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Fishing for Catfish Under The Ice
Whenever we think of fishing for catfish, most of us conjure up mental images of warm, sunny weather, bare feet, cane poles, and a generally summery attitude about things. So, when we start talking about icefishing, no one mentions catfish as a potential quarry.
However, as a matter of fact, many catfish are taken through the ice each year, and some species, notably blue catfish and channel catfish, are actually very avid biters in cold water. The problem, then, is deciding to get yourself out first, and do some icefishing, and then, setting your rig to work.
There appear to be two “schools” of icefishing thought (parn the pun), where cats are concerned. Basic, old-school, lazy means finding a nice, cozy-looking spot that’s at least possibly a hookup point for a decent fish, digging a hole in the snow, and sitting next to your fire tub. , or in your “fish house” (tent on the ice), and enjoying the outdoors, catching as many fish as possible. Another way of looking at things is that every outing is a competition to catch a record volume, and as such, fish must be tracked, cornered and exposed in military fashion and then hauled in by the bucketload.
Certainly, a scientific and skillfully-planned approach to your outing will probably yield the most fish. However, this approach also requires the most equipment, as its proponents work in two dozen holes in the snow and track fish with sonar fish finders, racing to the next hole on a snowmobile and “trying to get the head. Off” as the fish move on each hole.
Top producers in this “sport” can catch upwards of forty fish an hour, yet there is something to be said for skill and patience, choosing your spot, baiting and playing without piling electronics on a flat field. A machine to eliminate all hope for catfish. After all, the game of fishing involves both finding the fish and the actual fight, once you set the hook. It just takes more nerve and determination, on the ice.
Whatever your approach, you’ll need the usual sturdy gear for cats – a decent spinning or star-drag reel, good bread or monofilament line, suitable terminal rigging and some nice, smelly bait. If you want to use a more traditional icefishing rig, a flag float or tip-rig will work, but remember the fish you’re after – these cats will have an uphill battle and are hard to handle without a rod. even tougher.
When it comes to bait, smell is more important in cold water than in warmer months, because scent doesn’t spread as fast or be present in the water as strongly, so the stronger the bait, the better. Small dead fish are still an excellent choice, especially for blue cats. Another possible improvement would be to puncture the bait, or dip it in some odorous compound, to really get the scent. Some anglers believe that bait color is important in icefishing for cats, as the scent diminishes in the cold, but in deep water it is dark and catfish are known to have poor eyesight, so its importance is open to debate.
In nature, cats eat fairly dull colored, smelly food, so give them what they want. With smelly, natural bait, the only issue is where to fish, assuming the fish will take them if they find them.
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#Fishing #Catfish #Ice