Cut or Live bait?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by armyfisher2, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. armyfisher2

    armyfisher2 New Member

    Help me out brothers... Im testing my luck for the first time this weekend on Flatheads. For those of you familiar with GA I will be fishing Clarks Hill. Im not sure what to use for bait. I normally go out with beef and chicken liver and whole sardines that I cut up. I usually catch channels and blues though. Im up for trying something new. Help me out and give me some ideas.:006:
  2. catoon

    catoon Board Clown!

    bream if not illegal

  3. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Live Bait if you can use it.
  4. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    greatbend kansas
    In many cases bait selection is more a matter of personal preference than any thing else. People tend to use baits that have produced well for them in the past. There are many good baits out there and many good prepared baits on the market. We still prefer to use natural baits, they seem to produce best for us.
    Catfish love baits like worms, chicken livers and fresh cut bait. Ask others who fish in your area what baits are working for them. It is important to select the right bait for the fish you are after. Channel catfish and blue catfish are scavengers and will hit just about any bait.

    Flatheads on the other hand are predators meaning they prefer to hit live baits. Many people think flatheads are scavengers, but that assumption is wrong. Flatheads will hit dead baits from time to time, this happens most in the early spring. We think the reason for this is that many fish, such as shad, die throughout the winter and make easy picking in early spring for catfish. When selecting baitfish for flatheads, try to find fish that are tough. Shad, as an example are very good baits for flatheads but are tough to keep alive. We prefer to use sunfish, bluegill, bullheads and carp. Catching bait can be a fun part of fishing for flatheads, but it can also be a lot of work. If you can’t catch baitfish try getting large gold fish from your bait shop. Gold fish are tough and catfish love to eat them. When going fishing take several different baits with you and try them, this will tell you what bait you should be using.

    Remember to check your state regulations regarding baitfish to see what is legal in your area.

    For more in depth information on baits be sure to pick up our video “Set Lining for Catfish”.
  5. dust777man

    dust777man New Member

    Use live bream, herring, or shad. Try a few of them as cut bait also.
  6. jason berry

    jason berry New Member

    I use cut bait alot but for starting out use live bait something natural to the area. You usually cant go wrong. If you cant keep the bait alive because it can be a real hassle catching bluegill transporting and keeping them all alive. Cut them up but make sure their fresh. This seems to make a difference in my opinion. JW got me using cut skipjack when I only used live bait before and Ive been catching some nice ones on them. but flats love live bait so that would be my #1 choice for you. have alot of patience because flats can take a while.
  7. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Shelbyville, TN
    I am going to recommend live bait for the flatheads, but if none is to be found, then use cut bait: shad/bream/skipjack
  8. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Philadelphia, P
    Use bluegills or goldfish. They will give you the best chances for a flathead.
  9. JAYNC

    JAYNC Active Member

    Newport N.C.
    I use bream and live eels in my area, The eels are the best bait I have ever used because you can cut them in half and the head still stays alive for a long time and you can use the tails for cut bait for both flats and blues. Some of my biggest flats have been caught on cut bait. Dont get me wrong I think a flat prefers live bait because it is a predator but if one is swimming along and there is a nice chunk of cutbait in their face they will normally eat it.
  10. river scum

    river scum New Member

    hooterville indiana
    all we use is bream because they work and are easy to get. some night they like it live some nights its cut. no matter what the bait is live until hooked or cut! they will eat cut bait as long as its fresh killed. it depends on their activity level as to what they will prefer. we always start out using both to see if they have a preference. dont forget to fish around shallow cover at night. i have caught many 2ft off shore! dont be flashing light on the water or be stomping around on shore either, the big ones arent stupid.

    good luck to you bro.: tim
  11. Sunbird

    Sunbird New Member

    Sandy Run,

    I prefer a live bluegill to any other bait for a flattie in that there lake. Just make sure you know the LAW concerning fishing with them.

    In SC Bluegill are considered a game fish and CANNOT be transported from one body of water to another for the purpose of bait.

    If you throw a cast net and catch a Bluegill it is illegal to keep it.

    Make sure also that you are under the limit for such a fish, bait(Bluegill) counts against your total creel.

    Lastly, Because you are fishing a body of water that splits two states the laws for each state are in effect. GA. and SC do agree and enforce the same laws for such lakes.

