What's Your Favorite Bait Catching Method?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by Catcaller, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I use several methods to catch my bait for catfish...as I am attracted to the more reasonable pricing of catch your own...as well as it's part of the fun of the whole experience.

    Sometimes it pays to have a plan "B"..."C"...and even a "D" plan when it comes to bait. Catfish appreciate a buffet every bit as much as we do during steak nite at Golden Corral.

    There are those days when a catfish of any species will want ONE certain thing...and more often than not...that can change daily...sometimes hourly.

    Black perch or pumkinseed are my fav due to their tendecy to be hardy on the hook...and are widely known for their survivability of extended soaks....as well as their ready availability.

    Trapping is an easy way to load up on perch of any species. Just locate a likely perch hole...ones with weeds, moss, brush, and clear water with a black bottom...load up the trap with bread crumbs or pieces of raw bacon...and soak your traps for 12-24 hours.

    If there's a known healthy population where you're trapping...run it sooner...but don't disturb the location too much or you'll spook them.

    Rod and reel...4 lb flourocarbon line...with a small #10 aberdeen hook...under a very small bobber..and baited with a chunk of nightcrawler is old faithful...although it takes much longer to build up a good bait supply for a whole weekend. But if 3 or 4 dozen is all you seek...it can be attained within an hour or two if you're in the right spot.

    I use 4 collapsable net trap with a throat at each end...they're wonderful for packing them through brush and up and down hills....and are extremely effective if deployed correctly. (And not only for perch...but for wild shiners, chubs, bass, ect.)

    I have a 25 gallon aqarium with a Frabill 110 volt aereator I use to keep my bait alive in the garage...and a Frabill 12 Volt aereator I use with a 6 gallon insulated bucket for field use.

    I also love to use soft shelled crawfish for channel...as a great MANY of the channel I clean from our strip pits are typically gourged with softies.

    A seine is the most effective method IMO...but trapping works as well.

    A small piece of steel mesh with a handle on each side will produce ample amounts of soft shells in any roadside ditch or whistle. Just scrape it around in the weeds at the water level and you'll be simply amazed at how many crawdads you'll put in your bucket.

    A similar piece of mesh with handles on it will catch hellgramites in the rivers as one person flips rocks, and the other stands downstream with the net catching the biting little sobs. (They are DYNAMITE channel bait during the hatch...but they're hell on your fingers if you're wade fishing at nite time, and are keeping them in a bucket hanging from around your neck.)

    Spring peepers are similarly good stuff. We cruise around on the country roads at nighttime through marshy/swampy areas searching for them with the headlites of the truck...and then sending the kids out from the back of the truck to catch them with their nets as we laugh our a$$es off. And YES...this IS where rednecks come from. :wink:

    Catalpa worms are good bait at times...but even better is to find an area with Catalpa trees along the waters edge. The channel will cruise these areas looking for unfortunate worms that have fallen into the water...but they're not picky.

    That mesh net with handles works great for catching grasshoppers as well in high grass.

    During early spring runoff it's tough to beat a big ball of night crawlers or sod worms tossed weightless on a hook into current, or along the edges of weedlines in a pond or a lake.

    Digging is the obvious method...but good timing after a soaking rain will allow you to pick them up off the surface when they get flooded out of their holes.

    I am an avid bowfisherman as well...and using gar eggs is another great cat bait...as well as the spoonbill eggs that I get by the 5 gal bucketfulls during snagging season.

    Tough to beat a throw net for acquiring as many shad as a guy could ever hope to possibly use in one sitting. Live, cut, guts, sides...it's all good stuff.

    Are there any other methods I didn't cover...but should be trying?

    A guy can never have too many avenues for aquiring bait...what's your method?
  2. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Outstanding post Brian, with a lot of good info! IMO, you are a professional. You’re right about getting the bait is half the fun. When my kids (and me) were younger we’ve went out picking up toads or crawlers on those rainy spring nights; or rod & reeling for gills; or running through the field with the seine for grasshoppers; climbing the catalpa tree and shaking the worms off; or seining the creek for crawdads and baitfish; etc., etc..

    I raised rabbits for years and the manure is some wonderful stuff; for fishing and the garden. I kept sawdust from the lumbermill (along with leaves and other stuff) beneath the cages in order to soak up the urine and mix with droppings, and what a worm farm it panned out to be! There was some sort of very lively, ringed earthworm that I’ve never seen before that got established and was some excellent bait.

    I never did the helgramite thing, but I don’t know if they’re common around here.

    Tell me how you use gar eggs, or any fish eggs, for bait, please. That sounds interesting.

