Question for the experts

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Believer, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Believer

    Believer New Member

    Messages:
    1,362
    State:
    Greenwood, AR.
    I read in a thread some time ago that it's not uncommon to see your rod tip start dancing due to the bait freaking out when a flattie is in the area.
    Well, I noticed this happening last night and got a little excited only to have NOTHING happen. An hour or so later I reeled in and found that the goldfish was gone. This happened twice and not once did my bait clicker sound off.
    What happened, did a turtle take my bait or what???

    Thanks!

    Eric
     
  2. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    That sounds vary much like a turtle eating the bait.
     

  3. dcaruthers

    dcaruthers New Member

    Messages:
    756
    State:
    Alabama
    Sometimes large catfish will remain still while crushing their prey and eating it. I read an indepth discussion on the matter not too long ago (sorry can't remember where). Summation...if you are tight-lining and your rod tip moves up and down at least 3/4 inch...then jerk a knot in its a@@.

    Haven't had a chance to try it, but the article had a lot to dispute about waiting for the "big run"
     
  4. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    both the previous posts are correct. we just had this happen a feww weeks ago in a creek. kept getting just a few clicks and stolen bait. after about 4 gills i hung a turtle. we have also been getting misses fgrom small flats not getting the bait in their mouths(can tell by the marks on the bait). the bigger ones must be on the spawn. i have also caught a few when i went to reel in and check bait. they just sit there sometimes ,the reason i dont know. i suspect i threw it in front of where they were sitting.

    next time you get a nervous bait try holding rod in your hands to feel whats goin on. i slowly drag it away too sometimes and they charge it.
     
  5. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    It's hard to know who is stealing your bait, but I would like to dispute the bit about a nervous bait NOT meanig a cat is around. I'm sure there are lots of other reasons a bait can get frisky (turtles, gar, carp smimming by, boat swings slightly and gives a tug, ...), but at least some times it is a cat. I have had the pleasure several times of watching the rod tip start jiggling, followed by a slightly bigger sharp jerk, followed by a brief pause, and then the rod tip slowly bowing down as a flathead swam off with the bait.
     
  6. chrisblue

    chrisblue New Member

    Messages:
    1,345
    State:
    SC
    I have had the pleasure several times of watching the rod tip start jiggling, followed by a slightly bigger sharp jerk, followed by a brief pause, and then the rod tip slowly bowing down as a flathead swam off with the bait.[/QUOTE]
    Aint that a beutiful sight.
     
  7. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Messages:
    1,619
    State:
    Sherman IL
    hrmm, I've had it happen as well.. though, I still had my Gill. The gill looked like someone took sandpaper to both sides of it (scales rubbed off) and had one that was had it head completly covered in Slime... It was dripping off it... Never could figure out what was getting it.... I figured a flatty was mouthing it?
     
  8. shortshank

    shortshank New Member

    Messages:
    389
    State:
    Oregon
    I try to put fish in a different prospective. When you have nights like you're talking about Eric I believe it's a "passive bite". Well... I'm not realy starving but the food is right there, peck, peck.
    Conditions like high water, after the river crests, the gates open for a couple of days, food has been plentyful. When they are starving for a tasty meal...slam dunk, you better be holding on to your gear. Other factors need to be considered I believe also. Man, I couldn't eat another blue gill if it jumped in my chops, I'd swim for a mile for a tasty shad though. They can't all be hungry for the same things at the same time. If that were the case we would all be using the same bait. Throw them some options to dine on and go with the flow. JMO
    Don
     
  9. Derd

    Derd New Member

    Messages:
    3
    State:
    Indiana
    I have heard that as well about the dancing baits. I don't think it is true. I think baits are totally unaware of a flatheads presence until it is to late. Flatheads being ambush predators are very slow and subtle when enhaling prey.

    With the taps on the rod I have found that to be inactive or neutral fish. There is a great article about it in the procats.com emagazine in the past issues section called Subtle Strikes from big fish.




    Be full of joy in the Lord, I say it again-rejoice!
    Phillippians 4:4
     
  10. KansasKatter

    KansasKatter New Member

    Messages:
    807
    State:
    Wichita Kansas
    A little known fact (or maybe not little known) is a flathead, especially the large ones, will scale a perch or whatever before it eats it. Sometimes they will just sit there and do this, without even moving, especially if the bait is easy to catch. Other times they will hit it on the run, especially if it is a larger bait, or still very active. Either way, the trick is to wait until the fish is done scaling the bait, and puts it far enough back in his mouth to get a good hook set. Otherwis, chances are you will miss, due to the fact the scaling process is going on at the tip of his mouth, where his "teeth" are.

