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Had the pleasure of fishing with Dan(Jesus Saves) on my home lake last night, Lake Monroe. It's no secret that there are plenty of fish in the lake, and its 10,000 acres can seem daunting. Half the battle of any fisherman is eliminating unproductive water. The bigger the lake, the longer that can take. It helps to have some knowledge, tools, fresh bait, and where the Cats might be lurking. Full disclosure: I haven't fished for Catfish on Monroe until last night. Next month I'll be at the 2019 Gathering(https://www.catfish1.com/threads/indiana-gathering-2019.237338/) and I needed to at least have some sort of Catting under the belt!

Last night was exploratory; 3 spots tried and 2 produced Channel Cats. No skunks on this trip! We even found the honey-hole for Shad. 1 throw and we had at least 100 fish in the net!! Crazy! It was really easy to see the bait balls on sonar, and, they were so close to the surface we didn't even have to rely on electronics. Just look for the round-rippiling and it was a sure bet. Tom(twaksom) has mentioned this to me in the past, and he was 100% right on. Thanks for the tip!

upload_2019-8-18_12-9-48.jpeg

Dan with some Gizzard Shad. 1 throw!

Most to all of the Shad died by the end of the evening, so they made good cut-bait. I need to learn ways to keep these little dudes alive all night. I know there are some chemical additives, as well as ice that can help keeping the Shad alive.

We used Dan's AWESOME Helix10 for spotting structure, fish, and mapping. It sure is nice to drive around at night with good navigation. But, if you find the bait, you find the fish. We setup shop and got the lines in the water.

Last night was the first time since the Catfish Conference 2019 that I was able to my new Rippin' Lips MH rods/Zebco BigCat XT's. They work great! Good stuff for affordable prices. No more than $150 per combo with line and hooks, weights, etc. I am totally impressed with the reels, and abiet the fish being a bit smaller, the rods felt pretty good. These really are bigger rods for bigger fish. Here's my setup:

The Zebco's did really good casting the 40# mono. They cast the line a lot father then expected. Dan had the same Rippin Lips rods but paired with Abu's, and a Whisker Whip that seemed to be a tad lighter on the action. Next time I'll be using my Rippin' Lips Medium spinning combos.

Anyway, the fishing was slow, but we managed to catch some. Here are the pics:

upload_2019-8-18_12-36-29.jpeg

Dan with the first fish!


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Little Channel Cat. I'll be back to catch him when he is bigger.

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Active fish and bigger!

Sorry about the headlamp! This was the largest Channel of the evening, and we had lots of nibbles. I had a big take but lost it at the boat, and Dan had plenty of nibbles. I had a few Cats steal my baits(dang-blasted!) as well.

All in all, a fun night on Monroe!! We're hoping to go again and I plan on organizing a Meetup with anyone who is interested. There are many "remote" campsites on the shoreline that could gotten to by boat. Sound cool? Stay tuned.......

Matt
 

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Glad you found the shad Matt. As with most bait, they are usually there until you really really need them.

As far as keeping them alive, that is not a simple feat. It can get a little costly. I would recommend catching them and putting them directly on ice. That will kill them but they will stay fresh for at least the night, sometimes two or three. I have heard a few folks say to put 4 or 5 in a plastic bag and then to put the bag on ice there need to be ice on each bag or fish. Not a stack of fish with a little ice on it. Channels don't care if the bait is alive or dead, whole minnows or cut bait.

"dang blasted!", I know what videos you have been watching. lol

I see you have that rod setup for the Big River. Or at least White River in our area. You Medium rod would be better for the channels, paired with a 4/0 or 5/0 hook. Of course then one of those big blues that are supposed to be in there will hit it.

I have not fished Monroe Lake for other than some gills for bait in a while. I was there about 10 days ago and went to the place I mentioned to Dan for bait but the water had dropped 4 feet or so it seemed and I had to look elsewhere.

For me, when I channel cat fished there, I did best using the draggin method with a foam cigar float a foot above the hook. Covered a lot of water that way.

Glad to see you two got out and look forward to seeing you at the gathering. Winston can provide a lot of good information & experience on fishing the big river so ask questions until it gets obvious and then ask some more.

thanks for the pics.

One last tip. As you mentioned, Douce the headlamp and any lights that will be in the picture. Like when it is day time always face into the sun and at night looking at a bright light always adds glare. Use the light beam, not the light fixture.

tight lines
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Glad you found the shad Matt. As with most bait, they are usually there until you really really need them.

