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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was fishing one of my honey holes all day yesterday, getting tiney bites non stop. obviously these were very small catfish hitting my bait.

I usually don’t set the hook with these small fish, because I use 2-inch hooks, and don’t want to risk taking an eye out or hurting it.
Or the smaller fish will often peck at it like a bird, and 50% of the time the hook wont set anyway, and it wastes bait.

My question is, i know we all have time limits on how long we'll wait for a bite before moving to another location. But do any of you have limits on how long you put up with the small schools hitting ur bait, before moving to search for larger fish?

Usually if I sit and wait it out, the bigger cats will move in eventually. But this wasn’t the case yesterday. I sat it out all day and didn’t get a single bite that was worth pulling in.

I assume a small bite is better than no bite. But is it?
 

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i catch a few little cats or get those little pecking nibbles over the period of a few hours, and i'll move. a lot of the time though, the bigger ones will move in where the smaller ones are feeding, so that's why i stay put for a while. i use big chunks of cut shad or carp, so most of the time the little ones are not a problem anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea, maybe the water tempt is still too low for the big ones in this specific spot i was in. Because the big ones never came in. I too use big bait, but those little ones were all over it allll day long. It drove me nuts because i felt like i couldnt take my eye off the tip of my rod, thinking any minute i was going to get a bite worth pulling in.
They were teasing me all day. But i didnt want to move, for i felt the big ones were due any moment. So i pretty much spent all day watching those little hits.
 

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Allen,
Just because the bite isn't big doesn't mean the fish is small. I'm not sure what method of fishing your doing, but channel cats can be very sensitive to line pressure. They will often spit the bait as soon as they feel any resistance. Often times the smaller fish will hit more agressively than larger fish because of the competition from all of the others. I set the hook on any bite big or small. You never really know how big that fish is until you get him in the boat. When fishing baited holes straight down, they will often bite as light as a crappie. Any little bump, tap or heavy feeling could be a 10" fish or a 10 pounder. If I'm fishing shallow water with rods in the rod holders I'll do things a bit different. If a bait clicker just get's a short burst it's usually a channel cat. I'll pick that rod up and give it about 2 feet of slack and watch the line. The fish will usually come back and hit the bait again, but this time there is no resistance with a carolina rig and the slack in the line. I let him take the line until it's almost tight and then cross his eyes or let the rod load up if using a circle hook. I hope this helps you a bit. Let me know if you have any more questions. I'll help you out as much as I can.
 

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i have learned that the big ones hit very slow i can watch my pole bend very slowly then stop then start again then i set the hook but the eaters will take off like a bag in the wind
are you sure the bite were not blue gill or carp or bullheads hitting your bait
 

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Like others have said just because the bite is light does not mean the fish is not. As far as the hook in the eye goes. The fish could be 20 pounds and you still can get it in the eye. It's just part of fishing. It sucks but it happens. Go to a smaller hook and see what's bitting.
 

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I feel your angst - the whole staring at the pole thing for hours makes me dizzy on the drive home. When I use worms this kills me but if I'm using cut I figure its a turtle trying to get a bite to eat. What I do is drop down to a smaller hook on one of my rods to make sure it isn't a bigger fish trying to outsmart me. I'll bring in little fish 75% of the time. But every now and then I'll get a bigger fish, even on a smaller hook. Plus...catching little ones can be somewhat fun and you're learning something new while not getting sick from staring at your pole thats getting nibbled at for hours. All fishing is fun right? lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yea, ya'll have a good point about the tension on my line. Some of them may have been worth pulling in, but may be getting spooked from the line tension..

When im in deeper water I fish straight down, with my bait about 5 inches off the bottom. I think my sinker was a little too big, and may have been spooking them when they were hitting the bait.


We had a lot of rain this last weekend. So after each rain i went out, but this time I used a bobber, removed the sinker, and moved in shallow.

Caught 8 fish all between 5 - 7 lbs each. Sure is easier watching a bobber than the tip of an ugly stick lol.
 

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Yea, ya'll have a good point about the tension on my line. Some of them may have been worth pulling in, but may be getting spooked from the line tension..

When im in deeper water I fish straight down, with my bait about 5 inches off the bottom. I think my sinker was a little too big, and may have been spooking them when they were hitting the bait.


We had a lot of rain this last weekend. So after each rain i went out, but this time I used a bobber, removed the sinker, and moved in shallow.

Caught 8 fish all between 5 - 7 lbs each. Sure is easier watching a bobber than the tip of an ugly stick lol.
try a bobber with a brain they are great for cats
 

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"...do any of you have limits on how long you put up with the small schools hitting ur bait, before moving to search for larger fish?..."

If you are after trophy fish then you need to move away if smaller fish are all that you are catching. Generally, the bigger fish will not be in the same area with smaller fish.

One thing to remember; if you are getting pecked to death then all of a sudden it stops, STAY PUT! Bigger fish may have moved in a scared off the smaller fish.
 
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