Live Bait Usage

Discussion in 'Catfishing Baits' started by The Catfish Stalker, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. The Catfish Stalker

    The Catfish Stalker New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    Illinois
    I'm new to the usage of live bait. In the past I've used mostly chicken liver and glow worms (radioactive nightcrawlers), which have been successful for the 1-3 lb. range.
    I've been reading up on catfish lately, mostly through here and a few other sites (don't remember what they were, though) and have come to the conclusion that what I have been using doesn't work as well for bigger fish. So, I have a few questions that I would really appreciate having answered.

    1. What's better, live or cut shad?

    2. Are bluegill worth using? And does anyone know if they are considered gamefish in Illinois?

    3. What is slipjack?

    4. Is there any specific live baits that are better for types of catfish? IE cut shad for blue or slipjack for flathead, etc.?

    5. Are minnows even worth the time and effort?

    Thank you very much!
     
  2. whisker maniac

    whisker maniac New Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    State:
    arkansas
    I thing that the consensus is live bait is best. Shad and Skipjack are usually good for blues but flats like them too

    Blue gills are good for flats.

    Skipjack is a freshwater herring. In some places around some just call them skips and some just call them jack fish and in other parts of the states they are called other things. Ask around from some of your local fishing buddies and they will tell ya what they are around your area. If you have skips in the rivers around you you can catch them on rod and reel using a sabaki rig or catch them with white jigs.

    Shad can be caught if you can find them schooling, with a cast net.

    Good Luck.
     

  3. The Catfish Stalker

    The Catfish Stalker New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks for the info. I need to go out and buy a fish net for shad, but I haven't got around to it yet. I need it to warm up around here before I can get shad. It's around 50 degrees here now and it's windy.
     
  4. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Messages:
    1,619
    State:
    Sherman IL
    Kinda depends on what you are targeting and sometimes the water your fishing imho...

    For Flatheads, I use Bluegills, LIVE.. Around hand size.. They are LEGAL to use in IL, you have to catch them with rod and reel though (though I am trying to get confirmation on that, as it not really defined in the regulations)

    For channels, I prefer to use cut shad. I generally use strips (fillets), but will try chunks or whole with the tails cut off if the strips not working..

    For a Farm/Private pond, Stink bait is very effective for channels.. I would recommend either Sonny's on a looper rig or some DK Punch bait...

    I don't get to fish for Blues much, nor do I have a place to get skippys, but the general consensus is its pretty darn hard to beat a chunk of skipjack for them...

    Get yourself a cast net and then follow JW's (Dreadnaught) article on how to throw it.(http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26474). spend 1/2 hour out in the yard practicing and you'll start catching bait in no time....
     
  5. bwhupp

    bwhupp New Member

    Messages:
    1,680
    State:
    Belleville
    Castnet will be your best friend. It is worth it's weight in gold in my opinion. $20 piece of equipment, but you will catch hundreds of dollars of baitfish versus going to the tackle supply and bait shop.

    Bluegill work beautifully either whole and live or cut up. I have landed large blues on cut bluegill.

    The thing to be careful about with bluegill in IL... it must be caught by rod and reel.

    Bluegill also are dependent on the lake. If it is deemed a sport fish on the lake, size limits apply and cannot be cut up. You can fish with a legal sized and legally caught bluegill, but it cannot be altered and it counts towards your daily creel limit for the lake.
     
  6. The Catfish Stalker

    The Catfish Stalker New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    Illinois
    I really do need to go get a castnet. I have a tourney coming up in May and I want to go catch some live bait. Catching bluegill is easy. I just need to learn how to catch shad since no bait shops around here sell whole live shad.
     
  7. The Catfish Stalker

    The Catfish Stalker New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    Illinois
    What's the best way to hook the bait with a circle or octopus hook? I've heard near the tail.
     
  8. Bigbaldcountryboy

    Bigbaldcountryboy New Member

    Messages:
    78
    State:
    North Carolina
    Every bait you mentioned is a good bait as well as MANY MANY others. Experiment with them all. I usually start every trip out with several baits and let the fish tell me what they want that day. Dead,alive,they all work.If your using 4 poles,set out 4 different baits and narrow it down on whats working that day/night. GOOD LUCK!
     
  9. catfisherman_eky3

    catfisherman_eky3 New Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    State:
    Kentucky
    All the baits that you have mentioned is some good baits another bait is cut boneless chicken breast into pieces and soak them in garlic powder day or two works great to, and also on shad, I have had more success with cut shad than I have had with live shad.
     
  10. The Catfish Stalker

    The Catfish Stalker New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    Illinois
    Do skipjack school like shad do? If so, are they found in the same general area as shad, or are there specific spots that are good to look for them?
     
  11. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    Skipjack will congregate below dams when the water warms up. I am guessing 70* or so. I have been catching them here pretty good (water temp. ~67*) I have no idea if skipjack are around where you live though. Most major MS river tribs. have them (I think).

    I hook my bluegills behind the dorsal fin with a circle hook.

    Also skipjack are EXTREMELY hard to keep alive, if you were considering this. Some folks that are successful have very elaborate tank systems. I wouldn't even bother trying. If you plan to keep shad alive, you will still need a nice round tank with filtration.

    Good luck
     
  12. Grimpuppy

    Grimpuppy New Member

    Messages:
    3,556
    State:
    Concordia, KS
    Bluegill are very effective. I use live ones for flatheads and use them cut for channels. We actually use Green Sunfish here. I will use these until it warms up and I can find shad a little easier. Then I will switch to cut shad for channels and still use the green sunfish for flatheads. I hook the live one through the mouth and out between the nostrils. They will stay alive all night hooked like this. The cut one I hook through the mouth and out the top of the body.

    I photoshopped a couple pictures of how I rig mine.
     

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  13. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    I always try to use live bait, I dont have much sucess with cut bait.
     
  14. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas
    your throw net can be your best friend
     
  15. RiverMedic

    RiverMedic New Member

    Messages:
    42
    State:
    Illinois
    Live bait is tops for me, As i live in illinois to I know by reading the fishing regulations that anyone can get a free copy of at wallyworld,Bluegill IS legal in Il. and by far has on a regular basis caught 10 - 40 lb. catfish for me! As flatheads are a predator fish they seem to love being presented with 4-6 in. bluegills hooked thru the eyes! and if you have tore your lil bluegill up too bad catching him and he soon dies , no problem, soon a big blue will come along and be happy to eat what the flattie doesn't want. Not saying flats wont take dead bait as I have seen them do it before they would rather have live bait, by nature they are predators rather than scavengers like blues and channels. Cant really address live shad, can never keep them alive long e-nuff to put them on a hook. Bluegill are much more resilient than shad which makes them my number #1 bait. And if you cant catch e-nuff for all your hooks you can cut them 3-4 ways and catch plenty of blues and channels, makes your bait go farther. I have caught an ample amount of channels on dead shad they do seem to prefer them where I fish on the lower wabash river!