How big is too big for bait?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by JimmiMallo, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. JimmiMallo

    JimmiMallo New Member

    Messages:
    12
    I have a problem. I can't seem to catch any shad at what I consider a bait size. I net plenty of 3" and several 10" and over but nothing in between. I know the 3" will catch fish, I just caught my first flat today on a 3" goldfish. :happ-big: The problem is that the 3" bait only seem to catch small cats 3-5 lbs. Can I use the big-ol shad I catch for flat? These are 10-12" gizzard shad and they just seem to big to be bait. I have never hooked a big flat so any advise would be appreciated.
     
  2. turtle1173

    turtle1173 New Member

    Messages:
    611
    State:
    Mayfield, KY
    That size of Shad are ideal for Flathead bait. I wish I could find some that size. We seem over run with the 3 inchers.

    When you catch your first decent Flatty, you'll wonder why you ever doubted using that bait :p

    I caught my first decent flat on an 8" channel cat. He went 34 lbs and the 8" cat in his mouth looked very small, LOL.
     

  3. Abu

    Abu New Member

    Messages:
    248
    State:
    Hemlock,Ohio
    Them shad are way too big JimmiMallo. Pack them in ice and send them to me. :D Serious though, you got some nice big shad for flats or blues. You will be surprised when you see how small of a flathead will swallow a 10" and even larger shad. If they can fit it in their mouth it is bait to them. Abu
     
  4. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    Infisherman says use as large as bait as you can handle. By that, they mean for casting . I always use as big a blue gil as I can get. i don/t use shad unless thats all i got as they die too quick. I fish close to shore are from a boat so I don/t have to cast far. How ever I have caught several 30 and 40 pounders on smaller bluegils in the 2 are 3 inch range. The only reason I was using the smaller gils was I didn/t have the bigger one/s that day. Like the other guys said , wait to you see the size of a moster flatties mouth, after that you won/t worry about too big of bait.
     
  5. Desperado

    Desperado Active Member

    Messages:
    1,244
    State:
    Pataskala, Ohio
    Name:
    Clarence
    The bigger the bait the better I say. I use the biggest bait I can. I use shad 8-10" and blue gill bigger than your hand.
     
  6. nuthinlikeacat

    nuthinlikeacat New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    Eden Prairie, Minnesota
    The bigger the bait the better. Up here in MN its tough to get shad, so bullheads 8" or bigger is the bait of choice.
     
  7. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Using a large bait will keep you from catching the smaller cats, but a 10#-12# flathead has a HUGE mouth. I've heard that some of the guys targeting really big flatheads use live carp up to 2# in weight. I've seen 10# stripers caught using live 12" skipjack, and their mouths are a lot smaller than a flathead of the same size.
     
  8. JimmiMallo

    JimmiMallo New Member

    Messages:
    12
    thanks everyone, I'll use them then. It blows my mind to think of a 12" fish as bait! I don't think casting will be a problem. I'm using a 7' ulgystick catfish rod MH with a Abu 6500 and 65lb spiderwire with a 50lb mono leader. 4oz. 3sided pyramid weight and a #5 octupus hook. Does that sound about right for the bigguns?
     
  9. nuthinlikeacat

    nuthinlikeacat New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    Eden Prairie, Minnesota
    I might go with a bigger hook.
     
  10. JimmiMallo

    JimmiMallo New Member

    Messages:
    12
    How big? I guess with bait that size it makes sense to use a bigger hook. 6,7,8 what sounds right? I really like the octopus hooks I think they have them here up to a 7 is that big enough?
     
  11. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    with bait that size, I would go with a 10/0 khale hook. Just remember to leave the space between the barb and the shank open for a good hook set!!!
     
  12. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    caught a 4# flat on a 8in. gill today. you never know what its goin to be when fishin for flatheads. i have caught several 30#+ flats on 1/3 cut gills,and loads of runts on large live gills. you just never know. hook and bait size go hand in hand for sure,like they said. you gota use big hook for big bait or you get some misses!


    good luck jim
     
  13. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    I don't even keep the small shad. I caught a 6lb channel last week on a 9-10 inch live shad and it swallowed the 8 ought circle. Use the big bait and get you some size 8's This is my 1st year at it and friends laughed at me ( and my rigs) but I have a 20 and a 32 so....
     
  14. HoosierPoleCat

    HoosierPoleCat New Member

    Messages:
    207
    State:
    Indiana
    thats only when you bring enough bait river scum.....I look at it as your bait can never be to big just like....well you know.
     
  15. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Messages:
    201
    State:
    Fredericksburg, VA
    i once caught a 1lb bullhead on a 5 inch bluegill .. if they can fit it in their mouths their gonna eat it or they're sure gonna try

    after you catch a big flathead you'll never wonder about this again .. the fish the abu is holding in his avatar, you could probably stick your head in its mouth with room to spare .. ok maybe a little exageration but you get the point

    10-12 shad and suckers are a great bait for big flats

    personally i would get a heavier duty reel and a rod with a stiffer backbone if you're going to be fishing baits this big for giant flatheads
     
  16. paleocaver

    paleocaver New Member

    Messages:
    391
    State:
    USA
    Yesterday I caught a 1 lb flatty on a half a bluegill. Thought I was getting nibbles from channels, he must have been hooked the whole time.
     
  17. Cuda-Cada

    Cuda-Cada Member

    Messages:
    748
    State:
    Jacksonville, Fl.
    I have used baits up to 2 pounds but that is rare. I mostly use baits from 6-10 inches long. I have seen a 96 lb flathead caught on a limbline that was baited with a 3 inch goldfish.
     
  18. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,081
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    I mostly use bluegills, creek chubs 4"-8", but there are members here that use carp and drums up to 2lbs, bullheads,channels and suckers up to as much as a pound or even more. 10-12" shad would be perfect for flatheads I would think.
     
  19. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    from a 40 year river guide i heard tell about flathead baits is this.

    3-6 " baits are plenty big. much bigger than that you eliminate fish. (as jtrew said) if a flathead is there and feeding it doesn't matter how big it is it will take a 6"bait.

    now shad are thin fish and a 10" shad could be eaten by a flathead as small as 5# im guessing. ive caught 3# channel on 3-4 " live bluegills.
     
  20. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    I'm with the other guys here...it's simply amazing how big of a bait a 5 lb flat can and will eat. I have caught 5 or 6 pounders on a perch or a shad that I thought was way too big for a fish that small. Although they will eat a big bait....they will also take a smaller bait as well. I have seen guys fishing with a 2" perch using a 2/0 hook catch flats 40 pounds plus....but the thing to remember here is that they will typically swallow such a small offering all the way to their bunghole, resulting in a sometimes mortally wounded fish. I mostly use a Gamakatsu Octopus circle hook in 7/0 or 8/0 rigged with a baitfish that is between 3" and 8" long for flathead or bigger blues.