    Go early, take a bucket of crickets and find a brush pile. One at a time teach those crickets how to swim.LOL You will have the prefered dinner for ole' flattie!
  12. patrickgd

    patrickgd New Member

    Memphis TN
    I have caught them on "fresh cut" fish and "Live" fish. Flathead are territorial like most predators, they... like us,will return over and over to spots that produce for them. Small Flatheads are known to feed heavily on crusteceans like Crayfish and River Shrimp also invertabrates such as worms and insects. When they get over 10 lbs. however studies show that only a steady diet of other fish give them the nutrition they require.
    Knowing what they like is important but For me the real battle has been finding them. Finding them is crytical. I believe if you put something tasty in front of one he will eat it if he's hungry. I also believe that Flathead are not big "movers". By this I mean, they will save there energy and will "ambush" prey rather than chase it down. Learn there locales and you will catch them. So for me the bait issue is not quite as important as finding them. As another B.O.C brother once said "an Elephant will eat peanuts all day long if you put them in front of his face" and I added "but your not gonna be feeding an Elephant at a coffee shop." Find em' and you'll catch em'.
  13. holdemhook227

    holdemhook227 New Member

    I usually perfer bullheads when I can find them. There really tough bait that stay alive hooked for long periods of time. It is always good to snip there fins off because if the flathead injest the bull head, the strength and sharpness of the fins can kill it. Other than that, Blue gill work great too.
  14. cateater

    cateater New Member

    I use sunfish and bluegills caught out of the body of water I'm fishing. Sometimes I use goldfish if I don't have time to catch bait. My bigger fish seem to come on the sunfish and gills though. I've only caught blues and channels on cut bait.
  15. One Legged Josh

    One Legged Josh New Member


    Same here. Try both if you want to. Good luck!
  16. katcatchingfool

    katcatchingfool New Member

    I always try live bait first if no takers i will switch to cut.
  17. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    South Caro
    I agree with most of that, but I find that flatties hit fresh bream heads about 50/50 to live bait. Here's the system I use. I keep a 5 gallon bucket on board. The first drop I use all live bait. When I move, I fill the bucket with water and remove the live bait from the hooks so they will live during transport, and not get mixed up with the bream in the bait tank. You can usually get two to three drops with the bream before they start to expire. As they die, I cut their heads off and use the head for one to two drops. I feel that the fresh heads leave a good scent trail and actually improve the bite somewhat. I always hook the bream heads through the eyeballs to let even more scent off. Let me digress a minute. The damnedest thing happened today. I cut a breams head off and fished with it for about 20 minutes at a drop. Believe it or not, and had I not seen it, I would never have believed it. When I reeled the head in, I SWEAR to you, the little fins on the side of his head were still moving! I couldn't believe it. In shock, I sat there and watched, and I'll be damned if the head didn't open it's mouth and try to breath, several times! I don't cuss much online, but that was the damnedest thing I have seen in a long time!! It was even hooked through the eyes, removed from the body for every bit of 20 minutes, yet continued to try to live! I guess being somewhat cool today had something to do with it. Anyhow, back to the subject at hand.

    < In SC Bluegill are considered a game fish and CANNOT be transported from one body of water to another for the purpose of bait.>

    I have never heard this. EVERYBODY I know, goes to small ponds to catch bream to take to the river. I'd heard of ALL the other rules mentioned, but did not know this one existed. Learned something here. Thanks. Another rule is that you can use live bream for bait on R&R, but you can't use them live on set hooks. They must be used as cut bait on a set hook. I don't limb line so that won't affect me, but I saw a guy fined heavily for using live bream on set hooks in Society Hill.

    Bill in SC
  18. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Hey Bill. My cut bream heads were doing the same thing the other night. I left one out for almost an hour and when I reeled it in it was still moving. :eek:oooh:
  19. deadly_legend

    deadly_legend New Member

    Evansville, Ind
    i use sunfish/blue gills and i will cut two small slits on both sides of them, that way they are still alive, but will have the sent going out and everything, has worked several times in lakes and things.

    but i will use either or, im not picky, if it dies on the hook when i use it alive i will cut it sometimes, if not just leave it out there and see if they take it.
  20. jc4thecross

    jc4thecross New Member

    Most people that I know use cut Bream live and cut Needless to say skip jack in any way you can get them on the hook . keep a tight line and a steedy hand.