If you've ever listened to animal rights activists, you'd think anglers (and hunters, naturally) were the most blood-thirsty monsters the planet has ever seen, people who live to see animals cringe in pain. If you're one of those "blood-thirsty monsters" who looks in awe at every animal you tag or every fish you net for the life God created that you were successful enough to nab, you know nothing could be further from the truth. True outdoorsmen have an appreciation for the wild animals they pursue.
Recently a senior member had a question about some catfish paste bait he found in a local retail store, wondering if it was worth it. He provided a photo and a link to the product on another retailer's website so the Forum members could check it out. As the thread proves, anglers prefer to use more natural methods to catch fish, as well as methods that minimize the danger to fish that don't end up in the boat, and, of course, minimize the hassle of pulling the hook out.
LSUEngineer asked: I was in the Wal-Mart fishing department today. I noticed a couple of different types of catfish paste bait. One was called "Catfish Dynamite," and I don't recall the names of the others. Separately, they sold plastic bait holders with hooks in them. Apparently, you squirt this gunk into them and it diffuses out in the water. Anyone tried this before? I'm new to catfishing, so pardon my ignorance if this is old stuff. This is the stuff I saw-the bait holder is called a "huckleberry."
firelitemarine answered simply: Just put some stinky cheese on the hook, or a hotdog. For the big suckers, put a smaller fish on a big treble hook.
pecvillian had a different solution: Flatheads definitely love live bait. Crayfish and large minnows seem to work the best for me.
Nightfisher was against the idea of paste bait: In my experience, the prepared baits are not worth a crap. People who do well with them are usually fishing a pay pond that has so many catfish in it they will eat anything thrown at them. The BEST baits are always what the fish would naturally eat in the wild. This would be things that fall into the water like insects, worms and some fruits. (Yes, believe it or not, catfish will bite on some fruits.) Even better are things like minnows or shad, either dead or alive, cut up fish or crayfish or clams. Small pieces of bait about the size of a nickel work fine for eating-size catfish. If you want to catch a trophy for a photo op, try live bluegill, big chunks of shad or live or cut eel. I think that about covers the basics except for one thing: please opt for a J hook or circle hook instead of the treble hooks. Catfish often will run your line around stuff on the bottom and cause you to break the line. If this happens with a treble hook in its mouth, the hook can actually pin the fish's mouth closed and cause it a slow death from starvation. Besides, trebles are a pain to unhook without getting a hook in a finger.
deputy154 agreed: Nightfisher really knows his stuff. I am a rank beginner at this catfishing thing (long time saltwater guy), but circle hooks are definitely the way to go! The fish practically hook themselves, and if you plan to release the fish, nothing is easier on the fish than a circle hook in the corner of its mouth.
Nightfisher said: I'm getting reports of some really good fish being caught lately. Heard of three over 70 pounds being landed the past couple of weeks. Fall through spring is one of the best times to target big blue cats, but I hate being cold, so I don't fish if the temps are under about 50 or so.
ButchV12 piped up: In Texas lakes and reservoirs, it's hard to beat Sure Shot or Danny Kings with a number 4 treble hook. You can usually catch your daily limit if there are fish in the area. Live bait is a much better choice for the bigger ones, though, or fresh shad.
Katfisher said: The bait I've had the success with is shad, caught with a cast net from the lake I fish (cut or whole depending on the time of year), shrimp, crawdads, goldfish, goldeneye (a pesky baitfish that's got teeth they decided to put in some lakes in Kansas). Sometimes those tricky little fish like to swim around with the bait in their mouth, and I've had more success hooking them with a circle hook than a regular style hook.
Skallywag offered a tip: Here's a little trick for you guys (where the law allows it). Mix plain oatmeal with the appropriate ProCure scent and mold into small balls. Toss in the drink and wait. This is especially great if you use lights, as the flat oatmeal catches the light and you get better reflection-especially if using the new UV stuff.
To read this thread in its entirety, please visit the forum page at www.pdbmagazine.com and search for the "Catfish Paste Bait" thread.