What is the best bait to catch catfish on?

So you want to go catch a catfish.  Great, they are a great fish to go after as they live in just about all waters in the U.S.  But what is the best bait to catch them on?  Well, there are as many opinions on this as there are refugees trying to cross the board of the United States illegally.  I have been fishing for over forty years.  here are some of the best baits I know of to catch catfish on.

The first thing that you must address before deciding what type of bait to use; is what type of catfish you are you trying to catch. Because what type of bait you choose, depends on what type of catfish you are fishing for. In the United States, there are three primary types of catfish; Channel cats, Blues cats, and Yellow Cats (also called Appaloosas or Flatheads). Each one prefers a different type of bait.  let take a look at each of the three species and their eating habits.

Channel Cats: Channels are scavenger fish. They are the buzzards of the water. They like really smelly pungent baits. They will eat anything as long as it is it sticks. You can catch channels on a piece of sponge soaked in motor oil, a chunk of Ivory soap, etc. The most common bait is chicken livers, blood baits like Catfish Charlie and stink bait like Danny King Catfish Punch Bait. One of the best baits for them though is shad gizzards. You have probably never heard of these, because they are extremely rare and if you can find them they are $15 a pint. Or if you can throw a net, you can catch your own gizzard shad and harvest your own. But there is no better bait for Channel cats.

 

EXTRACTED SHAD GIZZARDSGIZZARD SHAD

 

 

EXTRACTED SHAD GIZZARDSEXTRACTED SHAD GIZZARDS

 

Blue Cats: Blue cats are also a scavenger fish, but they do not like stinky stuff as much as Channels. They prefer fresh cut bait, especially fresh shad. They also like to bite bait that is suspended off the bottom. One of the best places to catch blue cats is along a rock shower, like a dam. The best way to catch them it float a piece of fresh shad on out about 15 feet from the bank. Tie on a nice crappie Balsa Spring Bobber and with a 4/0 Octopus Hook set down about four feet from the bobber.  Cast it out ten to fifteen feet offshore and let it float along.  You will catch Blues.

 

 

Rocky Lake Shore FishingGood Type of Shore to Catch Blue Cats

Bobber Setup for Blue CatsBobber Setup for Blue Cats

Yellow cats: Unlike Channels and Blues, yellow cats are not a scavenger fish. They are a predatory fish like a largemouth bass. You will never catch one on stinky bait, and only very rarely on fresh cut bait. Yellows like it to be alive and moving. If it is alive and swimming and they can fit it in their mouth, they will eat it. The problem with Yellow cats is that don't eat every day. They might only eat once or twice a week. You can have the best bait for them on earth and they will not bite it. They also bite very differently than most fish. They do not just grab it and take off. They might come in and bite and kill it first and then, just site there for 10 and 15 minutes before picking it up again and eating it. This is why most people miss them. They pull their lines in after the first bite and move the bait from where the Yellow cats.

If you are going to fish for Yellow cats, the rule is, "Go big or go home".   You seldom catch a small one and they are an aggressive fighter.  You need stout rod like the 7-foot Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger.  Match this beautiful rod up with a nice fishing reel like the Penn Squall SQL30LW or the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 7000 C, slap some 40lb mono or 80 braid on it and you are ready to go.  The best setup to us for yellow cats is called the sunken bobber.  In this rig you will need a heavy lead weight (2 or 3 oz) and a three-way swivel.  The idea is to keep live fish suspended about a foot off the bottom and allow it to swim freely.  Refer to the illustration below.

One of the best baits for Yellows is a Pumkinseed Sunfish like this one below.  But you can use any live fish as long as it will stay alive for a very long time. Bullhead catfish are also another great bait, as well as carp.  Fish for yellow cats at night in no more than 10 feet of water on a sandy bottom.

Pumkinseed Sunfish

 

 

sunken bobber setupSunken Bobber Setup

 

 

Once Upon an Island

Once Upon an Island

 

Once Upon An Island is the true story of a young couple who did buy their dream island! David and Jeanne Conover bought Wallace Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands in the 1940’s with a dream of building a summer vacation resort. The book retells their adventures and misadventures, their comic failures and satisfying successes.

 

Other books that may interest you.

Amazon Metallic Green Bee (Ceratina)

Tropical Small Carpenter Bee (Ceratina)

 

When I saw this bee flying around in my Amazon hut, I was immediately fascinated with it.  I ran to get my camera and catch a picture of it before it got away.  I really did not know what it was and if it were poisonous or not.  So, I had to exercise caution to get this picture.  Finally it landed on a cardboard box long enough for me to get this great picture of it.

Like many of the other insects I have taken pictures of in the Amazon, I am not 100% sure this is a Ceratina.  In many ways it looks like one, but there are some aspects of this specimen that are different then other examples I can find of the Small Carpenter Bee.  The legs on this specimen are much larger then others I can find, so this may be a specific sub-variety that is only found in the Amazon.

Most reference material I can find about the Ceratina is about the North American and even the information about them is limited.  They are extremely rare in the part of the Amazon where I lived as this one is the only one I have ever seen in over 20 years.  Regardless, it nothing less then an amazing insect to look at.  If I were to give it a name, I would call it the Amazon Armored Green Bee.   Who knows, maybe that is what it is really called.

 

 

 

 

Purple Prairie Verbena

Purple Prairie Verbena

Texas Butterfly Gaura (Oenothera lindheimeri)


Butterfly Gaura Flower

Texas Butterfly Gaura (Oenothera lindheimeri)

Gaura flowers catch attention as the plant that always looks great in your brown thumb neighbor’s yard. Waving wands dotted with dozens of pinkish flowers didn’t stop blooming in triple digit temperatures or dry weather that turned lawns crisp. Get to know this low-maintenance perennial that may give coneflower a run for its money in the cultivated wildflower popularity contest.

Easy Breezy Sun Lovers

Also known as wandflower, whirling butterflies, and bee blossom, Gaura lindheimeri can range from 15 inches to four feet tall, but most new cultivars are bred to be compact and container friendly.

One of the best features of gaura plants is the long bloom time, much longer than most perennials. The heaviest blooming occurs in late spring, but expect flushes of flowers to recur throughout the summer and into fall in USDA growing zones 5-9. Full sun is necessary for floriferous plants, but some afternoon shade is tolerated, especially in hot climates.

Gaura foliage is lance-shaped and often tinged with pink, cream, or gold, depending on the variety. Wiry flower stems bear many one-inch flowers with four petals each. Flowers are white, pink, or a combination of the two.

Planting Gaura

The long taproot that makes gaura so drought tolerant also makes it difficult to transplant successfully, so choose your planting site carefully. The two most important ingredients for a successful gaura installation are excellent drainage and plenty of sunshine. Gaura plants aren’t the longest-lived perennials anyways, but wet winter soil is a sure way to kill these drought tolerant natives.

Amend the soil with a mix of compost and grit, or better yet, plant in raised beds. Space the plants at least 12 inches apart, and plant in groups of three or five plants for maximum impact.

 

BUY!

This  gorgeous Texas Butterfly Gaura Mug

Texas Butterfly Gaura (Oenothera lindheimeri) Mug

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Texas Yellow Sneezeweed (Helenium amarum)

Yellow Sneezeweed Flower

Yellow Sneezeweed (Helenium amarum)

Helenium amarum is a species of annual herb in the daisy family known by the common names yellowdicks, yellow sneezeweed, fiveleaf sneezeweed, and bitter sneezeweed.

Photo taken in West Central Texas. To Learn more about the Yellow Sneezeweed and other wildflowers of Texas, check out these books.

Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide

Wildflowers of Texas