Every once in a while an angler comes up with a non traditional ways of luring catfish. Some are effective and others are not. Both are interesting.

One such way is practiced in small rivers with a light current. Dip baits are popular and the commercial dip bait lures are often used. However, some anglers have turned to walleye baits instead of the dip worm.

Using the walleye angler presentation of pre rigged plastic worms with and without a spinner rig harness you make a presentation that resembles a more natural motion of a worm. The spinning rotation of the blade creates sound waves. The eye loop knot is readily attached to a ball bearing swivel. A trailer hook located within the tail ensures catching short strikes.

Some of these lures even have a dip worm type of body that will hold more dip bait.

Anchor in current, dip the worm in your favorite cheese bait and gently drop it over the side. A one ounce egg sinker placed on the line above the worm provides weight that controls the bait in current.

Once the sinker reaches the bottom let out more line until the worm moves freely in the current just off the bottom. A disadvantage of this rig is that it must be brought up ever ten minutes or so to be re baited. The current has a tendency to wash away the cheese.

Before re-dipping the bait into the cheese mix it helps to dry the plastic with a soft cloth. Cheese mixtures do not stick well to wet plastic.

The multi hooks of the pre rigged plastic worm insure that a catfish grabbing it stays hooked. It is an off beat way to fish that is very productive.

In big rivers you can turn to crankbaits for catching catfish. The technique works best from the first part of May to the first part of August. The water conditions need to be perfect. It must be clear slowly flowing water. The pattern does not work in tailwater conditions.

The best crankbaits usually are small crayfish imitations. They have a dark back and a bright color underside.

Troll rather than cast to keep the bait in the strike zone of the catfish. Only a trolling motor is used and it is used in combination with the boats larger motor turned toward the shore. It kicks the bow out just the right amount to allow the use of more than one line.

The trolling motor allows the boat to move slightly faster than the current to keep the lure bouncing along the rocks. The pattern is run in 8 to 12 feet of water or occasionally shallower.

If the conditions are right this pattern produces non stop action. It works pre spawn on through the post spawn. All species of catfish take the lure.

Bank fishing is probably the most popular method of taking catfish. Whether one is fishing with dip bait or nightcrawler there are some varieties of techniques for the bank fishing angler.

You have to move around a lot during the summer. Catfish move up to feed at night in the shallow flats. During the day they tend to be in the deeper water. In the early morning they will stay under vegetation in the shade until the water warms. They then move back to the deep holes in search of water temperatures more to their liking.

If you move around in search of stumps it yields larger fish. Cast toward stumps, trees or islands. If hung up cast just short of that location the next time.

On windy days wave action causes mud to be turned up downwind of the near shoreline. The wave action stirs up crayfish and insects upon which catfish feed. It is a kind of natural chumming. Cast into such water and enjoy good action.

Speaking of chumming dip bait is that kind of bait. Dip worms with a hollow core and holes allow the cheese bait to seep out. There are a number of cheese and other flavored baits on the market. Most will do an effective job if presented properly.

At the end of the line place a metal swivel with a one ounce sliding weight above it. A plastic bead placed between the swivel and the weight protects the knot. The worm rig is attached to the swivel. Dip worms come with a monofilament leader of 18 to 22 inches length.

Once cast, the reel should be set in free spool to allow the dip bait to settle quickly to the bottom. If there is no bite in 15 minutes, retrieve and clean the worm. After drying the worm with a towel, re-bait and cast again.

Repeat this process three times. If no fish takes the bait it is time to move to another location and repeat the process. Keep repeating the pattern until fish are located. In still water you one can use a float. The best ones are the cigar floats. Fish the bottom of any deep hole first. If no bites, attach the float and fish in the upper water of the same hole until the right depth is found. Generally fish are either in the bottom area or about a foot from the surface.

One more crankbait technique for some tailwater areas consists of moving the boat up into an eddy off the fast water. Cast a floating crankbait into the edge of the fast water. The flow of the water provides the action to the bait. It becomes a waiting game.

The catching of catfish has moved from just a hook and worm suspended below a big old bobber. In the years to come as catfishing gets more sophisticated other techniques will be developed. In the interim these are some for consideration.



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  1. Pingback: 31 Days, 31 Ways: Filmmaker Bradley Beesley Talks Noodling | River Catfishing Tips

  2. I make my own bait with hot dogs, hot sauce, corn, cut bait, and cotton balls. I put it in a plastic container for a few months and then use it. The cotton balls hold the bait together so you only have to drag the hook in the bait, and it stays on the hook.

  3. Pingback: Plastic Worm Fishing – Catch Big Fish | Bass Fishing Tips Today

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