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how to catch a channel cat

6233 Views 20 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  katfishy25
Were do they hide at night?
What is the best bait to use for them?
How big does the bait need to be?
And what kind of hook is the best for them?
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This is the true questions to life. I have caught most of mine off of one night crawler on a regular J #4 hook. and a Splitshot 10 inches up. About 10 yards off shore on the bottom. Near some fish attractors I have laid. But I think any think that is stinky edible is good. Marshmellows, cheese, leftover meat from a meal that will be thrown away, hot dogs, and cut bait(bluegills) work good. Try some things out and tell us what happens. Also to force a good fight I fish with no larger then 10 lbs test but make sure you have a net with you cause monsters can be brought in but when you try to take them out of the water line just wont make it promise....Tak eit easy. Also I f you are going to leave the pole unattended I always attach a stringer around the reel incase a monster or snapper grabs and runs with it. I promise you dont want that one to get away especially with you r rig.
they will eat a lot of things like stink baits, nightcrawlers, cut bait, crawdads. for the bigger sized channels use cut bait and i guess you could say bigger bait bigger fish but that isnt always true. just try a bunch of things out till you find one that works. as far as where to find them, i dont know to much about that but fish the flats during night and maybe around drop offs and stuff if you have a boat.
Find yourself a good inside bend with a drop off or some structure like a wing dam or a jetty also anything that busts up the current. A carolina rig with a 3 ounce no roll sinker an 8/0 gama octopus circle hook a generous piece of cut bait makein sure that the hook point is exposed. Put the rod in the holder on free spool with the clicker on and wait for that sweet sound. LOL! Wether ya are fishin from the bank or a boat get your baits out in different areas some short and some long. Have good electronics on your boat and know how to use them and trust them. Hope this helps.
Nothing better than some good eating channels.
Get you some chicken liver and maybe some worms. And dont forget live or cut bluegill. I seem to catch more channels using a bobber than on bottom. I use 4/0 tru-turn catfish hooks and I love them. Ive never had any luck with circles but others swear by them. As far as where there at youll have to find them. Try one deep and one shallow. One in the open and one by cover. Just keep looking and trying new spots. If it looks interesting to you it might look interesting to the cats. Usually if you dont get a bite in 15-20 minutes try another spot. I also like to keep old rotten livers in a bait fridge to chum em a bit.
Alot has to do with where your fishing. At one paylake I use to fish there was an old bench right by the water. I cast there as soon as I get there and usually catch a few before they move. Everyone at the paylake would laugh when I pull out my liver. They all use chicken breast with koolaid or hamburger bait. Id just put a huge glob of liver and launch it. I usually catch just as many or more than others. Seems the bigger the glob of liver the better the bite. I know of alot of paylakers will use those small #4 hooks but I dont like em.
I like to toss a cut gill deep on bottom while I fish with a bobber at different places. A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.
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channel cats don't "hide" at night .. night time is their most active time .. they'll be roaming about looking for food .. the location of an active channel cat is, surprisingly, easier to locate during the day .. keep in mind in order to find ACTIVE channel cats you have to be willing to move around

a river is made up of riffles, holes, and runs .. at the end of the riffle where it begins to get deeper is an EXCELLENT place to find active channels during the day .. also fishing log jams or behind big rocks and rock ledges during the day will allow you to catch semi active fish, or fish that weren't active at all but are unwilling to pass up a good meal

at night time its much trickier .. you will rarely find them gravitating to structure like i mentioned during the day .. you'll still find quite a few at the end of the riffles but most will be roaming flats and ledges in search of food .. a hot spot when the sun is going down, is at the mouth of a creek dumping into the river

bait type and size depends on how big you're looking to catch AND how big the fish grow in the river .. the tried and true method of drowning a worm applies here for small fish mostly but big fish most likely won't pass it up .. if you're looking for bigger fish, cut bait is key .. cut bluegill fillets and don't forget to use the head too .. dip baits in an area with a good concentration of cats is sure to keep you busy most of the night altho big fish are pretty rare on that
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I mostly catch my channels on nightclawers.
alot of the channel cats i have caught i used beef liver,I found out that it stay on a reg. hook so you don't have to use a trebble hook.Most of the time I would throw it on the bottom pretty much anywhere in a pound and even in creeks, rivers are the same.
Tank has it goin on. To catch the channel cat fish them at night, I use a no 6 spring treble baited with the freshest chicken liver, NO WEIGHT, medium action Ugly Stick rod with a trusty Zebco 33, 10 lb test. I have rod paralell with the earth and the release button engaged. let the fish run for a bit then bring it home.

for me its mostlt boat drifting. go to the side of the lake with the wind at your face. slap on some fresh shad gut pockets on a carolina rig with 5/0-8/0 circle. toss em out and stick them in the rod holders. let the wind carry you. if ys run into a mess of hits anchor for a bit. may be a school of em. thats how i land em.
Driftin gis fun but I like a big rock and some stinky bait
Night time is usually better than the day thus (nocturnal)
I've used many baits, though my favorite was a nightcrawler on top of a 1/2 peeled shrimp (leaving the tail) I had my best luck at the base of weed beds in shallow water. My thinking was where would I look for supper if I was a Channel, and decided that where the small baitfishes were that's where I would try and Walla! Maybe give the rip-rap edges a try. :cool:
Yeah I cut some large limbs down from my cyprus tree and stipped it down pretty doo. Then dropped then in the lake for an attractor the cats love swiming under the branches and the hollowed out log I put in there seems idea for cats.
Were do they hide at night?
No where. They are usually all over the place. In the summer I am finding them going in shallow to feed. One of my better places this summer when the water temperature was in the 90's was 2-3 of water next to a 25 foot channel. I was able to pick off cats coming in shallow for food. They would take the bait and dart straight for the deep water.

