Introduction: Catfish and Snapping Turtle Bait Bags

For anybody that enjoys being Outside for Summer Fun, fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with family and friends, or just relax.

This short and simple "ible" will show a sure fire way to catch what lurks on the bottom of your favorite fishing hole. And, keep your BAIT ON THE HOOK, where it belongs. Please Vote if you find this ible educational.

Years back when I was in college, me and my buddies would spend some late nights away from campus enjoying the outdoors in Athens, Ohio in hopes of landing a big catfish. It was real bonding experience to load up the pick-up with the fishing gear, some night crawlers, and a pound or two of chicken liver. Oh, and some cold beverages of course. :-)

While there are many catfish bait products available at the local bait and tackle shop, chicken liver is probably one of the more popular baits to use for fishing for catfish. Why? Because catfish like it! Usually the stinkier the bait, the better for catfish.

Unfortunately, the consistency of the liver leads to quite a challenge of keeping the bait on the hook. Often times when you cast with liver on your hook, the rig will go one direction and the liver will fly off the hook another.

Most of the time we would head out with no light but the stars and moon to illuminate our way. This led to another challenge. How do we know if the bait stayed on the hook after the cast. The trick was this... cast and listen. After you cast, if you hear two splashes in the dark of night... you lost your bait on the cast and had to reel back in your hook and bait it again. Then repeat.

Follow these simple steps and you will get many casts and hopefully many fish from one clump of chicken liver. Keep the bait on the hook where it belongs.

Step 1: The Rig

The rig is relatively simple. First, you do not need to invest a lot of money in your rod and reel. We have caught plenty of fish on setups ranging from a kids $15 rod and reel set to a more expensive rig. The secret in this ible is keeping the bait on the hook with nylon panty hose or leggings!

What you need...

  • Rod and Reel
  • 8# test fishing line or higher
  • Swivel
  • #2 treble hook
  • Split Shot
  • Glow in the Dark or Battery Lit Bobber. Slip bobber preferred.
  • Old Nylons or Leggings
  • Optional: 4" inch steel leader. Just in case you have snapping turtles in the area. Without a leader, a snapper turtle may sever the line.

My images are limited as I had a line in the water while I was setting up my second pole to double assault the fish. So I will do my best to explain the set up.

  1. Using your preferred fishermen's knot, tie a swivel onto your line. While you can tie directly to your treble hook, a swivel is preferred to easily change out pre-baited hooks.
  2. 6-12 inches above the swivel fasten a split shot onto the line. Purpose of split shot is to stop the bobber from sliding down the line to the hook. Keeping the bobber away from hook prevents the two from tangling with the other.
  3. Above the split shot fasten a slip style bobber. I prefer a glow in the dark or light up bobber as I do most of my fishing for cats at night. Really makes life easier to see bobber movement.
  4. Fasten your #2 treble hook onto the swivel. Treble hooks are preferred as they give a better chance of keeping the liver on three hooks, rather than just one hook.

Prepare Bait

  1. Stuff a few ounces of chicken liver into nylon.
  2. Insert treble hook into nylon with liver. Get as much of the liver latched onto the hook.
  3. Tie a knot at open end of nylon near eye of hook to keep hook and liver inside the nylon netting.

Step 2: Cast and Relax

Cast and Wait

While waiting for the fish or turtles to bite, here are some additional tips to help with a successful time fishing for catfish and turtle.

  1. Prepare multiple baited hook bags. If you are planning on an all-nighter on the pond I recommend preparing multiple baited hook bags before your outing. Once made, you can keep them in the freezer in a container until you leave on your outing. Cast them in frozen and they will thaw in no time. I have discovered that after multiple missed sets on the fish, the liver disintegrates out of the bag. Overtime, perhaps 6-8 casts, you will reel in a hook and nylon bag with no liver left in the bag. Thief fish have sucked it out of the bag or it has permeated out of the bag. Simply remove the hook from the swivel and place another hook bag onto the swivel. This will save you lots of time and frustration trying to make another bag in the dark.
  2. Slip Bobbers. Remember this... catfish and turtles are bottom dwellers. You want your bait resting on the bottom of the body of water. I have seen too many times where the angler was guessing at the depth of the water. If they did not have enough line between bobber and bait, their bobber would be under water. You want your bobber floating on top of the water. With a slip bobber, the line moves freely through the bobber allowing the bait to go all the way to the bottom while the bobber stays afloat and easy to see.
  3. Glow in the Dark or Battery Powered Lighted Bobbers. Using some type of illuminated bobber at night is well worth the investment. When I first started cat fishing years ago, we had to rely on watching the tip of our rod for hits, or looking for the red and white bobbers with a flash light. You can purchase a battery powered bobber for about $5. Glow stick bobbers are a little less.
  4. Set the hook HARD! Once you see the bobber going under the water or running across the top, grab your pole and set the hook HARD. Catfish and turtles have a very bony mouth. You need to get that hook to set, or they will spit it. Just to send the message to my children or rookies, I tell them to rip the rod back and try to rip the fish's face OFF! I know sounds gruesome, but it will not really happen. But it makes a difference in how many fish you reel in. I have missed my share of fish because I did not set hard enough or was using a light action rod.

Step 3: Reel 'Em In

Here are images of some of our catches this summer!

Both day and night produce catfish.

Snapping turtles are not liked in our club ponds. Please excuse the turtle with the missing head, but that's they way it goes with snappers. Once you get them out of the water, it is the way to be safe. They can take a finger off easily. Turn the turtle into turtle soup or introduce it to the food chain in the woods. No fish is safe with this rig. Big or Small, we catch them and have fun doing it.

I hope this instructable makes someone else's experience as fun and memorable as our outings.

Please Vote and share any secrets you may have.

FYI... catfish are released back out the pond. The snapping turtles... well not so much.


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