    I got one for you. Did you ever place some Japanese beetle trap lure in a tree limb overhanging the water? Preferrably a willow tree. Hehe, EVERYTHING in the water will be there, like a box of chocolates.

  3. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    My favorite method of collecting bait is my cell phone. You may laugh, but it is the most efficient method I have ever found.

    Does my cell phone have a cast net in it? As many times as I've lost one due to water, you would think so but no!

    I dial a number and when someone answers, I say Hey is Jack there.... or... Is Tony there? Then I say, hey we're leaving the ramp at such and such a time and lo and behold, that bait just appears as does a stinky old fisherman but... we all have our crosses to bear lol!

    Seriously, I go fishing with a dozen crawlers, a cast net and some 1/4 oz jigs with chartreuse Mr Twisters.

    Works for me, although I am thinking of buying a shad "trawl".
  4. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    When we first moved to this house back in 1994, there was a hellacious rain that came through here.

    I was unpacking boxes in my garage as the rain sounded like it was going to beat a hole into the tin roof.

    From underneath the overhead door there were huge nightcrawlers coming inside the garage.

    After a lull in the storm...I couldn't find my flashlite...so I fired up my Coleman lantern and went outside to see if there were any more worms around the yard. (Which as I later figured out...the softer direct light of the lantern doesn't spook them back into their holes like a flashlite will)

    I ended up picking up 500 worms in less than an hour...at least.

    I had put wooden slats and bricks around my wifes small flower garden in the back of the house...and had dumped a load of mushroom compost into it to help things along.

    I dumped a nearly full 5 gallon bucket of crawlers into that garden.

    To this day...if a guy wants nightcrawlers to catch bait or fish with...all he's gotta do is grab the pitchfork, and in the name of "de-weeding" my wifes flower garden...he can get 5 dozen big ol' crawlers in a just few scoops.

    There is grub larvae that lives in there as well...great bait for jumbo bluegill or redear sunfish.

    I've become the master at making her garden look freshly tilled and de-weeded after I have pillaged it for fish bait...lol. Kinda kills two birds with one stone. :wink:

    As far as you having hellgramites...I'd bet you do. It's just a matter of finding them.

    Locate a shallow riffle...and start turning over rocks. My bet is that eventually you'll find them. (Check out the links below concerning hellgramites)

    I have been in the water wading around my fav riffle...and kept getting what felt like mosquito bites...yet they were occuring under the surface of the water.

    Finally...I lifted my leg up to see what it was that was biting me...and there was a little tiny hellgramite...still attached to my leg.

    Those mandibles of theirs as an adult will give ya a serious purple nurple if given half a chance. OUCH!! :eek:oooh:

    I haven't tried setting a beetle trap in a tree above where I'm fishing...but I will in the future...sounds like it'd work.

    And I wholeheartedly agree about the willow trees...I've had great success fishing underneath them in the past...and is still part of my arsenal.

    Ok...about the eggs.

    The key to being able to use egg sacks for bait is that with any species...the eggs MUST still be inside the egg sack, rather than being just about ready to be dropped and deposited.

    There is a window of opportunity here...and it means catching your bait source in its pre-spawn activity.

    Any egg sack will work...although some are superior when compared to others.

    I always manage to catch a few bonus channel or blues when whitebassing on WB egg sacks tossed out on a rod behind the boat while casting for WB/wiper.

    It also enables a guy to salvage one more thing when you're cleaning your catch. Waste not...want not is a good way to look at this...as the eggs are not used for anything else.

    IMO...the gar and spoonbill are the king. I prefer to stick my gar with a bow/arrow...mainly just because its fun.

    However snagging gar or catching them in the traditional manner is productive as well. Try tying on a strip of burlap cloth...and when they bite it...and they will when the time is right and they're feeding heavily before spawn...they'll get their teeth snagged up in the material good enough for you to get them in.

    A pitchfork in shallow water works as well...but usually by the time that they gather by the thousands in the shallow riffle to spawn...it's almost too late...you must act quickly to catch the eggs before they drop out of the egg sack.

    Also keep in mind that after they spawn the first time...many gar will have a second spawn...just not of the magnitude of the first one.

    Spoonbill...if you have them in your area...are a blast to snag...as some get upwards of 100 lb.

    Whatever your technique...catch your fish...then with a pair of tinsnips with a gar...or simply a sharp knife with the spoonie...cut open the gut pocket...taking special care not to rupture the eggs sack.

    There should be two sacks per fish...pinch it at both ends....and cut with your sharp knife.

    Take the egg sacks and spread them out in a cardboard flat in a single layer...and allow them to dry out for at least a few hours in the sun and/or wind. (Both preferably)

    I typically "cure" mine by leaving them out for a couple days if possible...this will toughen the egg sack itself...allowing the eggs to congeal together.

