How big of a flathead catfish bait can I use?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Big B, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. Big B

    Big B New Member

    Messages:
    226
    State:
    North Texas
    Ok, here is the deal. I have just recently got into fishing for big cats. I got bored last year and went down to a local lake. The lake level was so low that the feeder creek was several feet above the lake level. Fishing the creek I caught a blue that was 32in. A 8-10 lb channel as well as numerous others. I have been hooked ever since. I firmly believe in CPR and have been doing it for years. I was wondering how big of a bait can I use for these monster flatties? I use shad, as big as possible. I use blue gill, the bigger the better. I want to try cut carp or buffalo. I have read on this site of people using 2lb live carp. I can't seem to catch them that small. However, while fishing for cats over cattle cubes with DK punch bait for fun. I caught several buffalo in the 10lb range. Now I use an Ugly stick Catfish rod 7' MH paired with an Abu 7000. I use 30lb Cajun Red. I really don't like the braids or the hard to tie heavier monos. I use a carolina type rig. A float is added if drifting (below the sinker). My hooks as of now are Gamu octo circles in a 8/0. I will be moving up to a 10/0 soon. One of the lakes I fish has HUGE flatties in it. I'm talking over 100lbs. I have personally only caught blues up to 30lbs+- 5lbs. And thats sitting at a boat slip. I am yet to catch a flattie. I was fishing with a friend and she caught one in the boat slip in my spot. Good for her it made both of our days. So my question to you all is how big can I cut these buffalo and not turn a big fish off. Using them whole and live is totally out of the question. These suckers are strong. Would using a fillet off of a fish that big be out of the question. Or do I need to leave some skin and scales to help keep the bait from being ripped off. Where do I find the big ones in a lake? Shallows, stumps, dam? Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. tkishkape

    tkishkape New Member

    Messages:
    782
    State:
    Gore, Okla
    I hate to be the one to tell you... but the best bait for the flatties is going to be alive and kicking up a rucus. Flats will occasionally hit a cut bait, but don't depend on it.

    One of the best and most easily acquired baits is a sunfish (like bluegill, warmouth, pumpkinseed, black perch) from 3" on up. I like a small carp up to about 10" long or a 8-10" crappie. (It's legal here in Oklahoma...)
     

  3. Big B

    Big B New Member

    Messages:
    226
    State:
    North Texas
    Thanks Albert, what about cutting them up for blues? How big? I have some bull heads in a pond but they aren't very big. Will those work for the flatties? How big? How do I hook them?
     
  4. Catwagon

    Catwagon New Member

    Messages:
    125
    State:
    Justin, TX
    Flats just love bullheads. I clip the end of those sharp fins off and hook 'em behind the dorsal fin but not deep enough to damage the spine.
     
  5. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    blues love buffalo strips mo bigger mo better. ill flick most of the scales off before cutting off a chunk their skin is tough enough to keep it on the hook. flatties love crappie and most live bait a tip ive used that seems to work is to cut the tail off at the meat it bleads them alittle and their still alive to flop around.
     
  6. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Whooo, a 10# bait. Takes me back to shark fishing in Florida. First of all, realize that with a bait that size, you're not likely to catch any flatheads smaller than 40#-50#; you're gonna have to be targeting the real trophy size fish only. Cutting enough of the tail off so that it bleeds freely will not only put blood scent in the water and cause the baitfish to give off distress signals, but it will interfere with its ability to swim and pull against your rod. Another little trick I'll sometimes use with larger baits is to make a small hole into the gut cavity and pull out some intestine; I may pull out as much as 2" on a large bream, so I'd say 6"-8" for a 10# baitfish. Be aware that this severe cutting of the baitfish will drastically shorten its lifespan, so don't do it if you're short on bait. I'd put two hooks into the baitfish, one in front and one at the rear. Your problem is going to be delivery. The first time you try to cast something like that, your back is going to go 'spronnng', and they'll take you out on a litter. Better idea? Gather up 3 or 4 of the kids, grandkids, neighborhood kids, and take them bream (bait) fishing. Ponds at city parks and golf courses often have large populations of bream, and co-op agents recommend that bream never be returned to a pond. Even so, without heavy fishing, farm ponds get an overpopulation of bream, so the farmer is often happy to let you catch them.
     