As far as keeping them alive, that is not a simple feat. It can get a little costly. I would recommend catching them and putting them directly on ice. That will kill them but they will stay fresh for at least the night, sometimes two or three. I have heard a few folks say to put 4 or 5 in a plastic bag and then to put the bag on ice there need to be ice on each bag or fish. Not a stack of fish with a little ice on it. Channels don't care if the bait is alive or dead, whole minnows or cut bait.
Tom-

Been considering this Bait Motel (American Maple Bait Hotel) to have as a holder to keep the bait alive at least until I throw them on ice. Then they won't kill themselves being cooped up in the livewell. I could try G-Juice too. I kinda like the idea of the Bait Hotel more.

"dang blasted!", I know what videos you have been watching. lol
I now love that saying. He needs to make T-shirts and coffee mugs with his quotes.

I need to go out again before the Indiana Gathering. It wasn't until about 1:30 AM where we had some good action in a short amount of time. I was really surprised how hard the Channel Cats hit your baits! Can't wait to use the Mediums and have a ball.

Matt
 

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I鈥檓 planning to head back over Friday and restock the freezer if the shad are still there... I just take a bigger cooler use salt to make the brine. Keeps them fresh till I get home to freeze.
I like the looks of the bait motel for helping keeping them alive but moving from spot to spot would be problematic I think. Normally just enough for live bait for the night will stay alive in the live well. We just had too many and I should have added some ice haha bluegill always survive, tough little buggers
 

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Looks like the Bait Motel might be a good option unless your motoring around a lot.

Those Medium rods will feel better with channels. And they can catch a big fish also. I brought a 35 pound flathead in fishing the White River in heavy river current. Took about 12 tried of getting him beside the boat and then getting a net behind him before he entered the net. Still I was impressed with the rod.
 

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I prefer not to freeze shad. Seems to dry them up if they are frozen long and the meat gets soft. I try to get them within a day or two of using them and just put then directly on ice but not freezing them. I generally use a saltwater brine for skip but some say to get them out of water so the method of putting shad in a baggie and than the baggie on ice came up. I don't know what is really best. I do think when it comes to channel cats, they don't really care. If they are hungry they are going to bite. Sorta like Bubba's line in Forrest Gump. They like shad stew, shad pie, shad pudding, baked shad, fried shad,,,,,,,,,well you get the point.
 

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Try using some of the smelly dead shad along with the fresh shad and see which one they bite on.
Just keep them refrigerated for a few days until your wife yells at you for the smell if you don't get the baggie closed.
If your after flatheads then I would stay with fresh and live bait.
If you need any help using all of those shad give me a shout.
I don't care if there fresh or not.
 

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Try using some of the smelly dead shad along with the fresh shad and see which one they bite on.
Just keep them refrigerated for a few days until your wife yells at you for the smell if you don't get the baggie closed.
If your after flatheads then I would stay with fresh and live bait.
If you need any help using all of those shad give me a shout.
I don't care if there fresh or not.
All sound advice. Sounds like experience talking when he mentions the wife's refrigerator.

Some day I will tell you what happens when the night crawlers escape and get into the head of lettuce. Let's just say the salad had extra protein.
 

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The last shad we froze actually turned out really well and held their scales etc. They do dry some like Tom said but for having a bag of bait when you can鈥檛 seem to find anything else they do REALLY well haha I always keep a bag of frozen in the cooler just in case bait is hard to come by buts it鈥檚 plan B...
Stacee If I find them like last time I鈥檒l get some extra and have plenty for you!
 

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As far as queens refrigerator- I have been put on official notice that anything has to be double bagged - seems to help keep her happy which keeps me happy!
 

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I have taken frozen bait out for that "just in case" reason also but I tend to stay fishing so long that the frozen bait thaws and I don't like to re-freeze thawed bait.

You are right though that when it gets right down to it, any bait is better than no bait.

Stacee you should try that wonderful little lake "chocked & stocked" full of nice sized shad that is close to you. ("Close to you" is a relative term in this case meaning 25 miles or less). There is bank room for throwing a net should you decide to try it.

It may be too far away or you may not be a net thrower but if interested I will pinpoint it for you.
 

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I have my cast net next to me never even taken it out of the box yet. lol
Haha, I bet they last longer that way. Better do some practicing in the yard before you use it. And nets and rivers don't get along well. Like that piece of one you pulled out the other day. lol

Sending PM
 

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Yea refreezing doesn鈥檛 work.... if they thaw their done.
Stacee if you want to go to that bait lake Tom is talking about just let me know we will make a bait run some evening. I drive by there everyday so I can take the boat to work and meet you there some evening. Might as well though some lines out while we鈥檙e there haha
 
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