Why do I catch more flats on cut bait than live?

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by flathunter, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    Time and time agin cut bait "shad" even frozen shad have out preformed live bait on the river I fish..I just dont get it..I have fished live suckers and gills without a hit for hrs and baited up with a hunk of shad and caught flatheads within minutes..It has gotten to the point where I dont even carry live bait anymore, plus I can cast cutbait alot farther without worrying about it flaying off the hook.

    And another thing, I hardly catch any flats at night anymore...Almost all my fish come in the daytime...I know all of this goes aginst the grain when it comes to flatheads I just dont understand why? I used to be a live bait and nightime fisherman, but those tactics dont work for me anymore.
     
  2. yeppa

    yeppa New Member

    Messages:
    636
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Sounds like those Ohio flats aren't keepin' up on their reading.Your not complaining are you??
     

  3. Fellman

    Fellman New Member

    Messages:
    19
    State:
    Philly MYK
    When did you start to use cut bait and why? Think of water temp and clearity and maybe other conditions. Smell might just more effective at this time. Gizzard shad is suppose to get them roude up for the distinct smell.

    The other thing about the daytime catch was wierd to me, this is because is was basicaly a channel cat guy just going out right before sunset to start and that stuck with me as I started getting into flatheads. Then early in the year(07) there was a cat tornament that started about 9 in the morning. So i set up at could not believe the catch after catch I was getting during peak sunlight. That is basically when I realized that these fish of this size in freshwater are the kings. Top of the food chain is what they are. Then started reading on them and was finding out that their hunting is different than smaller fish. They have better eye sight and have a great sense for vibration wich is how they nail there live bait head first. Hope maybe I can be of some help.
     
  4. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,819
    State:
    North Caro
    Name:
    Mac
    Flathunter, I use a drifting (trolling motor) technique for catching blues and flatheads and I use both live and dead bait for flats and blues. A majority of my big flatheads in the past four years (several in the 30 range, three in the 40 range and three over 50) were caught by using cut bait (gizzard shad, white perch filets and small bream (gill) heads). I have caught large flatheads using live rainbow trout in the winter time on my home lake drifting and live gold fish and black salties in the summer time. The colder the water, below fifty degrees, the slower I have to drift to develope a bite for a flathead. In the winter time it appears to me that the best time to catch a trophy flathead is between 11 AM and 2 PM.
     
  5. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,177
    State:
    NC
    Personally, I have never caught a flathead on live bait. Now, with that said, I have not caught thousands of flatheads nor do I condsider myself a flathead fisherman, but everyone of the 10, 20, and 30 pounds have come on cut bait. About 1/2 have come at night.

    I read a study somewhere once that showed that flatheads do not feed or move anymore at night than duringt he day. I have fished with LakeNormanBlues on his home waters and caught several in the middle of the day driftiing. He and I believe that the tactics that work on river flatheads may be a little different on lake flatheads.
     
  6. whiteriverbigcats

    whiteriverbigcats New Member

    Messages:
    3,452
    State:
    Indiana
    I think that here in the last two years i have experianced a few weird things too... I caught a flathead on a piece of frozen shrimp.. It hit as soon as the shrimp hit the water... And all the big flatheads i have caught have been caught on night crawler... the last two years i havent caught one on live bait.. got alot and i mean alot of hits but they never commited.. I did how ever catch two on cut bait... But on of my PB flatheads came around 1pm on my local river on a shad rap lure... I was trying to caught strippers at a local dam. it weighed 42pds.. but that was like 4 yrs ago
     
  7. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    Ohio
    I think you need to get out and fish at night more! :big_smile: Seriously though, I think LOTS of it has to do w/ location. Think of those latest two big flatheads and then think where they were caught at. I think cut bait would be perfect there due to the current and the current taking the smell down river. Shoot, the same goes for "The Goat Path" and "The Rock Cliff". I think live bait would be better at "The Death Drop", The "Other Side".
     
  8. caneycat

    caneycat New Member

    Messages:
    196
    State:
    Texas
    I have caught only 6 or 7 yella cat and all have been on big pieces of cut mullet, the biggest one was about 40 lbs, I have not caught one on R&R yet all have been on my noodles and i have tried live bait but have never caught one.
     
  9. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    i personally think it is a mix of different variables. during the early spring and late fall i catch many flats in the daytime. as their metabolisms are different, due to the cool water.. mostly on small livebaits then, and cuts as well. during the warmwater months daytime flats on the muskingum have been far a fewer then the other seasons. and the ones i do catch then are usually caught on rainy overcast days, or fishing heavy timber that they are held up in sometimes. I think alot of it has to do with the river system also. how it is setup, water depths, clarity, current all play a signifignt role in catching. some rivers may produce more daytime feeders than others. i do believe flats will feed in light hours, i have caught too many to argue that one. and fresh cut bait, esp. using the heads work awesome! But, for all the flats i have caught and the monster fish i have caught, i can honestly say that most have come on livebait, and most of them have come after dark. yes, targeting these fish after dark more would have an impact on saying which is better, but i do believe these fish are nocturnal, and don't like direct light.. i use a searchlight sometimes, to steer fish from cover after they are hooked, and have found that penetrating light they try to avoid...anyways, good post, maybe we all will have a better understanding of them someday....rollo
     
  10. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    I think it's a seasonal thing. I fish cut bait in early spring and late fall. Like Rollo said, it has to do with thier metabolism. Cool water, I used cut, but during summer, I use live mainly because of the nuisance channel cats in the river.

    Flathunter,
    I just think you have a daytime honey hole. Maybe like a daytime flathead hotel? You are just serving breakfast in bed.

    Remember in fishing, confidence is the most important factor.
    USE WHAT YOU ARE MOST CONFIDENT WITH!
     
  11. Fellman

    Fellman New Member

    Messages:
    19
    State:
    Philly MYK
     
  12. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    cant say why but its been the same over here for 3 years, jack.
     
  13. DTro

    DTro Active Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    Minnesota
    It's been said already, but there are two key factors when selecting your bait.
    Time of year, and time of day.
    The big girl in my Avatar was smack dab in the middle of a MN summer in the late afternoon.....on cut bait.
    During the daylight hours I would recommend placing a big chunk of bait in the deepest darkest hole you can find, preferrable with some nice current nearby. Those flats are just hanging out there keeping cool and will eat, they just need a liittle coaxing, and cannot resist a frest piece of meat in front of their nose.
    Once that sun sets, get that meat off of there and put on a big lively bait. Couple of reasons for that,
    1- it's feeding time for the Flatties, and they will be on the prowl for a big dinner, not a piece of meat
    2- the nighttime nuissances will at your doorstep trying to eat that cutbait (gar, turtles, etc).
     
  14. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,744
    State:
    Murray Ky.
    Could it be that you are placing the cutbait closer where the fish are? If the Flatheads aren't actively hunting, placing a piece of cutbait close to where they are hold up might get hit while a live bait out farther might not.