    It is only natural though for your bait to react to anything that swims by, but most cats are stealthy enough, I don't think the bait ever knows what hits them, until it is to late. Another culprit is crawdads, if the bait is exhausted, or lathargic, they will pick at it long enough to get it off the hook.
     
  11. bigcatwannabe

    bigcatwannabe New Member

    Messages:
    166
    State:
    rowland, nc
    i think there is a lot of truth in it all, ive had gar and turtles take my bait that way, and also i have hung big flatheads when it seemed as if it was a 2 pound fish was biting, like someone said its a passive bite, ive had flatheads hit bait aggressively and passively, but i am kinda skeptical about the bait getting excited. ive seen it happen bass fishing, but like someone said, flatheads are very well camoflaged and are an ambush predator, which makes me disbelieve this unless another large fish besides a catfish spooks them swimming by
     
  12. Big Sam

    Big Sam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,284
    State:
    Booneville AR
    Name:
    Sam
    It has been my expeience over the years that sometimes fish will barely move your line or pole:crazy: I learned the hard way:big_smile: that this does not mean they have it in there mouth....Yes big fish will barely bite too same as the little fellars....I have caught several fish over 30 that just barely tug or pull on the line....I go with the ol'e saying ...When in doubt.....JERK:lol: and then jerk again:crazy:
     
  13. catseeman

    catseeman New Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    State:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    I think they sometimes get nervous and they know when something big is around. they feel a difference in the current blocked by the bigger fish. The same way a school of fish all turn at the same time or a flock of birds turn and swoop in order. pressure differential I think they call it.
     
  14. Believer

    Believer New Member

    Messages:
    1,362
    State:
    Greenwood, AR.
    Thanks guys for all of the replies, but I think i'm more confused now. LOL :confused2:
    What is the purpose scaling the fish? I've read about the fish doing it and i've read in other threads were people scale their fish prior to casting it out.

    Eric
     
  15. SilencedMajority

    SilencedMajority New Member

    Messages:
    320
    State:
    White Mtns, AZ
    As far as I know, there are two reasons behind scaling a baitfish before putting it on the hook: to help ensure the hook point will be clear of obstruction for a good hookset, or to release more of a scent for a cat to follow. I will usually scale one side of a live baitfish for the latter reason.

    I too have had live bait (sunfish) go crazy on and off. I haven't experienced a bite right after I notice my rod tip bouncing lightly, but then again I don't have many years experience flathead fishing. It has crossed my mind that maybe the fish was freaking out due to a predator being near by, but I brushed it off as my imagination!
     
  16. bigcatwannabe

    bigcatwannabe New Member

    Messages:
    166
    State:
    rowland, nc
    yeah, scales will get on your hook tip and make you miss fish, and i dont know if you have ever used white perch, but those little boogers have axtremely sharp scales, a big fish will hit them and knock the scales off and turn again and swallow them
     
  17. bwanatony

    bwanatony New Member

    Messages:
    580
    State:
    Grand River Valley, Weste
    I believe live baits can sense & smell predators just like predators can sense & smell live baits.
    But, I also believe no lively baitfish likes to sit there hooked to an anchor waiting to be eaten. I think sometimes they thrash to get away, get tired & rest, then try to break loose again.
    It's all good, though- thrashing bait means it is about to attract a flathead, or it already has!
     
  18. da-cajun-angla

    da-cajun-angla New Member

    Messages:
    221
    State:
    louisiana
    I Think Its A Small Catfish Small Enough That He Can Grab The Bait ANd Rip It Off W/o Touching The Hook Or Nabbing It From The Side And Swimming Off, Therefore Ripping It Off The Hook...could Be A Turtle...who Knows...its All Speculation, Right???
    Shaun
     
  19. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    When first cast out the bait should (kick) for 10 to 30 min pretty steady, then they get tired and have to rest. If they have been resting a long time then suddenly go crazy its because something is close by, may not always be a flathead could be a turtle,gar,channel or even a carp, whatever just be ready. Your bait seems like it might have just wallowed out a bigger hole around the hook and escaped the hook. I say this because there was no hard jerk or clicker noise, If a flathead hit your bait you would know it.
     
  20. Taliesin

    Taliesin New Member

    Messages:
    680
    State:
    Missouri
    I haven't seen it with cats, but when using live bluegill, minnows, or any other live baitfish I have seen it go a little crazy then get hit like a ton of bricks by a largemouth bass.