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MinnesnowtaWild

New Info on Catfish Feeding Habits

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Just an interesting article I found in Field & Stream:

Link - Field and Stream

New Info on Catfish Feeding Habits

Research shows how catfish use smell and taste when feeding

WHAT GOES THROUGH the brain of a feeding catfish is anybody’s guess, but most anglers would agree that Old Whiskers probably uses all the senses at his disposal. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sheds some light on the murky world of catfish feeding. Employing digitized tracking to mark the paths of European catfish and guppies in a dark tank, researchers found that the catfish used smell or taste to determine “prey wakes” left by the guppies. The catfish followed the wakes like beagles on a rabbit trail, never cutting corners, which would have indicated the use of sight. Eventually the cats struck the guppies from behind, allowing for an easier capture as the guppies never knew what hit them (the researchers could determine this by the absence of any predator-avoidance behaviors).

Movement of the bait, or a cast into the flow, followed by a very slow retrieve into slack water, would seem to create a wider wake, the aromatic equivalent—to a catfish, anyway—of a louder dinner bell.

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If you are a mega geek you can read the actual article here:

PNAS - Catfish Study

BTW - PNAS is a super prestigious scientific journal and it is very difficult to get a paper published there.

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Good info. When fishing cats I always think #1: Nose (smell); #2:Ears (vibration / sound); #3: Eyes (sight). In that dark, murky water cats usually find their food by smell or sound /vibration. I always make sure my bait has one or both of those bases covered - it ups your odds significantly.

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It makes me think you guys using the crappie bobbers aren't so crazy after all!

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It makes me think you guys using the crappie bobbers aren't so crazy after all!

It gets expensive if you snag though. I actually was looking through my lake tackle box today and thought about putting a hula popper on. It will definitely give the bait some crazy movements i the current hits it right. Might even make some noise too.

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I might have to give it a go for those slower moving areas with few snags...that way I can lengthen my leader up significantly and clip the bobber on there.

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Anyone ever thought of using some type of lighted bobber? Seems wild to me but maybe it could attract in fish?

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Instead of the rattle floats, I have been using the bass jig rattles from northland. These have 2 rubber legs with a rattle on the ends. They slide onto the hook easily and don't increase tangles at all. grin I have been using them with bullies as well as cut bait. A lively bullie with a couple of rattles bouncing off it's body makes for some good vibs. Like Steve says, it's always good to have another sense covered.

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I might have to give it a go for those slower moving areas with few snags...that way I can lengthen my leader up significantly and clip the bobber on there.

MW I run the same leader with or with out the bobber I dont like to run a leader longer than 12-13 inches because less chances of tangles and snag ups

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Anyone ever thought of using some type of lighted bobber? Seems wild to me but maybe it could attract in fish?

It is illegal to have a light source by your hook i believe. But yes Lights attract plankton, which attract bait fish, which attract other fish, which attract catfish....

Build a fire next to shore it will probably attract bait fish..

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I removed the hooks from a rattling rapala and tied it on between my swivel and hook. Caught a fish on it that night but that doesn't mean it actually worked.

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Originally Posted By: MinnesnowtaWild
I might have to give it a go for those slower moving areas with few snags...that way I can lengthen my leader up significantly and clip the bobber on there.

MW I run the same leader with or with out the bobber I dont like to run a leader longer than 12-13 inches because less chances of tangles and snag ups

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Gordie I don't know why my response went up there but I replied with I usually only use a 8-10" leader and just thought it was maybe too short and the bobber would be too close to the bait and maybe spook the Cats. Have you had luck using the rattle bobbers with a short leader?

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I started pinning my rattle bobber right under the swivel that way it rattles, but also smacks against the sinker every now and then.

[sarcasm]As you can see by all my big fish pictures, it's definitely the way to go. [/end sacrasm]

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It is illegal to have a light source by your hook i believe. But yes Lights attract plankton, which attract bait fish, which attract other fish, which attract catfish....

Build a fire next to shore it will probably attract bait fish..

There has to be some sort of grey area on what is a "light". It's probably spelled out more clear in the reg book. While dropping a 12V waterproof bulb off the side of your boat is illegal, glow jigs are perfectly legal.

Seems to me you could rig your bullhead up with glowsticks like he is going to a rave and still be legit. Not sure if the flats want to go to that party though. Especially considering common knowledge and the study mentioned in the original post indicated that sight wasn't a factor. Plus by the time big momma flat could actually see the lights hooked up to your bullhead it would probably be less than a foot away.

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