big catfish have been hooked on luncheon meat, spam and similar variations
on this pork theme. Meat meals in carp fishing are rapidly gaining favour
as fish meals and shellfish meals become less sustainable and these are
very successful too.
Many dried and tinned cat and dog foods make excellent catfish baits and
are specially full of taste enhancers and enzymes (like betaine) and bacteria
to make the food as palatable, tasty and attractive and digestible as
possible. In fact I researched this area for carp baits and discovered
in some brands that up to half the ingredients were actually 'commercially
In one instance there were twelve types of this in one canned dog food
and this demonstrates just how important they are to great taste development
(for dogs) and better digestibility. Match fishermen have used pellet
type soft cat food extremely successfully for similar reasons I'm sure.
There seems no doubt that these fish love fatty meats. But it interesting
to note that some brands catch more fish than others. This may be due
to their better digestibility and solubility and breakdown and release
of attractive amino acids, oils and bait fragments into the water. Liver
and congealed blood baits are very popular and the high protein content
and massive amino acid leak-ff contribute much to their success. I may
sound funny, but the wels catfish here in Europe and the UK are primarily
surface feeding predators, sneaking up and ambushing potential prey from
near the surface.
They can spend long periods of inactivity between 'feeding binges' and
I find carp are much easier to catch regularly because their feeding seems
far more regular. That is my observation using home made baits on the
bottom or in buoyant form, from about 8 years of fishing for catfish.
I have even caught fish to 40 pounds on the surface itself.
On one occasion, I used a very large garlic sausage bait which was sandwiched
between foam to make it float. I had set-up fishing in the dark, and while
in the still dark early morning hours I began to get lots of 'line bites'
this went on for a while as waited with baited breath. As the first rays
of day lit the foggy morning I could see that my baits which were only
2 yards from my own bank side, were actually sitting upon a dense bed
of Canadian pondweed and so in fact one bait was half out of the water!
I put this down to another lesson of not wishing to shine a light at the
water to check, and accepted it feeling positive that the catfish would
track it down if they really wanted it. Half an hour later that bait was
gulped down and a very hard-fighting 40 plus pound catfish graced the
There are so many opinions about catfish baits and I can only tell you
my opinions based on my captures. One thing I will emphasise as in carp
baits, is the use of 'curing' or part 'fermenting' your baits. This actually
creates new flavours on and in the baits and release more amino acids,
sugars alcohols, flavours etc. All very attractive!
You can try this with anything from herring or squid chunks to boilies.
All you are really doing is heating the baits for a while to get bacterial
enzyme activity working on starting to break down the bait. It seriously
stinks and works a treat! (But don't go spilling your squid in the car
like I did, and you are best handling baits with gloves!)
Many types of boilies will catch big catfish including those of meat,
fish, and shellfish varieties. The poultry types like chicken seem popular
If you wish to enhance your boilies potential for catching catfish I cannot
recommend enough liquidizing squid and soaking your baits in this or in
liver powder or squid extract powder plus amino acid supplement like 'Minamino,'
along with some pure salmon oil and sea salt.
Having said that, many preparatory preparations have the same effect as
the above. It does seem to me that catfish fishing is very largely about
soaking as much attraction into your baits as possible (including pellets)
and ground baiting specifically to get your swim 'alive' with small fish
to draw in the big catfish. This method may take some time or not!
But I have regularly caught enough big catfish on this method to satisfy
me. 'Live-baiting' is not my thing. I once fished a 2 pound gold fish
supplied by a fishery, on a water that held a catfish in excess of 100
pounds. All I could think was - this is just wrong!
I find that fishing over sweetcorn is interesting in that catfish seem
to enjoy eating it too, although I realise many anglers reading this may
prefer fermented maize or pellets of many descriptions. One memorable
session I had was when I baited up with fermented herring and squid pieces
of about one centimetre in diameter. I never saw so many tench bubbling
on the baited area for hour after hour!
Tench seem like catfish magnets and this activity produced the biggest
catfish in the lake not surprisingly!
After so many cat fishing experiences and big captures, I can honestly
say, that I believe they can learn to avoid some baits in certain rich
water situations if they get hooked on the same bait a few times, and
I would always keep rotating and changing my baits and attractors.
To this end I leverage my experience and knowledge in designing baits
for carp and very often fish paste or dough type baits which I know offer
superior attractor leak-off of those all important essential amino acids,
minerals, oils etc and very often provide far quicker results for big
carp and catfish too. I now rate designed paste bait, maximizing certain
aspect of catfish essential dietary requirements, over any other bait.
In fact I hooked the Wintons Kingfisher Lake (UK) record cat, just 10
minutes after arriving, I believe purely due to the massive leak-off of
specialist attraction ingredients and additives from the bait and PVA
bag paste baits and powders exploited to maximise attraction and pulling
power of the hook bait area.
Well, these are just some very basic things to start you on your way instead
of you religiously using whatever it is that perhaps is the reason you
are reading this article.
Bait testing, experimentation and taking risks with new bait variations
and versions while also utilising a 'control bait' that you trust, will
definitely massively multiply your results and keep you permanently ahead
of the catfish and the crowd!
The author has many more fishing and bait 'edges' up his sleeve. Every
single one can have a huge impact on catches.
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the unique and acclaimed new massive expert bait making 'bible' ebook
/ book: "BIG CARP BAIT SECRETS!" SEE: http://www.baitbigfish.com
Tim Richardson is a carp and catfish bait-making expert, and a highly
successful big fish angler. His bait making and bait enhancing books /
ebooks: "BIG CARP BAIT SECRETS!" SEE: http://www.baitbigfish.com