Seasonal Bait for Flats

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by Blacky, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    We all know that a flathead catfish will eat anything and everything that it could fit in it's mouth. I'm pretty sure in some instances they have chomped down on birds and mammals too. But in my river, I found to use certain baits at certain times of the year.

    My question is there certain baits you use at certain times of the season?

    Confidence is the most important factor in flathead fishing so what baits are you most confident with during a particular season?

    Here's mine.

    Spring: I love to use suckers. The river is still cold enough for the sucker to be comfortable and swim around making noise. Suckers are cold water fish and the using them in the summer is not as effective because the river is usually hotter.

    Summer: Bass and bullheads are my prefered baits. Sunfish will always work, but if you're looking for the big one, bass and bullheads are the way to go. They are big lively and just the right 1 meal for gigantor flathead.

    Fall: I have my best sucess using fish with mushy meat like shiners, chubbs, and cut suckers. I used to strictly bluegills in the fall, but found out for some reason they don't like the spiny baits.
     
  2. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    Tan you could probably write a book on flatheads you have a lot of knowledge about them. Maybe over this season we might run into each other that would be cool, either way best of luck in 09 make sure you get some good pics:wink:
     

  3. catfish chaser

    catfish chaser New Member

    Messages:
    674
    State:
    miamisburg, oh
    I'm with ya on suckers and chubs in the Spring. But I use bluegill thoughout the summer and fall and they work great. Little trick I do on the big gills is to cut the dorsal fin off so the won't jab the flats and the swim all mess up and the Flats think the are injuried and attack them
     
  4. lendog

    lendog New Member

    Messages:
    2,141
    State:
    berks, PA
    i mostly have been using gill, sunnies and a bass here and there, i'd like to use some trout this spring as long as they stay alive in my bait tank
     
  5. readingcatfisher

    readingcatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    State:
    Berks coun
    How does that work with cuttin the fin do you trim the tail at all?
     
  6. BobbyLee

    BobbyLee New Member

    Messages:
    858
    State:
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Good post Tan. What you say definitely makes sense. Slender baits for spring after wintering, probally easier for them to digest after being dormant. Followed up by bigger baits as the season moves on. Then to a soft bait as they settle in again.
     
  7. catfish chaser

    catfish chaser New Member

    Messages:
    674
    State:
    miamisburg, oh
    NO I don't trim anything off the tail at all. I just use a pair kitchen shears and cut the spikes off.
     
  8. mankind

    mankind New Member

    Messages:
    1,627
    State:
    ashland ky
    i live and die with bluegill alive,i know flats eat about anything they can get so i guess ita what you have confindence in (anything long as its a bluegill):smile2:
     
  9. waynesburgjay

    waynesburgjay New Member

    Messages:
    1,960
    State:
    Pennsylvan
    I like creek chubs in the spring and fall, and bluegill or anything I can get on a hook in summer.
     
  10. j.bridges

    j.bridges Active Member

    Messages:
    878
    State:
    arab,alabama
    I don't chase flatheads on a regular basis but I have my best luck in the spring time on cut skipjack...:wink:
     
  11. whiteriverbigcats

    whiteriverbigcats New Member

    Messages:
    3,452
    State:
    Indiana
    Have only caught 1 Flattie on skipjack. But love to use Blue gills and creek chubs spring to fall
     
  12. jason berry

    jason berry New Member

    Messages:
    819
    State:
    Evansville
    I love using fresh cut skipjack but in the spring on the Ohio River I use baby carp. I seem to catch them in the throw nets more this time of the year and thats probably why the flats like them. I think it depends alot on the water you fish but I would have to say baby carp in the spring for my water.
     
  13. tunnel hull

    tunnel hull New Member

    Messages:
    230
    State:
    SO.il.
    for me it depends what there is more of in what ever body of water i fish . if try'n to catch bait i catch gills i use'm if i catch bulls i use them .a seems to me if there is more readaly avalible food of one certain kind than a nother use it. Itry to catch my bait in or around the area i flathead fish. DARN good post thanx for the info peoples
     
  14. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,227
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    I try to take a variety of live baits (bluegills,suckers,creek chubs) each outing, seems those flatties can be turned on to one bait to the next overnight. Also, I use cut bluegills and cut carp before spawn.
     
  15. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P

    Have you ever had the night when they ate one kind of bait and wouln't touch another?

    There were many nights in the summer of 2008 when they would only take bass and suckers but wouldn't touch the bluegills.
     
  16. kenlaw76

    kenlaw76 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,323
    State:
    S.E. Pa.
    I love using big gills and crappie in the spring. I use gills and bullheads in the summer and suckers mostly in the fall.
     
  17. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    I use live sunfish from late spring through early fall. I have caught a few on cut baits in the later fall (once the water temps drop back to about 70 or below), and I'm planning to try cutbait again this spring. Basically, for me, I stick with the live bluegills and red breast, but stretch the season with cut bait when the livies are hard to get.
     
  18. SkiMax

    SkiMax Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,012
    State:
    Rising Sun, IN
    I grew up fishing the Ohio River and a nice lively shad about 6-8 inches was always the best producer for me on big flatheads. I figure this is because it is the most abundant baitfish in the Ohio River and flatheads are really keyed in on them about all year. They also tend to hand where the shad do, in some slackwater and big brushpiles that break up current.

    In the spring, when the flatties are moving into the backwater to spawn, I do like a bluegill kicking around. They can be especially good at the mouth of the creeks to catch the flatheads moving in and out.
     
  19. upncomincatfishking

    upncomincatfishking New Member

    Messages:
    415
    State:
    Cheviot Ohio
    I have to dis agree I found that warmouths(blugills) and crappie arevthe best bait for them no matter wat season
     
  20. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    Chubs and suckers around here spawn in the early cold water (late march they start moving towards creeks). So April and May is a good time to use them on the river. They are slender & tender lol. This is also the best time to use live shad if you can keep them alive till you can cast them out. They just travel better in basic livewells and buckets when the water temp is 60 or under. I also prefer crappies this time of year.

    Once the river temp is 70 and over anything I catch is fair game for bait. Gills, crappie, shad, bass, bullheads, baby channels,drum, carp, goldfish, rock bass ...etc.

    In the fall I lean back towards crappie and shad again as frontrunners, but the same summer species go into the bait bucket also. I just try to downsize them an inch or two.

    Sometime in late oct thru dec I use strictly cut shad for flatheads and switch to daytime fishing. I pretty much stop targeting flats once the water temp gets below 45. Then I switch to channels and blues.