Bullhead Catfish Baits

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countryboy87
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Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by countryboy87 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:23 pm

So i am starting to get serious into catfishing the lakes and have caught a few from lk Cassidy on nightcrawlers. I have been digging thru all the archives for the reports and what limited info there is for Bullheads it seems most catch them on crawlers.. What are some good setups and baits to catch them besides worms?? I'm looking at all the dip baits but most all of them say for channels or blues nothing about bullheads.. Just trying to widen my options.. Thanks for any help/tips and tight lines

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JoshH
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by JoshH » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:57 am

I've only ever fished successfully for brown bullheads with night crawlers. Many moons ago I bought a specific catfish stink bait, real nasty sticky gooey stuff, and had zero luck with it. I have caught some on chunks of perch.

Best set up I've found is just a crawler under a float 3-4 feet down. Best time of course is around dusk as they move into the shallows and come up off the bottom to feed.

I've had success at Big Lake, east of Mount Vernon, and Sunday Lake, just east of Stanwood (There is a WDFW dock, and you can launch a very small boat or inflatable there). I really like Sunday lake for the brown bullheads. The fish I've caught there have always been a bit larger. I'll get the typical 12-14 inch fish, but occasionally pop a 2-4lber. I'll normally go there a bit early and catch a basket full of pumpkinseeds and perch just tossing a worm under a float. Soon as the bite dies off for the spiny rays, wait about 30 minutes or so and the catfish will start biting. Next day it's fish fry heaven.

I do seem to have better success in the warmer months for them.

countryboy87
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by countryboy87 » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:18 pm

Awesome thanks for the tips... I was reading last night and saw that they start swimming shallow for prespawn around 60 degrees so i figured around may but i will definetly be trying sooner.. Do you shore fish for them at Sunday or Big lk or should i bring my inflatable

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JoshH
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by JoshH » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:38 pm

From a dock both places.

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spokey9
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by spokey9 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:43 pm

I've fished with lots of commercial, homemade, and natural baits for bullhead. In every lake I've fished for them, nightcrawlers were by far the most effective bait with crickets & chicken liver strips being the best after that. I'd stick with crawlers imo, unless there's an issue getting them for whatever reason.

My go to rig, is a swivel & 3ft leader (no weight) and half a crawler on a #4 octopus hook. I also fish with 4lb mainline and a 8 1/2 ultra light rod. When I don't have my long rod i'll throw a 1/16 slip sinker on. Leave a couple feet of slack in your line, it'll give them time actually get it in their mouth before the rod bounces. I've noticed the bigger ones can be kinda delicate picking up the bait most times.
Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except i still get to kill something.

countryboy87
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by countryboy87 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:55 pm

thanks for the advice spokey9

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fishinChristian
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by fishinChristian » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:33 am

I agree with the slip sinker rig. If you inflate the worms with a worm inflater or hypodermic, they seem to bit better. Also, if you get used to them, circle hooks tend to not get down in the guts, leaving more time to fish. A couple hundred fish in an evening is not unusual.

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TRAUT
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by TRAUT » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:48 am

As mentioned by others, I'd stick with worms/crawlers. No need to overcomplicate what already works best. Circle hooks are also a good idea, but you don't "set" the hook, just raise the rod tip and start reeling. As the fish resists the hook slides into the corner if the mouth and sticks itself in. Jerking won't help. Works very well with kids too. Good luck.

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fishinChristian
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by fishinChristian » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:43 am

TRAUT wrote:As mentioned by others, I'd stick with worms/crawlers. No need to overcomplicate what already works best. Circle hooks are also a good idea, but you don't "set" the hook, just raise the rod tip and start reeling. As the fish resists the hook slides into the corner if the mouth and sticks itself in. Jerking won't help. Works very well with kids too. Good luck.
I've found that most kids get away when circle hooks are used... but the advice an not setting the hook is very accurate.

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TRAUT
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by TRAUT » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:22 pm

My kid ain't too bright I guess. At 26, I'm hoping he gets away...soon. But when he was younger circle hooks helped his hook up percentage until he was old enough to really understand setting the hook. Bobbers helped too.

Now days I sometimes take as many as 7 or 8 kids at a time out (some are in their 60's but most are younger than 10) for perch which can really pick a hook clean if you don't set the hook quick. #6 circle hooks helps the little yellow buggers commit suicide and brings lots of smiles to all the "kids".

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YellowBear
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by YellowBear » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:16 am

I had a pond in the back field when I was a kid.
My best bait for Bullheads was a couple of Hotdogs.
Cut them into half inch chunks.
Hook swivel and a slip sinker.

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fishinChristian
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by fishinChristian » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:11 pm

TRAUT wrote:My kid ain't too bright I guess. At 26, I'm hoping he gets away...soon. But when he was younger circle hooks helped his hook up percentage until he was old enough to really understand setting the hook. Bobbers helped too.

Now days I sometimes take as many as 7 or 8 kids at a time out (some are in their 60's but most are younger than 10) for perch which can really pick a hook clean if you don't set the hook quick. #6 circle hooks helps the little yellow buggers commit suicide and brings lots of smiles to all the "kids".
Good luck on your kid getting away.
I found with my 3 that Catch and Release worked well. Reel 'em in, and toss 'em back.

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Shad_Eating_Grin
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by Shad_Eating_Grin » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:42 pm

Regular garden worms always worked best for me. when the heavy rains come in the spring, you can fill a coffee can of them just by picking them up off the sidewalk in the morning. Be sure to hurry up or the birds will get them first.

I like to impale 2-3 worms onto a single hook. You basically get a wiggly/octopus-looking gob of worms on the hook--maybe the action and/or scent of the gob helps to draw them in?

The bullheads do tend to get hooked deep, sometimes without any noticeable movement on my rod tip to indicate a bite.

A solution so that you don't waste time trying to dig a hook out of its gullet and/or retying new hooks: tie your hook leader with a loop at the end. Or use the cheap pre-snelled pack of hooks from the store. Attach the loop of your leader to a snap. If the fish swallows the hook, just open the snap to take the leader out and drop the fish (still attached to the hook/leader) into a bucket. Attach another (new) pre-tied leader to your snap, and get back to fishing.

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JoshH
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by JoshH » Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:55 pm

I think the issue with a hook going deep is why I've always preferred using a float. They do tend to gum on it a bit when it's sitting on/near the bottom. With a bobber they will come up at take it then head back down. I don't have the swallowed hook issue.

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Ian Horning
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Re: Bullhead Catfish Baits

Post by Ian Horning » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:31 am

Nightcrawlers have never failed me. An interesting rig I discovered at local pond- using a 1/8 or 1/6 oz rooster tail with a treble hook, baiting a gob of nightcrawler on the hook, and just casting it out and letting it sit. Sometimes it would get hit before it touched the bottom. Not saying its the most effective technique, but out of 70-80 Bullhead I've caught this way, I've gut-hooked a grand total of 0. 90% were hooked in the corner of the mouth.
You never know what you'll discover..... If you take a couple of steps into the water.

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