What type of bait works best when jug fishing for catfish?

What type of bait works best when jug fishing for catfish?

For most serious jug fishermen, the bait of choice is live bluegills, where legal, cut shad, cut carp, suckers, live crawfish and shrimp. I am in the shad and bluegill camp. There are two main species of shad in the U. S. used for bait; Threadfin Shad, and Gizzard Shad. They are interchangeable and thier ranges overlap. They are difficult to keep alive, but that doesn’t matter because catfish eat them dead just as well as they do alive. The best way to get your shad is to obtain a throw net, learn how to use it, and catch your own shad. Throw nets (sometimes called cast nets) are one of the oldest net methods of taking fish. A throw net is a circular net made from monfilament, or nylon, with different sizes of mesh for different fish. 3/8″ or 1/4″ mesh is just right for shad. They come in sizes from 3′ diameter all the way to 12’+ diameters. The larger ones are more difficult to learn how to use, but they catch more fish per cast. I use a 6′ net. Throw nets have weights along the perimeter of the circle. When thrown (properly), the net opens up (most of the time, anyway), and settles quickly to the bottom, trapping anything unlucky enough to be under it. When retrieved, the net closes around the captured specimens. The net is then pulled onto shore and easily emptied. Large quantities of baitfish can be caught in a short period of time with this method. It takes a bit of practice, but is actually fun once you learn how to do it. If you are going to use bluegill, the throw net is out. In many states, the use of gamefish like bluegill is completely prohibited. In others, bluegill are permitted to be used as bait as long as they were obtained legally (not netted), so you will have to catch them on a rod and reel, one at a time (but this is also fun). Whichever bait you use, select the smaller specimens and place them on the hooks securely. Be prepared, because jug-fishing often results in catching monsters! Make sure you have the gear with you to handle large fish. Happy Fishing!


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

One Response to “What type of bait works best when jug fishing for catfish?”

  1. ANDY says:

    what do u think bout black perch?

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