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I fish a pond that has some nice 6-7lb channel cats. Unfortunately the pond is loaded with tiny bullheads. Everything I use normal catfish baits the bullheads get to it almost as soon as it his the water. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any sunfish in the pond so i can't catch any of those for bait. Do you think using these bullheads as cut or live bait would work?
 

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I fish a pond that has some nice 6-7lb channel cats. Unfortunately the pond is loaded with tiny bullheads. Everything I use normal catfish baits the bullheads get to it almost as soon as it his the water. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any sunfish in the pond so i can't catch any of those for bait. Do you think using these bullheads as cut or live bait would work?
Only one way to find out.... But, be careful! The tinier the bullhead or cat the easier for their dorsal and pec tips to pierce you and DO THEY STING! When I was a kid I saw a mother Bullhead with a bunch of her 1" long babies. Long story short, I caught a bunch of the babies scooping them up in my two hands. They stung me all over! My hands were so swollen I couldn't fish for two days!
 

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I've used them live, and they will catch fish but not near as productive as bluegills. In ponds we usually hook them in their back and suspend them around a foot off the bottom. As far as using them as cutbait you're going to have the same problem. Bullheads love cut bait, and most of the time will pick it up before the cats do. You could try using larger pieces but they will still pick away at it but won't be able to swallow it.
 

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live bullhead are my favorite bait for flathead catfish. They are hardy, and hooked through the lips, stay alive forever.

I have caught a few big channels on bullhead while targeting flathead, but in general, channels are more scavengers while flathead are more predators.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If I try to use them live, should I cut off their spines? I figure the spines would deter a cat from eating it.
 

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I've never cut them off. If they are hungry they will eat it. If there aren't many sunfish in the pond you are talking about I'll bet those cats are feeding on small bullheads.
 

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Bullheads are the premier bait for Flatheads ! Out East they use them in sizes up to 10 inches. Don't know if they would work for Channel cats. Good luck.
 

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I fished the S&S for carp back in high school, but always threw out a bottom rod with a minnow on it as well. The bullheads would usually get it first but once in awhile a fat channel cat would find it. In my opinion cut bait is the way to go, with members of the minnow and sunfish family working well. Chunk up either a sucker, bluegill, golden roach or if you want a really tough bait catch a small carp out of the pond and use that, just bring a very sharp knife because their scales are so tough. When I fished the S&S for cats, cut carp was my go to bait and the bullheads didn't bother it as much as other baits.

I know you said the pond probably doesn't have many sunfish, so use chunked up roaches or suckers (if you can find dead shad after ice out those work great too!) instead. Letting them dry out in the sun for awhile also produces a tougher bait, but you might attract flies. If you're on a budget, pork liver is tough as **** too. Bigger is not always better when targeting channel cats, so use 2x2 inch chunks or smaller. Impale one a number 2 or 4 octopus hook and you should be good to go.

And if bottom rigs aren't working, suspend a live roach under a bobber set a few feet above the bottom. Leeches are also a tough bait that catch a lot of kitties in the summertime. It sounds like you are wading through the bullheads to get to your target, but with a little patience and careful unhooking of those pesky slimeballs, I'm sure you'll get the cat you are after.
 

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You get "rid" of those bull heads if you know what i mean. Lol
Apparently the mid size ones are pretty easy to clean and fry up. IDNR says there's no size limit either.

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RjEUSkdks4"]The Fastest Way In The World To Clean Bullheads and Small Catfish Whole!-1/1 - YouTube[/ame]
 

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Bullheads make better catfish bait, IMO. You can fish them live or cut them into 1 inch steaks. Throw away the tails they are not good for bait.
 

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I've used them if I'm specifically targeting Flats. The average sized bullheads I've used were in the 4"-5" range and have never landed a channel cat. They were live, of course... I've never tried to use em as cutbait, but I'm pretty sure a hungry fish won't turn down an easy meal.
 

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Maybe try clipping the fins. Channel cats will definitely hit live baits, I've gotten some nice sized channel cats fishing live baits for flatheads.

Sometimes, I think they will just hit the bait in order to kill it (competition maybe?). Anyhow, I've taken some great channel cat hits on live baits that just buried the rod in the holder. A few of the stronger ones even made me think I had a small flathead at first!

Here's a channel cat I got at one of the forest preserves using a small bluegill below a slip float (also got a small northern that day).
 

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That's a nice Channel you got there Shawn! If my guess is correct, that's the same spot I caught my very first Flattie. To top it off...my rod was set in the same place your's was in that pic.:)21
 

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I know of some fisherman in the pool 5 and 6 area on the Mississippi who use bullhead for catfish. Both channel and flatheads. When I went we had almost a dozen 6-8 inches and we caught cats as small as 7 or 8 pounds off them. As well as some flats up to 20. The surprise of the trip was two very nice walleye. One was well over 10 and the other was about 8. Despite the pectoral fins fish seem to really love live bullhead. I'd give them a whirl if I was you.
 
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