John's Journal...


Other Summertime River-Catfish Baits Continued

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Watermelon, iced tea, suntan lotion, sunglasses and fishing for catfish comes to mind when the sun climbs high in the sky, and the mercury heads for the 100-degree mark. Many anglers believe that to catch catfish in the summer you simply throw a stink bait out on the bottom of any river. But to consistently catch more cats on every outing, you need to know where the fish most likely will occur, what they're most likely to eat in these spots, and what conditions cause them to feed most actively. Catfish like to eat almost anything. To catch catfish, determine the natural baits in the river you're fishing, and fish them first. Check with local anglers and sporting-goods stores to learn what baits catfish bite in that region at that time of the year. Several other factors affect when and what catfish eat. The temperature of the water governs how actively catfish feed, because the enzyme action in a catfish's stomach doubles with each 8-degree increase in water temperature. The hotter the weather becomes, the more catfish feed. Since most catfish prefer a dark habitat, they eat mostly at night during the hottest, sunniest weather.

Hot Dogs, a Productive Catfish Bait:

Mike Handley had run out of catfish bait the day before he planned to put out a trotline. He searched through his refrigerator to try to find anything that might lure in catfish. He used his creative ability and a pack of hot dogs he found to develop a deadly catfish bait. "I cut the hot dogs into small pieces that would bait well on my hooks," Handley explained. "I put the hot dogs in a quart fruit jar and poured Fish Formula Catfish Lure into the jar to completely cover the hot dogs. I let the jar full of hot dogs and Fish Formula sit overnight. The next day I baited my with these wieners soaked in Fish Formula. Within the first two hours, I caught more cats than I'd ever taken before. I immediately went back to the store, bought another pack of hot dogs and another bottle of Fish Formula Catfish Lure, cut up the hot dogs and soaked them in the Fish Formula. I used this bait for a day and a night and caught more catfish than anyone else in the camp using any other type of bait." If you don't have time to soak hot dogs in a product like Fish Formula Catfish Lure, use a needle, and inject the wieners with the substance to produce the same effect.

Awful-Smelling Mixture Takes Monster-Sized Catfish:

Click to enlargeRalph Barbee enjoys fishing for huge catfish at night on the Georgia/South Carolina border. He puts mullet, a saltwater fish, commercial blood bait and chicken blood and entrails in a 1-gallon plastic mayonnaise jar. He then lets this concoction sit in the sun for a day. The chum smells so bad that he wears plastic surgeon gloves to dump the bloody mixture into a burlap bag. After Barbee sinks the awful-smelling bag, he fishes with Louisiana pink worms around that area to catch very big catfish. He took 330 pounds of catfish in one night for his best catch ever while fishing his bloody mixture.

Peanut Butter for Catfish:

John "Junnie" Mihalakis of Iowa, a longtime avid catfisherman, makes commercial catfish baits. He also has a favorite stink bait recipe that uses 80% cheese, at least three years old, 5% calf starter that you can purchase at any feed store, 5% dried animal blood, 5% peanut butter and flour. Mix the cheese, calf starter, dried animal blood and peanut butter together, and blend until creamy. Slowly add flour a little at a time, and continue blending until you achieve the right consistency. Then dip worms in the mixture immediately before you fish to catch plenty of cats.

Larry Collins’ Cheese-and-Honey Sponge Bait:

Click to enlargeCatfishermen have used cheese-bait recipes for many years. You can purchase cheese trimmings from cheese companies in large barrels. Put a Coleman stove outside and a large flat cake pan you can throw away. Place the rancid cheese in the pan, light the Coleman stove, and let the cheese cook until thoroughly melted and hot. Next, add four or five tablespoons of honey to the cheese, stirring the honey into the cheese and continuing to cook until you've blended the cheese and honey thoroughly. Lay out sheets of tinfoil on the ground, and cut pieces of 1/4-inch-thick sponge into sections that will fit inside your flat cake pan. Use a fork or tongs to lay out the sponge and spread the cheese-and-honey mixture. After the sponge has soaked the mixture up on one side, turn the sponge over, and let the other side soak it up. Once you've thoroughly soaked the sponge in the mixture, remove it from the pan, and lay it on the tinfoil. Repeat the same process with the rest of your sponge. After the sponge has cooled and dried, use scissors or a knife to cut the sponge into bait-size squares, usually 1/4- to 1/2-inch in diameter. Put the sponge baits into quart Ziploc freezer bags, and seal the bags. According to Collins, "Make sure when you're cooking this kind of bait that you stay well away from the house. Plan to use a pan you can throw away and an old Coleman stove that you probably won't use ever again except to cook bait. Try to keep the cheese-and-honey mixture off you, because it really smells foul."

When you get ready to fish, simply open the bag, and put the piece of sponge on your hook for an inexpensive, durable, long-lasting bait not only produces.

Doughball Delight:

Click to enlargeTo sweeten up your catfishing and bring more cats to your hooks, try these recipes, which also will chum in carp. Put flour, cornmeal and creamed-style corn in a large mixing bowl. Pour pineapple juice into the flour mixture, mix it, and make a dough. Continue to add flour and pineapple juice until you form a large ball of dough. Next, pour in uncooked rice, and squeeze it into the dough. Put the dough in a large Ziploc freezer bag, and take it to where you plan to fish. Or, you can mix together canned sweet potatoes or yams with the pineapple juice and the other ingredients. Some anglers place this mixture in a burlap bag and sink it in a lake. Or, before you begin fishing, pinch off pieces of the doughball, and throw them out into your general fishing area. Save enough of the doughball to also use it for bait. After you've scattered the pieces of doughball along the bottom, bait with a doughball, and cast it out into the same area where you've chummed. The pineapple juice in the doughball will put out a scent and taste in the water quickly. Also as the rice starts to swell, it will add to that scent and taste. With this technique, you can chum cats in and catch them all day and all night. Always use chumming tactics only in areas with little or no current.

Check back each day this week for more about SUMMERTIME RIVER CATS

Day 1: Small Streams and Little Rivers
Day 2: Large Rivers
Day 3: Below Dams
Day 4: Summertime River-Catfish Baits
Day 5: Other Summertime River-Catfish Baits



Entry 310, Day 5