it into strips. Caught a ton of cats with liver. Tried chicken liver a few times. Regular beef is better in my opinion.

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On 3/14/2019 at 4:16 PM, GReb said:

chicken livers

I agree chicken liver is a good bait for catfish.

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Chicken Liver is good, but can be frustrating to keep on the hook.

 

Here on the West Coast, you can by frozen Mackerel at most any bait shop or sporting goods store.  Cut pieces of it stay on the hook well and catch larger than average catfish (at least in my lake).  The smaller catfish are caught with nightcrawlers, hot dogs & dough bait.  I think it has to do with smaller catfish being more of a scavenger while larger catfish are more of a predator.

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Well today was the day. We went out for about 5 hours. The wind was whipping 20+ mph and mid 50 degrees. A bit much in a kayak I will say. But I managed to land 2 blue cats. Both were around 10ish lbs. We tried dough baits, chicken livers, hot dogs, and cut bait. The secret weapon was Royal Farms (gas station) fried chicken tenders. 

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