The Great Bait Debate!

Discussion in 'LOCAL OHIO TALK' started by catfishrollo, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Well, I have many opinions on bait selections when it comes to the flathead catfish. But, the only one that matters to me really is that it has to be lively if using livebaits! I have heard the arguments, and those that are sold on one bait over another. Some spend there pay check on buying goldfish, others like shiners. From my findings on flatheads, they don't distinguish much when they are feeding. I have caught many nice flatheads on a variety of baits including smallmouth, green sunfish, red ear bluegills, warmouth, creek chubs, shiners, bullheads, carp, largemouth bass, crappies.. And I usually take a variety of them every trip I go throughout the year. But, I can't honestly ever say that one of them was better than the other when considering the species. However, the ones that are more active seem to be more productive when drawing attention to them. That' how I get my opinions on baits such as the bullheads, green sunfish, and small mouth bass. Trust me a flathead is not going to swim up to any bait if he is in the feeding mood and say, "I don't think I want a bluegill tonight". " I think I will go look for a crappie". lol.. They are looking for a vulnerable prey, thats easy to ambush! When I first started flathead fishing years ago, I use to bring my big flats home, and put them into the holding tank to get good pic.s the next day. Not something I have done for years now, due to learning more about proper CPR, but more than once I would come out in the morning to see a 12-15 in. channel cat that a 30 pound flat had puked up over night from the stresses of captivity. So, when coming to the livebaits, im sure scent has some to do with it, and indeginous baits probably have some influence in some river and lake systems, but... im not sold on one bait as being gold over all other baits! I think if you are considering anything besides how lively your bait is, maybe the size you are offering may be a consideration. Like all other gamefish, they aren't always wanting a big meal ! So shoot your debate and opinions on this one, but its gonna take alot of convincing me different! LOL:big_smile: rollo
     
  2. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    My experience is lacking in fishing for Flatheads, but basically catfishing is still catfishing .... I believe the type of live bait is less relevent than presentation and as they say, location, location, location. You can have the best bait in the world and if you are 20 feet away from the fish you may never attract him to it. But .... if that fish is hungry and you present the worst bait in the world to him correctly ... well ... more than likely he will take it. ........ Garry- :cool2:


    "That is my opinion and I am sticking to it"
     

  3. bigfish08

    bigfish08 New Member

    Messages:
    375
    State:
    ohio
    ive had nights where they wont touch a bluegill however a sucker wont be in the water long at all before a flat eats him, i agree that presentation matters more, but some nights there is a big difference..
     
  4. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    i think the nights you are talking about have more to do with the appetite. I have had nights where they have been finicky eaters, wanting a small meal. early and late in the year especially. smaller slender baits have been the ticket. Sometimes during the mid-summer droughts we often get, and water temps. are booming they seem to want smaller baits. what im wanting here, is for someone to try to convince me that a bait is better on an average of every night! I understand we can't distinguish the unknown, but when you have caught so many big flats over the years on a variety of species, I can't say that they have a tremendous amount of preference, and most of the time will eat what is presented to them as injured or vulnerable..rollo
     
  5. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    beleive it or not Flatheads CAN be picky at times. there are times when the shad are spawning or hatching on the GMR and they will touch nothing but a shad. many times during late fall (on the lower GMR where white bass exist) i have seen them eat nothing but white bass, live or cut. you throw a 'gill, shad, carp, anything but a white bass and you will get nothing. one of my best trips ever was when they were gorging on white bass. we had over 40 green suunfish on that trip but ended up scrambling around all day trying to catch WB to use for bait. i think we caught a fish on 1 green sunfish that day. when we ran out of WB we baited up with the greenies......not a run! as soon as one of us got a WB and chunked it up (or used it whole) it wouldnt set on the bottom for 2 minutes before it was gone. also have a unique spot where they prefer Bullheads for some reason. you will get fish on other baits, may take a while but man a bullhead wont last 15 minutes. there isnt a particular bait that is better at ALL times, but when certain baits are more abundant, or on their anual "runs" those baits will out-produce others.
     
  6. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    that is a very good observation dink. And I do agree. For instance, when the flatheads are in late pre-spawn- spawn, I have had great luck with bullheads, i dunno if it is because bullheads are known to raid nests? Or, if they just seem to get more aggressive with them then. Likesaid, early spring like here in a few weeks, my first few early season flats seem to prefer small creek chubs and shiners. I think small shad will be a good spring bait also, gonna try them more here soon. I have brought this post up for opinion, because I have been arguing with a few people about this topic for a while. I'm not sold on one bait being better than another all the time either, I do agree with the seasonal movements of the baitfish. But, some beg to say that "goldfish" are better anytime throughout the year, or" a creek chub" may be. I just have not seen the evidence to convince me that.. Thanks for the posts so far....rollo
     
  7. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    I think that being in the right place at the right time is more important than what kind of bait. I do believe that sometimes flatheads will eat whatever they find an easy meal. My personal best was caught on 8 nightcrawlers wadded up on a hook ...but they were very lively and I was very lucky. I do like to fish with bluegils or their cousin the pumkin seed that has a lot of the orange color on it. I have probably caught more flatheads on this live bait than all the others baits I have used. I dont know if the orange color has anything to do with it, but it might. Just my 2-cents:smile2:
     
  8. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    the spot i have where bullheads work best is right below a lowhead dam and is absolutely loaded with tiny channel cats, i have a hunch that is why they prefer bullheads there. who knows, i have yet to try it but channels may be even better. as for chubs, there is something about chubs, especially chub heads. think there is some kind of "scent" or "amino" a cut chub head puts off. many times have i been using a chub, it dies, and i whack off the head and use it do i imediately get a flathead, siometimes several off the same head. when i used to "paylake" chub heads were a go-to bait for both blues and Flatheads, far outproducing anything else including shad. i like to use creek chubs but they die really easy and are magnets for channels, saugeye, and especially the dreaded softshell turtle:eek:oooh:.
     
