Where No Angler Has Gone Before…..

Hello Dan, I have recently gotten permition to fish an old paylake that hasnt been fished very much in the last 10 years. Theres loads of largemouths and quite a few bluegill from what I can tell. I have seen some huge catfish serfucing and swimming in the shallows. My family and I have fished here a couple of imes but no luck catching those monster cats I have been seeing. I have used garlic powder marinated chicken liver, nightcrawlers, red worms, chicken breast marinated in strawberry koolaid(family recipe for paylakes), and cheese. I have been trying anything I can think of but I have came up empty on cats. I was hoping for some advice as of why there not biting. I know theres monsters in there I saw one that looked to be 3-4 ft long and defonately a cat. Hope you can help dan. There are also a crazy amount of bed holes all over the shallows if that makes a difference.

Large catfish, especially channel cats, become almost exclusively fish-eaters when they reach a certain size. Chicken livers, dough baits, punch bait, nightcrawlers, etc…are all good baits for catfish up to about 10 pounds or so, but big cats like big food. To consitently catch any kind of fish, it is important to know both the fish, and it’s environment. You mentioned that the pond is full of bass and bluegills. This indicates several things: 1. The water is somewhat fertile, and can obviously support a healthy ecosystem. 2. There is a healthy ecosystem present, complete with plankton (for the young bluegills, catfish and bass), and the proper ratio of predator to prey. 3. There is most likely several species of minnows present, as well as the gamefish. I would guess that crawfish are also present. 4. There has been little or no fishing pressure, so unnatural things like chicken livers (which seldom inhabit aquatic ecosystems on their own), and dough baits will probably not work, because the fish will be unfamiliar with them. In this particular case, keeping these observations in mind, my strategy would be this: 1: For bluegills, I would use fly (fly-fishing)patterns that closely resemble the local insect species, most likely several varities of mayfilies, stoneflies, caddis flies, and terrestrials like grasshoppers, crickets, ants, etc… For spin fishing, I would only use live bait, such as crickets, nightcrawlers, or red wigglers. 2. For bass, I would use a lure that resembles the local minnow species, especially bluegills and other sunfish. I would guess that the pond also has a healthy frog population, so frog patterns might work as well. Good fly patterns would be Mickey Finns, or other sunfish-colored streamers. For live bait, try night crawlers, and live minnows (taken from the pond) and sunfish. 3. For large catfish in this situation, there is only one choice, a live bluegill, or other sunfish. For the smaller ones, use local minnows. 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.

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