I fish Falls Lake in Raleigh and have been trouble catching bait lately. I usually use cut bream and white bass. I've been thinking about trying some large (bass) minnows from the store. Anyone have much luck fishing for cats with these? December has proven to be a tough test of skill for me. I actually caught my first ever "December" cat today on a chicken liver. But I'm trying to get the bigger cats that I always catch on cut bait.....I just can't catch the bait lately. Any tips/info. would be greatly appreciated.
Fished Kerr Lake this past Sunday. Same problem finding bait. Finally midday netted about 100 small shad about 2-3 inches long at the far end of a cove and caught about 6 cats later that day. Largest was only 7#. Everyone we talked too was having the same problem finding bait. I caught my biggest cat off of a dead bass minnow several years ago. Better than nothing! Worked that time anyway! Good luck!
I don't see why cut minnows won't work. Don't know if it is legal in your state or how you are currently trying to catch bait, you might consider a cheap minnow or perch trap. Also don't over look buying good ole worms. Can be a good stand by.
you say freeze them in water.....i have used frozen bluegill in the past with little luck, and that was in warmer weather. but freezing them in water, does that make the difference? Do they keep more of a fresh smell/taste?
I actually had been catching bait on an ultralight setup with either small pieces of nightcrawler or chicken liver but that has not been working lately. Hopefully a cast net will show up under the Christmas tree next week.
I've never seemed to have much luck with the minnow trap at large lakes, but its great in small ponds for baby bream.
Thanks for all the quick responses.
The best bait for Falls Lake and the abundant Channel Cats is cut Shad. Bream, Perch, Minnows....whatever....will always catch a few but Shad will give you the best chance most of the time. The Threadfin Shad will get easier to catch soon cause they will be dying and drifting to the banks if we ever get real Winter weather.
Get that cast net and head to the docks at one of the boat ramps. Upper Barton is great, Hwy 50, Ledgerock..pick one close to where you live. Throw the net off and around the wooden docks. You should always get a few Threadfins and a few bigger Gizzard Shad. If you want Bream.....try a piece of nightcrawler about halfway down one of the docks and make sure your on or near the bottom. Walk up and down and eventually you will find the Bream. That's where they hang out in the Winter. You will probably also catch Crappie on the worms there too, we always do....go figure.
Freezing the bait in water makes them almost as fresh as when you caught them. Fill a zip lock 3/4 full then drop the bait(s) in, squeeze out the air and seal. In March and April the Gizzard Shad will be spawning around the ramps at Upper Barton and after dark you can see them right on the concrete by the hundreds. Good time to load the freezer.:big_smile:
I use the large minnows when I can't find any shad and they have always worked for me. I fish at Jordan mostly and have been fishing cut shad and minnows side by side and on more than one instance the minnows out fished the shad. While blue gills work at Jordan they are not as productive for me as the shad and minnows.