Bill Dance Outdoors
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Meow: Catfishing Is A Mixture of Fishing Fun

Posted: July 23rd, 2014 by Bill Dance

Catfishing is a sport that is growing by plenty of huge pulls and hard tugs. There are more folks fishing for catfish than you could ever imagine, and let me tell you why. It is simply because catfish are so abundant — they are basically easy to catch and are found in ponds to lakes and creeks to rivers.

The sport in itself has come to be held in more high esteem, too. Many state fish and game agencies across the country are beginning to manage more for quality or trophy catfishing. Rules and regulations are being put on the books to protect and promote catfish as sport fish as well as a commercial fish.

Heck, a few years ago The Wall Street even ran an article on the rise of catfishing. So what does that tell you, the sport isn’t a bottom dweller anymore, that’s for sure.

And finally they are more fun to catch than words can describe.

So with that in mind I would like to devote this blog to catfish questions.

People ask me, in regards to kinds of cats, if blue catfish and white catfish are the same species. The answer is no. They are not the same. In fact, they are even mistaken for channel cats. A sure way to identify each is by counting the number of fleshy spines or rays in the anal fin. Whites have between 19-23 rays. Channel cats have between 24-30 and blues have between 30-36. Whites average only 2-4 pounds in most parts of the country and large ones rarely exceed 10 pounds. Beyond four years of age, the channel cat’s growth rate continues to escalate while the white cat stalls. The white catfish is native primarily to the eastern seaboard states from New York to Florida — but they have been stocked in rivers and lakes along the West Coast as well as a few northern states.

As you might know, when it comes to catfish…smelly is good! The way they obtain a scent is much different than the way we process odors. Catfish have chemo receptors all along their body that trigger not only their olfactory sense, but the sense of taste as well. The catfish smells a bait and actually tastes the bait at the same time. So for catfish to smell and taste scents in the water, all they have to do is come in contact with that odor in the water.

Surprisingly, the odor can come from a long distance, depending on several factors: the amount of bait put in the water, the speed of the water currents and width or the expanse of the water in which that odor has been placed. These old boys have small openings located on the top portion of their heads between their eyes and upper lip. They are called nares and lead to small chambers with a series of folds. Catfish have more folds than any other freshwater fish. These folds increase the surface area for smelling, and with over 175,000 taste buds on the surface of their body, you could say they are virtually a swimming tongue.

Now, the age old question is it true that the smellier the bet, the better it is for catfishing?

Many catfishermen believe that the more a bait smells, the better it will produce. However, research has shown that the ingredients that make a bait smell are not necessarily the ingredients that cause a catfish to come to the bait. They also have discovered that many of the baits that produce catfish don’t have to be foul-smelling.

Research has shown that fresh cut baits actually attract, and cause catfish like the channel and blue to bite more readily than foul-smelling, rancid baits. Generally, freshly caught cut bait will draw in and cause more cats to bite than that same bait will if it is rancid or allowed to spoil.

Bill Dance


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