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Andrew Erickson

best bait for channels?

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Me and my buddy are thinking about going down to a local pond that has channel cats in it.Never really cat fished before so whats the best bait for them.I was thinking along the lines of chicken liver or something like that.Crawlers? Any tips on how to catch these fish would be very helpful since im mainly a muskie guy

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is do best on minnows.. then you never know what is going to pull the bobber down

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Stop down at the sincliar gas station off of old shakopee and pick up the dead sucker they have and some live and cut them into thirds. They should get you some kitties, and just think its right there next to the pond lol

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Also I would bobber fish them like one would for northern or musky

Slip knot + bead + slip bobber + weight ( enough to drop bait down ) + 6/0 or 5/0 gamakatsu octopus hooks + third part fresh cut sucker = nice kitty

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on a lake look for rocks that have a steep drop off ive been able to get 20 kitties a night this way for the past 2 weeks

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it is important to research the channel cats behavior before fishing for them. you will learn that as channel cats grow, they become less like scavengers, and more like carnivores. the bait you should use depends on how big the cats are. once cats reach 10lbs they become active hunters. and will more often then not, turn down baits that just lay there, like liver, bloodbait, and dipbaits. once they reach that size, live bait is the key. make sure it lets out a little bit of scent, and struggles alot. both of those key factors help the channel cats in locating your bait. be sure you check your bait often (i usually check every 15-30 minutes. and everytime something hits it) , if it is dead, or nearly dead, change it.

for BIG channel cats, you cant go wrong with frogs! hook em through the lip, and bring a hind leg up and hook the leg in the calf (the belly should be facing outward) slice the belly a bit.(cut through the skin, so its like a hole looking at the insides.)

the frog will now struggle ALOT, and with a 1/2" cut (any bigger and it will bleed out to fast) in the belly scent will be released faster, and because the frog is struggling, the blood flow will be quicker, making a very nice blood trail.

here is proof that it works. wink i got a 12lber right before i got her. we didnt land a single cat under 8lbs that trip.

channelcat.jpg

next to frogs, one of my rising favorites for big channels, is actual live bait. using shiners, suckers, or chubs. i pinch off the tail (for a littly blood flow) and 1 pectoral and 1 pelvic fin (from the same side) (which causes it to struggle to stay upright)

hook it through the lips or behind the butt (hooking in those areas causes them to live longer)

cut bait is also good for cats, i have never gotten any over 12lbs using cut bait.

now if you want small cats... anything works,

blood bait, dipbait, livers, leeches, worms, etc.

\

if there is a large variation in the size of the cats, or you want numbers, frogs are my favorite (i always bring frogs of various sizes)(crawlers are good for large numbers of small cats)

the smallest channel cats tend to leave frogs alone. any cat that is of a good eating size, will take a small frog. and a large channel cat will willingly take a frog of any size.

its like a delicacy to them

here are 3 nice ones from the sauk on sunday using frogs. i started by using crawlers, and i was catching catfish after catfish using them, but they were all under a pound. when i switched to frogs, the better cats showed up

this one was a female, still full of eggs. which i released

101_0984.jpg

tight lines!

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Jake has some good info, especially the part about keeping your bait fresh. I will say, however, that the two words that can not be applied to channel cats are "always" and "never." They will, when the mood strikes them, eat anything.

My best cat, a 16 pounder, was caught on a chunk of cut sucker. I love using frogs, especially in the fall. A few weeks ago, I caught a nice one on a live bullhead. I know some guys who swear by dip bait in lakes, even for jumbo kitties. They'll hit Rapalas sometimes. Last summer, my cousin and uncle and I caught a dozen eaters on mulberries, of all things. My grandpa used to say that channel cats will eat "anything that floats, sinks, swims or stinks."

Your best bet is to take along a few bait options. I'd take some cut bait, a tub of chicken livers, some crawlers, frogs if you can find them, crawdads if they're legal, minnows or chubs if you have room... Throw the kitchen sink at 'em until you figure out what they want.

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Throw the kitchen sink at 'em until you figure out what they want.

Agreed.

Those Canadian kittys might be the biggest channels anywhere in the world and still love to eat dead bait. They will no doubt adapt to their environment and eat what is necessary to survive.

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Jake has some good info, especially the part about keeping your bait fresh. I will say, however, that the two words that can not be applied to channel cats are "always" and "never." They will, when the mood strikes them, eat anything.

Your best bet is to take along a few bait options. I'd take some cut bait, a tub of chicken livers, some crawlers, frogs if you can find them, crawdads if they're legal, minnows or chubs if you have room... Throw the kitchen sink at 'em until you figure out what they want.

definately. it takes time, and patience, and luck to figure out the channel cats.

always be on the look out for clues where you are fishing.

if you shiners or other baitfish around, minnows would be the first thing i would try.

if there are crawfish in the area, try catching some, put a small chunk of meat (anything will work, real or artificial) on a small (size 6 or lower) hook, and drop it down by a crawfish. when it grabs the hook, lift up quickly. i fished a impoundment full of cats and carp in denver a few years back. and crawfish were the key. everywhere you looked in the water, you would see 5 or more. and the technique i mentioned worked like a charm

with crawfish, try hooking them in a variety of ways. where you hook them has a great effect on how they move, and look in the water. yes channels can be picky with presentation, mainly in clear water.

if you see dead baitfish around, try dead, or cut bait.

if you see frogs jumping, try frogs

a good bait in the summer with all these army worms around, is a few army worms.

there are also alot of other things around that no one would ever try for bait. if you find a dead mammal somewhere, take a chunk of meat (i have best results with skin andd fur on the meat) there will always be animals trying to cross the river, or something and fall in, or get attacked. pike and muskie are known to attach ducks and muskrats. and a little hunk of flesh is bound to be left behind

if you fish a heavily fished area, left overs may often be thrown in the water. put cheese, bologna, hotdogs, or something like that on the hook, and toss it out. i have had great sucess under the dam in lac que parle using food.

if you catch alot of bullhead, try using bullheads.

also weather and the season have great effects on the bait of choice

after a heavy rain, crawlers will be out, and its not uncommon for them to slither into running water and sucked into the river or lake and a feeding frenzy follows. (one reason why i always fish in flowing water after a heavy rain, no matter what the species)

in the fall, frogs will migrate to lakes and other waters.thus frogs are my bait of choice for many species in the fall (cats, eyes, bass, pike, bullhead, bowfin)

you need to be creative, clever, and alert to be a great catfisherman.

catching cats consistantly is no where near as easy as most people think it is

tight lines!

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Rinc-

Whenever you are trying a new location for the first time it is always good to bring a couple of different bait choices along. For me it's always cutbait (fresh or frozen),livebait (bullies or suckers) and crawlers. My preferred choice is fresh cut suckers. The size you use should be relative to the size of fish you are targeting. If the channels are in the 1-5lb range, try using smaller suckers 4-6" cut into 1" chunks or crawlers. Using crawlers will get you some action from more then just channels though since just about anything that swims will gulp a worm. Try a couple of different types of bait at each spot before you move. If they don't want crawlers, they might want cutbait. Huskerben hit it right on the nose: "two words that can not be applied to channel cats are "always" and "never." They will, when the mood strikes them, eat anything." This can not be more true. I have caught little 2-4lb channels on cutbait the size of a pork chop from an 18" sucker. On the same bait in the same location I then caught a 51 Flattie!! The point is that there is no such thing a a sure thing when it comes to fishing. Keep it simple, and keep on trying until you become more confident. The more confident you are the more successful you will be... Good luck and let us know how you do!

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