    Next...wrap the cured egg sacks in aluminum foil individually...and toss them into the freezer for future use.

    When you get some out to use...get them out well in advance so they'll thaw enough for them to be pliable....rather than frozen together.

    Set the package down on your cutting board...and slice the sack into appropriately sized portions to fit your hook.

    I have found that a good sized treble hook is best...but other types of hooks are do-able as well.

    Also...and this works with liver as well...when you tie on your hook...leave a "tag" end hanging off your knot. (Up to 12" long)

    After you thread the sliced up egg sack carefully onto your hook (Leaving the hook point exposed)...take the tag end and wrap it around the bait impaled on your hook to secure it in place.

    Just be careful to not cinch the tag too tightly after you've wrapped it...or you'll find that you cant untangle the mess after your bait is gone, and will need to retie.

    Also be wary of how hard you cast...the eggs are delicate...and will tend to fly off your hook if you heave it too hard. But on the other hand...the eggs will continously release off the hook when in the water...creating a chumming effect...especially so in current.

    I prefer to let the eggs drift downstream with the current...but if you must cast...do so with a lobbing motion rather than a line drive approach.

    This coming spring when the spoonbill start running...after I get my OWN digital camera for Christmas, (Momma for some reason doesn't like me taking our $700 Sony digital camera fishing with me...Lol) I'm planning to make a series of photo instructions outlining how to aquire, process, and use gar and spoonbill eggs for catfish bait....and then post it in a thread.

    Just as soon as the winter blues are gone... :sad2:...and the river comes back to life. :tounge_out:

    As far as that professional thing...I don't know about that Larry! I continue to shell out BIG bucks every year to pursue catfish as well as other species. If they were to send me a check for that...I'd be tickled pink! :wink:



  5. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Did you ever try to mix the eggs up in a dough bait? I would think it'd be a great scent using them fresh that way, which I'll probably try now.

    I can catch all the gar I want on limblines simply by fraying the nylon twine at the hook; their teeth tangles in it long enough for them to finally get hooked.

    I'm fat, lazy, older, and half-lame now, the kids are gone (except for the granddaughter I'm raising), and I don't pursue the live bait like I used to.

    This spring the wife and I ran 4 minnow traps, caught gills (my favorite bait for limblines, and catching on fly rod), and bought minnows by the hundred when we had to.

    But when we start trotlining I switch to boilies almost exclusively, with a 6/0 here and there baited with a gill or fiddler for flathead. We catch lots of buffalo suckers and channels this way along with a few flatheads.

    I bought a cast net and printed JD's(?) (dreadnaught) excellent how-to instructions to try my hand at castnetting but have yet to try it. (After I bought it I found the one I knew that I had somewhere, now I have two, unopened).
  6. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Greenup Co. KY
    That was a great post! Today I'd give anything to have some live bait. Me and Crab have tried to call every bait shop,pet store,pay pond etc. to find some gold fish or shiners. My cast net is at my Buddy's and I can't throw it anyway(back). We usually take live bait along with frozen skippies I have in the freezer. Can't find any worms to get gills or warmouth either...Don't look like we'll be going today.....:sad2:
  7. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I have not tried eggs in dough bait...but it does sound interesting. Worth a try...and I probably will.

    We have made some stuff we called putrid pudding a few times tho. And believe me...the name is fitting. :eek:oooh:

    We'd take shad and leave them out in the sun in a plastic bag...so the juices would start flowing freely...load the following up in the blender...throw in old chicken livers...a few shad...alot of juice...fish eggs...and trout guts. Press the button...and vala!

    There you have the MOST disgusting pasty looking substance known to man.

    Let it sit out long enough to properly congeal...it'll crust over...then wrap the container in foil...freeze it...mix it up when you thaw it out...and use as a dip bait in farm ponds and strip pits.

    It works...but I take no responsibility for what happens if you use your wifes good blender....or if your freezer goes out and the pudding thaws out. :eek:oooh:

    Lol...when i first started throw netting...I did just what I thought I should be by following the instructions without any tips or advice.

    It didn't fly to say the least.

    My cousin later showed me how he does it...and within 15 minutes...I too was getting perfect spread...and have ever since.

    Early in the spring we get these little fellas at the dam that school up...they're anywhere from 4"-10" long...they're grey...have large scales...and a sucker looking mouth....and are fairly hardy on the hook. (But they aren't carp or buffalo)

    I generally catch them in shallow current seams in the rip rap right next to the dam...or off the tops of rockpiles out further in the channel.

    I've been told that they are river chubs...but don't know for sure.

