Most species of catfish in Europe and the States have similar nutrients they need to survive and if you know what these and how to make sure they are on your hook you will always find catching big catfish easy! I repeat, if your bait is made from those ingredients which offer nutrients that catfish or carp need, your unique bait will be pretty much irresistible to them. . . Many species of carp and even the Wels, channel and big blue catfish have many extremely significant commonalities which can make catching them much easier even if their feeding habits may differ!
I have spent a long time researching and making baits for big carp and catfish for over 3 decades and one thing is clear. That bigger catfish and carp can avoid capture on baits they have been hooked on previously and that they definitely learn by association, in fact this can equally apply to many old smaller fish too! In one UK catfish water this became a salutary lesson in logical sense when catches were at an all-time low.
This particular water had been stocked with catfish many decades previously and had experienced being hooked on many varied conventional baits. The key to the capture of these fish was simple; exploit baits the catfish had no reason to fear. It's simple really; catfish and fish like carp can detect certain substances to over one part in a billion in water, much like a shark can detect just one drop of blood from over a mile away and beyond.
They know a familiar bait recipe or format like a conventional squid or meat or over-used boilie or pellet bait, and can easily react out of fear or with confidence or at least in a lowered state of nervous anxiety! Let's face it, a fish's basic need is to stay alive and this is the thing we need to over-come as it is really our greatest barrier. (This is apart from being prevented from being able to some fish spots that hold the desired big fish for various reasons, like out of bounds areas, swims monopolised by bailiffs or full-time anglers and mobile-phoned swim-hogging cliques etc!)
Catfish and carp use the specialised cells on the surface of its body and internally to detect potential food substances by biochemical interactions with specialised nerves and cells. These fish are obviously expert at detecting movement as in vibrations from prey fish and other moving natural foods and potential other predators in the water. These senses are extremely sensitive and it is possible for a Wels catfish to die of starvation if one of its long detector cell-packed whiskers is damaged. In fact koi carp once had 3 pairs of barbels before they were bread out of them which shows how important these structures really are.
What I'm getting to here is that we can use these more familiar structures and others which are internal to catch more catfish and other big fish like carp. In fact both species have a very interesting concentration of sensory cells on their faces further enabling them to home in on chemicals in the water maybe also picked up in specialised cells along the lateral line along with tell-tale electrical activity in the water too. The mechanisms of fish olfaction and chemoreception are well worth discovering much more about in terms of bait designed to exploit them; it will make catching fish so much easier for the rest of your life (compared to not knowing!)
The receptor cells on the face are just one area to exploit and another are those situated in the nose which are stimulated by chemicals in similar but not identical ways that we can smell in air. In fact taste is very important in carp and catfish but in the case of carp the palatability of food is more important leading to actual food consumption, whereas the distance location of food is more important than taste in many catfish species.
Catfish and carp can often feed in binges rapidly exploiting an abundance of food when available and then having a period of digestion and inactivity although with the correct bait design you can keep carp feeding far more than Wels catfish for instance, which tend to have more inactive spells naturally. Catfish digestion, metabolism and activity levels respond even more than carp to a rise or fall in water temperatures, although this does not mean that the bigger specimens will not feed hard in colder water temperatures.
I have caught a 68 pound Wels in late November and a 42 pound Wels catfish in the last week of March with Northerly winds and snow at 3 o'clock in the morning; so be prepared for a few surprises! In the UK many of the biggest carp which are not caught perhaps for a few seasons may well get caught in January or February and again, this is a very significant time to exploit well designed baits! I remember fishing on a particular water the day Jon Pack landed the famous old British record carp called two-tone from Conningbrook in Kent UK, and when I met him we both commented on just how cold the water temperatures were that day!
The fact that big catfish and carp can binge feed makes things easier in many respects in regards setting them up for capture by leveraging ground bait techniques. (Many a British record carp has fallen to a well-designed nutritional bait that was introduced for at least a season or more before its final capture. ) It is often the case that catfish will spend much of their time hunting live bait prey fish but ground bait of various kinds can be used to concentrate the attentions of these predators and other fish too including their prey species.
However you will find that after a period of regular pre-baiting with ground bait of whatever form you choose, often the larger fish will habitually displace the smaller fish so you become very much more likely to catch the biggest first. This phenomenon is referred as the baiting triangle effect and it can actually happen in just a day although a few days or weeks is often more common for most carp and catfish anglers using conventional baits.
Personally I regard fishing with a live fish as bait as ignorant and just an example of how man conditions himself to the suffering of other life just for his pleasure. There are a selection of naturally irresistible prime feeding triggering substances easily available to us all, and within many potential fishing bait ingredients; and these will do the job of getting your quarry reliably on your hook! (The same goes for carp and other fish species, ) but each species differ slightly in their specific triggers, however all fish need the same 10 essential amino acids.
Just for instance, you might use a simple fishmeal based boilie bait with added fish oil to provide a regular supply of food to feed-up a deeper fish-holding spot you choose to fish. Fishmeal is a good ingredient for many reasons not least because it contains the correct balance of nutrients other fish essential need and as such are packed with naturally potent fish feeding triggers. It also contains some known and unknown palatability enhancers which improve the amount of food consumed. One such abundant example is glutamic acid. (Think monosodium glutamate familiar in many Chinese take-away meals making us want to eat more!)
There are many substances to exploit to keep ahead of fish and other fishermen and making your own unique homemade baits will save you simply shocking amounts of money even in the short-term. You can also adapt and enhance many readymade baits of all kinds to make them different to the norm and to exploit your fish's natural senses vastly in your favour to stimulate them to feed more confidently and intensively. Once you get a handle on fish feeding triggers (and other things like metabolism stimulators and even brain hormone-altering substances and in what food they are found in you will be in a fine position of power over your fish, and hold fantastic edges over anglers dependant on readymade baits!
This fishing bait secrets ebooks author has many more fishing and bait edges; just one could impact very significantly on your catches!
By Tim Richardson.
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Tim Richardson is a homemade carp and catfish bait maker and proven big fish angler. His unique leading bait making and enhancing fishing secrets guides are catching big fish for readers in 45 countries so get your copies of these revoltionary guides right NOW!