John's Journal... Entry 38, Day 1
Most anglers know that shad guts make excellent catfish bait. The gut of the gizzard shad usually gets the most bites. This firm, tough piece of meat will stay on the hook well.
You can fish with ...
* fresh shad gut. After catching the shad and removing the gut, you can begin to fish with this bait immediately. The fresh shad gut gives off an odor and a flavor that catfish feed on readily. Although this bait will work anywhere at anytime, it seems the most productive in tailrace areas.
* frozen shad gut. Put the guts from a large number of shad in quart or pint Ziploc freezer bags. After sealing the bags, place the shad guts in your ice cooler for transport home. Place the guts in your freezer, and take them out when you're ready to go fishing. Don't thaw the guts all at one time. Instead, fish with them as they thaw, and keep the extra guts in the Ziploc bags in your cooler until you're ready to fish again.
* fresh shad guts sealed in a Ziploc bag. Leave the guts in the sun for three to six hours, depending on the temperature, so that they become rancid but not rotten. Next, put the bag of shad guts in your ice cooler, take them home and freeze the bags. The next time you fish, let the shad guts thaw gradually. They'll have a strong smell to them so keep the guts you don't use in the ice cooler with the bag zipped shut
For some reason, discriminating catfish seem to prefer to eat shrimp cocktails. But you don't have to buy expensive shrimp at the seafood market. Instead, ask your grocery store if you can get shrimp that's too old or too rancid for them to sell that. Either freeze this shrimp, or keep it on ice until you're ready to fish with it. When you do fish with the shrimp, peel it, and bait the peeled shrimp on your hook. The odor and flavor of the shrimp will call catfish to dinner.
If you've ever trolled in a gulf or an ocean, you know that quite frequently you'll catch a bonito, known as a false albacore. Very few people eat these extremely bloody fish, and most anglers throw them overboard if they catch them. However, because of the bloodiness of the bonito and the water-soluble oil it produces, it will turn rancid easily and become an ideal stink bait. Although bonito fillets will catch cats, the white belly of the bonito seems the most productive bait because catfish can easily spot it. Also the bonito's slick, scaleless, tough skin will stay on the hook extremely well. The next time you go saltwater fishing, bring home a bonito for a productive cat-catching bait.
According to Vlad Evanoff, an expert on stink baits for catching catfish, the following recipe definitely will call in catfish.
Put odd pieces of cut-up fish, clams, minnows, crawfish and eels into a loosely-covered glass jar. After this mixture turns to oil, mix 1 part oil of anise with five parts of the fish oil, and use it on catfish baits.
To learn more about how anglers fish for catfish all across the country, go to Night Hawk Publications' Home Page (www.nighthawkpublications.com), and click on fishing books to see "The Masters Secrets of Catfishing."
Tomorrow: Get Catfish With Possum, Beef, Kidneys and Livers
Check back each day this week for more about what's the best catfish baits...
Day 1 -Shad Guts, Shrimp
Cocktails, Bonito and Leftover Fish Scraps