    I've fished black perch, wild shiners, and creek chubs side by side with these baitfish...and they ALWAYS out perform.

    The first channel I catch of the year by the dam...typically in mid to late February...is on these baitfish.

    They go away before the action gets really heated there at the dam...but they sure are good bait while they last.
  8. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    …the Japanese beetle trap you put in the chicken pen in May is still there (first photo). The poor dumb chickens still hover around it in anticipation; anyway, during the six weeks the beetles are out it provides them with some extra protein, physical exercise, and breaks the boredom. If you find the right tree that’s overhanging the water the bait needs to be in place (around here) about the end of May. A willow is best because the beetles love it and they will get on the whole tree eating and not just cluster around the lure. It lasts about six weeks with 2 weeks in the middle of June being the peak. Darn good fly rod action. But count on others finding and fishing the spot also; no way around it.

    Second photo: Catalpa worms on my tree. Somewhere I’ve got a picture of the Catalpa tree in full bloom, and I can’t find it. They’re beautiful when blooming. This tree was about 5’ tall when I transplanted it to my place in 1991(?) and is about 35’ tall now, they grow fast.

    Third photo: The harvest.

    Attached Files:

  9. River_monster91

    River_monster91 New Member

    central kansas
    eh. since i cant throw a throw net (wich is pretty sad i know) i usually just buy the goldfish at the bait shop, catch the crawdeds by hand in a local pond, and use an ultra light pole to catch gills and crappie.
  10. postbeetle

    postbeetle New Member

    Here in my neck of the woods Catalpas are very common. Our off the boat ancestors frequently planted groves of them when they came. There is some medicinal value to them. Don't know what. They are dying out, because people won't plant them. When I ran a nursery, I pushed them on people. They are a hardy, long lived and beautiful tree when in bloom. I see you kept some leaves with them to keep them more viable.

    When you talk Japanese beetles "Kentuck" I assume they are what we call "June bugs". They are the adult of grubs that kill patches in your lawns. Skunks here love digging the grubs up during the year.

    Just as an addition to you guys good thoughts. We have here mulberries. Mulberries are wild. If they overhang a river or empoundment the catfish are under them like they are under cormorant or heron roosts.
  11. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    When you talk Japanese beetles "Kentuck" I assume they are what we call "June bugs".

    Absolutely not. June bugs are native here, Japanese Beetles are destructive invasive immigrants from, guess where. I'm not bothering to google this, I'm just gonna go on what memory I have left. They got started over here from some shrubs or somethin like that from Japan back in the 30's or 40's around D.C. and spread like wildfire. They eat just about anything but they have their preferences. One of the reasons I don't grow sweet corn now (besides deer) is they love corn silks and will devour the silks during the pollination stage resulting in cobs with half the corn. If they were in Iowa there's not a doubt in my mind you would know exactly what they are. But oddly enough their population has been drastically reduced within the past few years for reasons I'm not sure of. I know that hot dry summers wrecks havoc on their reproduction cycle, and that may be what's happened. We had La Nina conditions in 99-2000 (drought)(as in this year) and they have not been as plentiful since then.
  12. Shinchan

    Shinchan New Member

    HI but now WA
    My kids sometimes like catching bait more than catfishing! We'll go wading in the mountain streams for crayfish (my 7 year old son loves to find them in the crevices), use flashlights at night to get worms after a rain and use short handpoles to catch small tilapia. I swear, sometimes we just have way too much bait and put the rest back! :big_smile:
  13. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    For your perch traps, try something simpler for bait. Styrofoam peanuts. White in color. You may laugh, but you'll find its the best bait for them silly perch.
  14. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Thanks Tony...I'll give that a try.

    If it works...its a bait that might never need changing.

    Although it'll be hard for me to put a fix on a situation that isn't broken...I catch the hell out of perch with my current bait selections.

    One more option is never a bad thing to have tho.
  15. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    My favorite way of catching bait has got to be catching skipjack. Sometimes it's more fun than catfishing, especially when I see the grandkids catching them too.
  16. dust777man

    dust777man New Member

    My best thing would be a cast net. It is the fastest way for me to get bait.
  17. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Checotah, Oklahoma
    I'm cornfused. What are black perch? Green sunfish?
  18. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

  19. countrycat15

    countrycat15 New Member

    very good post,lots of info.i will have to try the perch traps.what i do to get crawfish is i get a 2 liter drink bottle cut the top near the cap,just above were it starts to get narrow,and stick it inside the bottle and tape it in place.drop a piece of bread in it and attach a string and tie it to a stick.come bakk and check it the next day and you should have some. hope this helps some one out.have a goodin yall