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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well on 6th or 7th I plan on giving catfishin a try.

The kool thing is that on the weekends Irvine Lake stay's open from 6am-2am. And at 20 bucks for the full day of fishing sounds pretty dam good to me.

So can everyone on here tell me the best way to fish for CATs?

Ive only been told its kinda like lobster fishing....dead rotten bait is best. with a medium rod...with 8-10lb line????.

Rigs?

Setup?

Poles?

Reels?

Hooks?

Thanks hope to see you guys/gals there.
 

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Some ideas.

I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking that your Socal lake is probably stocked with channel cats, and that they probably run from maybe a half pound to perhaps 10 pounds. If this is true, then (if you are fishing from the bank), I would consider fishing with a 8-10lb outfit. UNLESS there are lots of obstructions (rocks, down trees, etc), in which case you may wish to go up to 15 lb line. Channel cats tend not to be line shy, so you can use heavier, but it misses the sport to me. If you are fishing from the bank, I would consider a 7-8 foot pole so that you can cast as far as you wish. For a reel, you can use spinning, you can use bait casting, you can use a conventional reel. It helps to have a decent drag, but you ain't fishing yellowtail here. Now, the key thing in catfishing, IMHO, is the bait. Since you are a beginner, I would suggest two baits to start. Set up one pole with nightcrawlers. I use a number 6 bait holder bronze hook. I happen to use an Eagle Claw 181 model, but it doesn't matter. The bait holder hook looks like this:
I use a whole nightcrawler on the hook, which means that you have ends and loops flopping around. That's good. I start out with the hook at the end of the line, a small swivel about 2 feet up, and an egg sinker above the swivel. Typical size is 1/2 oz, but you use what you need to hold the bait in place. (Catfish feed primarily by smell. If your bait is washing all over the place, it's harder to find.) The idea of the egg sinker is that the fish doesn't feel the weight so much when it pulls out the line (I keep the reel on free spool, or a spinner with an open bail). If there is a lot of current with clear water, sometimes an inflated worm works better than on the bottom. Use the same rig, but inflate the worm with a needle. Your second bait should be "stink bait". There are many brands and styles. Some folks swear by chicken blood, some by cheese, some by others. I personally find that stink bait based on dead shad (bait fish, not east coast shad) works wonders. (Bring a towel and some of that nonwater based handcleaner ifyou use stink bait.) Nowadays, folks don't like getting their hands in it, and they make it thinner ("dip bait") and use a "plasic worm with groves" to put the bait on. I just don't think it works as well as the old fashioned stuff. When I use stink bait, I use a size 2, size 4, or size 6 (the smaller ones) treble hook and mold the bait around it. When you get done, all you see is a ball of bait. There is a style that has a spring around the shaft that works great. It looks like this:
The ones I have are old, and I don't remember the brand or model. The picture above is a "Bill Dance" model and it's too expensive for my tastes. Eagle Claw has a model called 374SBA, but I don't know the sizes. (Different companies use different rules...small numbers big hooks and vice versa.) I buy shad stink bait from a local guy, but for commerical stuff I've found that this brand works well. (I like the original, not the garlic or blood) When I use stink bait, I wad up a half dozen balls of it and toss them into the area I'm going to throw my bait into. (Chum) Back here you can fish two poles, and I have one with worm and one with stink. If one bait works much better, I switch both to the same. Now, as you get more experienced, you can go to more exotic baits that often catch bigger fish.....tho there is more time waiting for bites. The biggest cats I've caught have been on 2-3inch bluegills. (Check whether this is legal in Cal.) Another good bait (sometimes) is crawdads. Finally (and strangely) I've had a wide open bite on regular ole shrimp (yep, the kind that you get in the market) BUT (trick) You leave them out in the sun until they start to stink. (And boy, do they stink.) Finally, chicken livers work well at times....use the spring trebles to keep 'em on. But for a beginner, nightcrawers and stink bait will catch you a lot of cats. Here's a site about cats and bait: http://www.catfished.com/bait.html (It doesn't list stink bait....which is an error.) If it weren't for their heads, Channel cats would be nice looking, at least until they get up to around 4 pounds. But they fight ok, and they taste great.
Have fun.

This post edited by Oldtimer 06/04/2008
 

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If that lake is the one I googled on the net. There are some big fish in there.
This is something that is from quite a while ago.

Irvine Lake Records (as of 12/19/2000):
Largemouth Bass: 14 pounds 7 ounces

Red Ear Sunfish: 2 pounds

Bluegill Sunfish: 2 pounds 4 ounces

Channel Catfish: 50 pounds

Blue Catfish 89.6 pounds

Crappie: 4 pounds 2 ounces

Rainbow Trout: 20.65 pounds

Sturgeon: 47 pounds

Red Ear Sunfish: 2 pounds

For bait I would use unsalted anchovies or fresh caught bluegill.
FREEZER
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
re: Some ideas.

Wow Thank you very much oldtimer....this is what I love about this site :) I got two more questions if you don't mind.... I was thinking about using a old penn No.106 I use for random fishing at catalina. It has 15lb line on it right now. Would be cazy to use that? The reason why I was thinking about taking it was because I still dont know if we will be using a boat or shore. And what pound test pole I should use?