  7. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    "...Flats will occasionally hit a cut bait, but don't depend on it...."

    Well, thats gonna depend on the waters you are fishing. Our lake flatheads are caught regularly on cut baits. LakeNormanBlues will tell you the same thing. Personally, I have never caught a flathead on live bait. I use them alot, but only catch blues and channels on them. ALL OF MY FLATHEADS have come on cut bait.

    With that said I would be fishing both baits to see what works where you are. As for big fish; if you are catching flatheads you are in the right area. Stick with it and work it and you will eventually find bigger fish. There is no correct answer on where they are or everyone would be catching them!
     
  8. Howie Ketchdem

    Howie Ketchdem New Member

    Hey man dont be scared to tie on a huge live bait for flats. The truth is a flathead likes to eat somthing between 1/4 and 1/3 its OWN body weight..I know a guy that uses 5lb channels for bait and he catches more flatheads than anybody ive ever met. He told me that he had a 4 lb channel on a limb line(he still practices CPR) and caught a 18lb flathead, then a 42lb flathead ate the 18lb flathead and got there gills tangled up with each other, he ended up landing both flatheads and took a pic. with 18 lb still in the 42 lbs mouth, so theres realy no bait that is to big in my opinion. And also 10"ers are not just for trophey fish either, I was using 8" live gill the other night and caught a 9 lb channel cat. The lake ur talking about with the creek in it, try that creek mouth after a hard rain it should produce a flattie or two. Ilike to try floating the gills or bullheads on baloons, throw a lil glow stick inside the baloon so you can see it and toss her out in front of that creek Mouth at about midnight and see what happens bro.....
     
  9. lilgriz

    lilgriz New Member

    Messages:
    436
    State:
    Aurora, KY
    We fish for flatties alot and we do really good with live bait but also have done good with cut bait. I think you should try both of them to see which works best in your area. If you can get ahold of some bullheads, that would be a good start for flatty bait. I know we do good on bullheads and bluegill. I haven't used anything over bout 10" long but that just because I haven't caught a bullhead or bluegill that big. The waters we fish have a good population of gars, and when we use bullheads the gars leave them alone where as the gar will tear the bluegill up. I usually hook the bait fish just behinde the dorsal fin, be sure not to damage the spine, if you do it will kill them or keep them from kickin like you want. The mouth of the creek would be a good place or if there is any stumps or stucture around the mouth I would try that. As for the big blues, just cut you a chunck the size you feel comfortable throwing. The ugly stick and 7000 should take what ever you throw at it, that is the same set up I have, but I'm only running 20# Cajun Red, and I've used big bait and have caught up to 55# fish on it.
     
  10. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Brian, you have to toss out all the feelings you now have when it comes to bait size. If you can cast it (and hold it in place if its a live bait) a big flat or blue can eat it. The largest bait I ever used was a 3 to 4lb drum. It was closer to 4. But it was all I could catch out in the middle of the river that night after going thru all the baits I brought with me. Anyway I thought this thing is waaay to big. But I put it on and managed to toss it about 30 ft behind the boat and 30 min later I caught a 25 pound flat on it. So any 40 50 or 100lber will be able to eat anything you can put on a hook. If you check out Jimmy Wier on one of In-fisherman's videos of the James river, he uses 15 inch shad with just the heads cut off, thats still leaving a foot long bait thats 9 inches wide lol. The only drawback is gonna be casting or placement. You can't ever cast a 4 or 10 lb bait more than a few yards. So if you can get close enough to a big fish lair and drop it on him go for it. Easier on a lake. Impossible on a river when the corp won't let you get within 1oo yrds of the dam. Big baits also drastically cut down your odds of catching smaller fish. If you want a giant go as big as you can , if you want numbers stay around the 1lb mark or less.
     
  11. noodlin Will

    noodlin Will New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    oklahoma
    thats one pic I want to see