Discussion in 'Catfishing Baits' started by catfisherman369, May 28, 2009.

  1. catfisherman369

    catfisherman369 Floyd

    Nashville Il.
    When it's big cats you're after nothing beats live fish for bait. And among the various types of fish you can use, few are as productive as shad and herring. Many varieties can be used, like gizzard or threadfin shad and skipjack or blueback herring.

    In some areas, you can buy these baitfish, but in most cases, you have to catch your own. Using a cast net is one effective method, so it's worthwhile to purchase one and learn to use it. A cast net tossed out near shore a few times often brings in dozens of shad or herring.

    Sabiki rigs also are great tools for catching shad and herring. These are pre-tied rigs that have a main line from which several dropper lines are attached. At the end of each dropper line is a small lure with a tiny hook and a body made of feathers or plastic. A swivel at the main line's end provides a place to tie a sinker so the rig can be dropped quickly to the bottom. If you place the rig in the neighborhood of shad or herring, they're quick to strike the tiny lures, and it's not unusual to bring up three or four baitfish at a time.

    Shad and herring are sensitive and die easily. To keep them healthy, place them in cool, highly oxygenated water. Use a large, round, well-insulated, aerated tank with cool stream or lake water, or rig a perforated garbage can to carry them alongside your boat. A gallon of water supports about four large baitfish.

    A simple egg-sinker rig works great when fishing with these minnows. Put a 1- to 2-ounce egg sinker on your main line and tie a barrel swivel below it. Tie a 3-foot leader to the swivel, and a 3/0 gold Aberdeen hook to the leader. The Aberdeen, which has finer wire than most types, allows you to hook these baitfish behind the dorsal fin or through the lips with little damage that could kill the bait. Sink the rig to the bottom near a channel, hump, riprap or other catfish-attracting cover or structure, and set the bait clicker on your reel to signal when a cat takes the minnow