Bait selection for Blue Catfish

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Steve W, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. Steve W

    Steve W New Member

    I've been using fresh caught shad either cut shad or whole as bait for blues.
    I have not been catching as many fish on the smaller (2-3 inch) shad with the black dot right behind the gill plate than I have with the bigger shad.. I have been getting excellent bites on the larger shad (5-6 inches, no spot behind gill plate). The best action has come on cut heads. An angled cut from behind the head, back through the lateral fin including the gut pocket. But I've also had some success on fillets made by running the knife along the back bone down to the tail (scales removed). I have a couple of questions for the B.O.C. members. #1 What are the names of these shad. I know that one is a gizzard and the other is ______?. Which one is which?
    #2 When fishing with the little shad, how are you fishing them? ie whole fish, or only heads, or only tails. I'm not very impressed with the whole body bait on a single shank 5-0 hook carolina rig method. I've tried the same method in the same water, at the same depth, and if I throw out one of those big shad heads I get actions in less than 10 minutes. Either them don't eat little shad or I'm presenting the bait in the wrong way, any thoughts? #3 I'm not landing all the bites I get when I use big shad heads. I think some of the fish are smaller fish and the big baits are gets pulled out of their mouths when I try to set the hook. But judging by the speed with which some of these fish take the bait, I'm probably missing a few nice Blues. I have an open face Penn reel, set on clicker, and the fish will just take the bait and run flat out !!!. I've been playing with the time interval between the fish taking the bait and me trying to set the hook, but i'm not satisfied with my of hook up percentage. My two biggest fish were caught on trebles. In fact this is kinda ticking me off!!!.( note to self:remain calm take a deep breath). I was reading about other B.O.C. members who were using the curved shank hooks, It seemed like they were saying they had a better hook up percentage if they let the fish run alittle then tried to set the hook. Any Comments?. Lastly the little shad are moe abundent in my waters than are the bigger shad, so it's easier for me to get the little one than it is for me to get the big ones. What I need is an IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO FISH WITH LITTLE SHAD AND CATCH BIG FISH. Granted this might seem like an unreasonable question, But ...
    I'm also ticked about the little flat heads eating my "prime" big shad head blue baits. But that's a different discussion, cause I'll eat a flat head anyday.
    Talk to me B.O.C. I'm goin fishin this weekend !!!
  2. photocat

    photocat New Member

    HOCO, Maryland
    cut the little shad... seems to me the fish are keying in on the gut pocket and not nessessarily the shad itsself...

    umm also a 5/0 hook sounds kind of big for a 2-3 inch shad... i'd go with something smaller...

    also Circle hooks will help your hook up percentages on those run and gun catfish... i like to leave the reel in freespool and have the clicker engaged so that the fish can take line but the spool still gives it enough pressure that (if the hook is sharp and mine always are) it sets right in the corner of the mouth. I prefer sizes 2/0 and 6/0 but choose a hook thats right for your bait... (you wouldn't put a garden worm on a 10/0 hook would you? or a whole shad on a size 10 hook?)

  3. skippie2use

    skippie2use New Member

    I prefere the big shad as well, but there are allot of times when I cannot get them. The biggunze are gizzerds and the other threadfins. When I use smaller ones Ill load A hook with a PILE of small heads cut the same way u cut ure bigones. Sometimes ill use a 9 or 10ott and really load the small ones. Sometimes more productive than 1 big head. The other way I use the smaller shad is to thread them on the hook starting through the eye all the way to the tail. Leaving the hook just inside the skin of the tail. much the way u would do a weedless worm. Hopefully this will help.
  4. beaneye46

    beaneye46 New Member

    i havnt really targeted blues too much, but i caught a 25# last weekend on a small 2 inch shad. what ive always done with smaller bait fish is run the hook through the mouth all the way to the tail.
    i only had one shad, and i caught a nice channel before the blue, and just used the same bait. dumb luck maybe.
  5. copycat

    copycat New Member

    New Jersey
    Steve, The fish with the dot on them are the threadfins. try 8-10/0 circles and don't set the hook, just real in slowly at first.
  6. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    DeSoto, MO
    good post guys. Steve, these guys are correct. Big ones are Gizzard Shad, and the little guys are Threadfins. I have not found any correlation for one being better than the other. You are doing the right thing letting them run quite a ways with large heads. I usually will let them go 10-20 feet before I set the hook if I'm using Kahles. If I'm using Circles, They manage to hook themselves pretty easily. I've found the Circles probably arnt the best choice if you are using large heads for bait though. Try size 9 or size 10 kahles when you are using the really large heads for bait. I think you will see your hook up percentage get better. As far as using the little shad for bait, I will cut off the tail (just the tail) and then I will make 5 or 6 slices down each side of the shad. Its amazing how much blood those little guys have in them. I'll hook them on an upwards angle through the mouth, and out the top of the boney part of the head. If they dont get bit in 15 minutes, I'll put a new one on. Fresh bait is critical. As the spring spawn starts heating up, you should try those smaller shad live. Seems I do alot better early spring on live baits, and I switch to my gigantic cut baits when summer sets in. Good Luck. Let us know how you do.