trophy flathead catfish prefer dead bait

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by flathunter, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    Got your attention:smile2:

    7 years ago, I switched to cut bait for flatheads, and have never looked back.

    I made the switch one night while fishing a deep hole below a riffle.

    I was fishing two 8 inch suckers, and had no hits in 3 hrs...I decided to change over to bluegills and thought what the heck I will cut one of these suckers up.

    So I cut the head off one sucker, and before I even had my 2nd rod baited I had hooked a 50-lb flathead, in the exact same spot that the live was getting no action.

    Thru the years I have experimented more, fishing cut bait mainly shad heads side by side with live bait...the flatheads chose the cut bait 100 percent of the time.

    Now I would catch the occasional dink fllathead on live bait, but the big boys wanted the cut bait.

    In the past 3 years 6 flatheads over 40-lbs and 2 over 50-lbs, with a bunch of 30-lbers all on fresh cutbait.

    Now this is in rivers, I dont know how lake flatheads react for cut bait.

    For me anyway, cut bait is the way to go for monster flatheads, and it is much easier to just carry a cooler with ice and a bag of shad, than carrying and keeping live bait alive.
     
  2. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    State:
    sc
    Oh no Jack...you cant do that...they gotta be alive,,,after all, that's what everyone says ; )

    I'm with ya in this...cutbait works for flats. I think only one of my flats were caught on live ...the rest were caught on fresh killed bait.
     

  3. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    Messages:
    4,451
    State:
    South Caro
    I agree that they love cut bait. There's plenty who will argue with you, and there are exceptions to the rule.

    Bill in SC
     
  4. LOWCOUNTRY CATMAN

    LOWCOUNTRY CATMAN New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    sc
    Well,You just convinced me to hold off on getting and making a live bait bucket.I prefer cutbait anyway.Thanks for the tip.As you said,much easier just lugging the bait cooler....no worries.
     
  5. Gills4Flats

    Gills4Flats New Member

    Messages:
    12
    State:
    Tennessee
    Heads YES, but not much else will attract the biggens, I love fishing with heads.
     
  6. LOWCOUNTRY CATMAN

    LOWCOUNTRY CATMAN New Member

    Messages:
    517
    State:
    sc
  7. 1mickymoo

    1mickymoo New Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Edgerton, Kansas
    I think it's good advice. Glad you mentioned river vs. lake, because, I believe live is essential for lakes(not that the don't eat cut on lakes).
     
  8. waynesburgjay

    waynesburgjay New Member

    Messages:
    1,960
    State:
    Pennsylvan
    I caught my bigger fish this year on cut trout..Love that stuff.
     
  9. lforet2002

    lforet2002 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,534
    State:
    Tennessee
    Although I haven't been much of a flathead fisherman the few that I have caught were all caught on cut bait.
     
  10. KATTERMAN

    KATTERMAN New Member

    Messages:
    182
    State:
    OKLA
    How do you place the hook in there head just thru the lips,eyes,ect..
     
  11. WayneV

    WayneV Member

    Messages:
    114
    State:
    Pennsylvania
    I like using cut in current so it flutters off the bottom. But when the water aint movin I prefer live except if im floatin it on a slip bobber rig.
     
  12. Bigfish4me

    Bigfish4me New Member

    Messages:
    161
    State:
    Conshy Pa
    I couldnt agree more, FRESH cut bait cant be beat.
     
  13. hereflattieflattie

    hereflattieflattie New Member

    Messages:
    50
    State:
    Missouri
    Well, I'm going to have to try cut bait more for Flatties. My guess is that the cut bait moves a bit in the current triggering strikes. That would explain why most do better on live bait in lakes or calm water. I will try it on the rivers I fish.
     
  14. cat-tracker

    cat-tracker New Member

    Messages:
    91
    State:
    arizona
    It would seem easier for flats to hit cut bait than live bait. I agree on the river but the lake would be different, you probably need some current to get the bait floating up to entice the flatties or put a float on it. Probably can fish in the river channel of the lake with cut bait, should give it a try. Thanks for the information Jack
     
  15. DTro

    DTro Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    Minnesota
    IMO, it's a tale of two seasons. Pre and post spawn.