  9. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    State:
    SW Ohio
    C'mon Dink, admit it, you cant wait to neck wrangle a big ole stinky softshell!! I can see it in your eyes...:crazy: I mention "TER-TAL" and you get that glazed over look, like puppy love. Before long you'll be belly rubbing a big ole snapper to sleep! Hang in there dude! another 4 weeks and you will be back on your game! :wink:

    Salmonid
     
  10. cats gone wild

    cats gone wild Member

    Messages:
    452
    State:
    canal winchester, ohio
    I'm new to the flathead gig so I have'nt had too much time to experiment with different baits. My biggest enemies are time and location.I can only fish one day a week and my spot is a good hour drive. With that said I use what I can get, mainly bluegills and goldfish. But this year I am making a bait tank so that will allow me to keep baits at home. This should help me with the time factor and it will give me the chance to use a variety of baits.
     
  11. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    soft shells!!! the most wrecking thing of any night! I have a great spot to catch flatheads, but you can NOT use chubs there. I have never saw so many soft shells!!! I went through there one day a couple a years ago in the spring, there must have been 20 or more laying on a sand bar! There are good fish in this spot, but I have to use baits that they won't mess with like bullheads and smallmouths. I once caught 4 of them in a little over an hour there, and had to leave:smile2: rollo
     
  12. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    Location matters much more than bait..If you dont have a good spot the best of live baits aint gonna produce..I would rather fish a killer spot with nightcrawlers, than a bad spot with good live bait.
     
  13. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    first off rollo, great thread!

    i do believe what dink said about sertain times and certain baits. fortunatly those times are few in my waters. i use gills almost exsclusivly. the reason is they are easy to get. i used to go creek hoping for chubs all the time but gas has put an end to that. i really like the smell factor of some baits though. stinky oily fish like shad skippies and chubs leave a stronger sent trail in my opinion. there for they would produce better when they are in a neutral mood,and it takes a good smell to coax them out of a jamb in the daytime. i also am a firm believer in location like jack said! you just cant catch fish that arent there. i am going to use more shad this year though and a few chubs and skippies too. i really dont buy into the native bait thing at all. i have proved that wrong on many ocassions with skipjacks from the ohio! no waters havve skippies up here but the channelcats plain tore them up last year. they out produced other baits like carp sucker danny kings liver gill chunks.........5-1. time after time they were the bait of choice! i did not try them for flatheads but will this year, if i can get some that is. its very hard for me to stray from my gills while flathading though. that confidence thing you know.

    very interesting thread and informative! thx again rollo
     
  14. catfishlarryiowa

    catfishlarryiowa New Member

    Messages:
    164
    State:
    Iowa
     
  15. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    Hey Jason ... should take along a burlap bag and keep a couple of the larger softshells ... they can be some fine eating ..... Garry- :cool2:
     
  16. joadb

    joadb Member

    Messages:
    286
    State:
    Clinton, Ohio,
    my first day i ever fished the ohio river i bought $20 worth of live suckers to use for bait.after about two hours of no bites i cut up a skipjack that my daughter caught and threw that out.same spot on the river.within 20 minutes i caught my PB flathead 35lbs.i have not caught a large flathead on cut bait since then,though i have caught smaller ones.live,large skipjack or white bass,caught from the same waterway,have been the most productive baits for me.
     
  17. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    once again for the people jumping the thread, the question is... do you think ONE LIVE bait is a definete better live bait for all year? NO CUTS. NOT TALKING LOCATIONS, im wanting to know a specific species you may think is better than another, and why? no disrespect to the other posts, but i want to be firm on my question!....rollo
     
  18. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    the reason is for an example, im yet to go out with a variety of baits, fishing all these spots, and been able to say year after year a certain bait produces more and bigger flats than another. maybe my thread wasn't direct enough, I understand about seasons and baits, Im wanting a BAIT for all!!! IM not doing this because I believe, just soley to prove my point along with most of yours there isn't a proven bait for all seasons!!!! rollo
     
  19. x smokin joe

    x smokin joe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,123
    State:
    Monclova,
    Name:
    Joe
    I would have to go with bullheads. Their being tough to get off the hook and durability and that they catch fish says it all.
     
  20. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    Here is something that might make you think..I was fishing a spillway several years ago, the shad were so think you could pratically walk across the water on them.

    I was fishing live and cut shad and could not get a hit.

    A guy beside me was using red worms and caught 3 over 40-lbs, I saw him do it.