What is the best bait to use for them?
I use cut bream. Fillets and vertical strips work well, but the heads seem to be the prime choice for the 5+ pound cats.

How big does the bait need to be?
I always equate it to a man laying on the couch be lazy watching TV; if he looks across the room and sees a cracker, he ain't going to get up and get it, but if he sees and smells a steak he might get his lazy butt off the couch and get a bite!!!

And what kind of hook is the best for them?
I am a circle hook man. Cats hit and run, and this type strike is where circle hooks works best. The other nice thing is that you really dont have to "set the hook", the shape basically does it for you. Less throat hooks too.
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I'm going to try the circle hooks this weekend. I like to drift fish at night and I'm hoping they will help me.
i catch most of my channels drifting shrimp between 7am and 1 pm. i have had plenty of good times at night as well. It all depends on the body of water you are fishing. We have drifted the same body of water at night as we drift in the day with no where near as much luck.`
All my cattin' is done from shore at various places on the Wisconsin River, here in the central part of the state. I have tried various baits and the one that gets me the bigest cats is cut bluegill. I go out and catch a limit (25) of 3-5" 'gills, cut them in half from top to bottom, put it on a 4/0 circle hook and wait for the rod to load up before reeling it in. Using the head portion for some reason really does attract more bites than the rest of the fish.
All my fishing gear consists of spinning gear (open face). For the cats I use Shakespeare X-Terra reels and Shimano FX2702, 7' rods along with Trilene 12# test line.

There are 3 main areas I fish the river. 1st is at the base of a 4-lane bridge. I cast out about 30 yards to one of the support columns on the down side of the current. The closer to the column the better. This is where I can count on catching channels in the 7-10# range. 2nd is a slow water area about 400 yards above a dam. This area in the summer gets some good patches of lily pads. The pads grow out only as far as the edge of the main channel so knowing where to cast is a given. Right on the outside edge of the pads. The cats come from the channel into the pads to feed at night. These are typically smaller in size, eating size at about 2-4#. 3rd is yet farther downstream at the mouth of a small feeder creek. This has the additional bonus of having riprap on the opposite side of the creek and main river. this spot has two areas that attract the cats. The upstream side of the creek where it meets the river, as it is a submerged point, and the riprap area right across on the opposite side of the creek. The creek is only about 30' across. There is a 4th area which contains some submerged logs and trees which is a great place, but I lose more cats to breakoffs from the snags than I catch.
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i fish the chicago river never had luck on any cut or live blue gill's there i have caught a lot of channels on chicken liver, skirt steak, crawfish tails, and round goby heads there a species of egg eating fish that eat wat ever you put in the water even peices of there friends ur supposed to kill them but i chopped off there heads and tossed it out and pulled out a 6# channel off a flat that has a couple dropoffs on it
So thats why they are on the kill list. Noone actually explained why. Good info. My buddy caught one a while back i told him to kill it but he threw it back. So small it looked harmless. We were fishing the chicago river in chinatown ping tom park for carp. Never would eat anything from that part of the river though. :p
I fish the fox river in algonquin and a couple small lakes around me.

For channels i like 4/0 j gamakatsus. Still working on the octopus circles. My favorite baits are chicken liver , slightly cooked bacon , and bluegill cutbait middle part. Chicken usually produces the most bites. Must be the blood. Bacon and cutbait are about the same results for bites. Cutbait has caught me my largest channels.

I like to fish with 2 poles. 1 far and 1 close to see if they are biting near or far. Then once i get some nibbles i will cast both to the hotspot.

Most important thing for me is my reaction time. Sometimes they can be bait stealers. Around my area they hardly take off with the bait. I love it when they do. :) If the channel only hangs on for 2-4 seconds you have to be very quick. Set the hook or its gone. So i use my graphite 7ft rods angled low and close to me as possible. I hold one pole most of the time. If i see any of my poles move at all i hold it with it tightlined ready to set the hook if i feel a good tug. Also like to use the lightest weight possible.
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Howka,Brothers and Sisters;

Just a fews lines, when I fish for channels,
I rig a three way swivel,appropriate wieght, a
long shank Gamagotsu Treble Hook,baited with
ripe!,shad,mackral,or anchovie,you can also
just fly line the bait out, I use a tight line, well
thats all for now.

Big Trebles=Big Cats. :D :p
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