    I think pre-spawn flats tend to prefer the live bait. They are out there in the cool oxygenated water on the move and on the prowl and they don't want to spend the time competing with everything else looking for an easy dead meal.

    Post spawn flats are dealing with lower warmer water which has less oxygen. They are moving much less and sometimes spending only an hour a day eating. They don't want to expend any extra energy. So if you place a big piece of cutbait in front of them they will no doubt prefer that over something they have to chase. Plus there is this years bait fish everywhere. Food is plenty.

    It has been very obvious in the several years I've been chasing these fish that, there is a point in the year where cutbait is king.
     
  16. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    State:
    Louisville, Ken
    Jack ,,Good Info Bro. reps to ya.:wink:

    By the below statement, it sounds like you were fishing a smaller river in which you can target your fishing areas. I like that, lets you figure out your plan of attack:wink:

    QUOTE- made the switch one night while fishing a deep hole below a riffle.
    ................

    Now this is a pretty good record below Bro.

    QUOTE-In the past 3 years 6 flatheads over 40-lbs and 2 over 50-lbs, with a bunch of 30-lbers all on fresh cutbait.
    ................

    I have fished some of the smaller rivers, but never tried the cut bait,( Be sure I will in the future) Out of all the 30+ yrs I've caught 1 flathead I can remember on a crappie head in lakes, all of them were useing live bait.( There just might be something too this for some strange reason) I've caught so many Blues and Channels on them heads I couldn't begin to count:smile2:

    QUOTE-Now this is in rivers, I dont know how lake flatheads react for cut bait.
     
  17. hock_paul

    hock_paul New Member

    Messages:
    246
    State:
    illinois
    I've personally had more success on live bait over cut, but I have caught quite a few on cut shad heads. I almost always put cut and live out in the same hole. This theory does make sense because, although they are primarily built for engulfing live baits, they are still opportunistic feeders. Channel catfish have over 140 folds in their olfactory pits(the organ used by catfish and all fish for their sense of smell-the number relating to the sharpness of this sense) which are the most in any freshwater fish in north america by a landslide.(bass have 8-13, rainbow trout have 18). The flathead catfish is not far behind though with 110-125 folds. They can smell the bodily fluids and amino acids dispersing off of a freshly killed baitfish almost as well as a channel catfish, which is well renowned for smelling baits from long distances and in very few parts per million in dillutidity.
    I'm very curious to see when and how you fish these baits for trophy flatheads. I'd bet that you fish during daylight hours with your baits right up in the cover(logs, rocks, etc.)on small to medium sized rivers. Flathead catfish, as mentioned before, are oppurtunistic feeders and I don't think would soon pass up a free meal if it's put right in their face. This is how I fish most of the time with my livebaits, but I can see how using cutbait in this situation could have it's advantages, besides having a livebait trying to hang you up in every little branch that you fish it in.
    I use cutbaits primarily in the spring and fall when flatheads metabolism is not at peak and their digestive systems can't handle a big scaley bait. This is a good insight though and I think that I might try it more often during the summer peak and see how it works for me. Any knowledge shared from other fisherman is just one more check mark on my side of the advantage box! GOOD POST and GOOD LUCK!:wink:
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  18. bw69r

    bw69r Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,816
    State:
    West Newton, PA
    he fishes at night.
     
  19. bigd4xman

    bigd4xman New Member

    Messages:
    241
    State:
    Haysville, KS
    After fishing last weekend with cut and live side by side with both cats and flats biting the cut bait every time I came to the same conclusion. I was below a spillway, plenty of current and directly above a short riffle.
    GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN FISHIN'!!!:cool2:
     
  20. Catmanblues

    Catmanblues New Member

    Messages:
    2,224
    State:
    S.E Ohio
    Jack I have been fishing an nothing hit live bait. Took it an made cut out of it an bingo big flatty on. I believe your correct in the bigger fish like/prefer cut baits.