This post edited by ChuckyMonkeyMan 06/04/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FREEZER said:
If that lake is the one I googled on the net. There are some big fish in there.
This is something that is from quite a while ago.

Irvine Lake Records (as of 12/19/2000):
Largemouth Bass: 14 pounds 7 ounces

Red Ear Sunfish: 2 pounds

Bluegill Sunfish: 2 pounds 4 ounces

Channel Catfish: 50 pounds

Blue Catfish 89.6 pounds

Crappie: 4 pounds 2 ounces

Rainbow Trout: 20.65 pounds

Sturgeon: 47 pounds

Red Ear Sunfish: 2 pounds

For bait I would use unsalted anchovies or fresh caught bluegill.
FREEZER








Ya my buddys get 7-11lb trout there about every time they go.....Im not very good with trout but thats why I bring beer and smokes to pass the time...lol

But they dont let you take bass for some dam reason...its C&R only....which I hate...since I pay to get into the dam place.

I see guys very now and then toss bass into there live wells but I'm not going to turn them in. But I do give them dirty looks. lol


And the sturgeon...wow big boys there but there C&R too.
 

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You are welcome.

Sure, your old Penn will work, if it's in good working order. But if you are fishing bank, you need to be able to cast it. But in general, old line don't work worth sheet. So unless your 15 lb mono is fairly new, I'd put new on. While the lake may have some big cats, you won't likely be catching them with crawlers and stink, so I would go to 10lb or 12lb new line instead of 15lb. (Again, unless the lake if filled with junk.) JMHO. The pole should match the line strength. If you are fishing 10lb, use a pole that's rated 8-12 or 8-15. Makes everything work better. It makes no sense to fish 15lb test line on a rod designed for 4 lb test line. When I fish for bigger cats, I use bluegills or liver. But they are less common, so I get fewer bites. When I just want to catch fish in the 1-10lb range, I use crawlers and stink. If nothing is biting, I will experiment with the other baits I listed. Good luck. QUESTION: Did you mean a Penn 109 reel?? I just realized that I've never heard of a Penn 106 reel. The 109 is a level wind that was first made in the late fifties and discontinued in about 2000. It looks like this:
If that's the reel you mean, it will work fine, as long as you can cast it.

This post edited by Oldtimer 06/04/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
re: You are welcome.

Thanks again Oldtimer....

Well line is new...and reel is in good working order.

I guess I gotta hitup save on tackel to get a new rod then or take on of my buddys.

And much as I would love to use live bait...I really really dont think we can here in Socal.


But I think I got all the right hooks and bait...and will give the shrimp a try...last time at the tackel shop my gf pick out some catfish hooks with little sponges on them. I cant wait to give those a try...:p
 

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The fun thing about Irvine Lake is that, while you probably won't, you can stumble onto a fish that will leave you wondering if BNSF lost a locomotive. There are 100lb-plus fish in there, although they are likely all blues.
For the stockers, most guys use chunks of mackerel. Guys who can fish the piers and jetties in the morning for fresh macks have a big advantage over those who have to use the frozen ones they sell at the tackle shop.
Nightcrawlers are towards the top of the bait list, as are shrimp and the M&M. It's the same deal that you use top catch trout, except you use two marshmallows and two or three meal worms with the mealworms sandwiched between the marshmallows.
Bowker's stink bait is a common "scent." The shop also sells a couple of prepared baits, one is DuMong's, the other is Catmando. Wear gloves if you use any of the three, and DO NOT wipe your hands on your pants. Burning them doesn't get hot enough...
Catfish at the local lakes will show up in different spots each night and while there are some spots that are just hot, what's hot tonight won't necessarily be hot tomorrow night.
Stockers tend to stay shallow and close to the docks or out at the flats, holdovers and wild fish will be down by the dam, for the most part.
As for tackle, use rods that you would use for the 3-B's (bass, barries and bonito). If you're going to try for a trophy (which, BTW, also have to be released), I'm told by very reliable sources that the go-to bait is a mackerel head, pinned to a 9/0 circle hook (hooked through the lips) and fly-lined into likely water. A small Torium or Trinidad spooled with 30-lb. and spectra would not be overkill for those beasts. Fresh line is a must.
I like the fight, so I use my trout tackle. 2- and 4-lb. line and long trout rods make for some fun times!
Catfish are strong fish, and they don't tire quickly. My personal best catfish is an 8-pounder caught from a float tube while out slow-trolling nightcrawlers for trout. Over half an hour fight to land it on 2-lb. tackle.
Good luck, and while you're out there, be sure to watch the hills as the sun sets. There are lots of deer, bobcats and a few mountain lions in the area that you just might get a look at. Let us know how your trip goes!
 

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Ive always done well using cut mackerel on a size 1 or 2 hook flylined. If youre using smaller baits (stink bait, marshmellows, corn etc) put a splitshot or two on your line to get it down. Chicken liver works well also, but they tend to slide off the hook fairly easy if you dont run the hook through the liver a few times. I dont bother with stink bait. Just let your bait sink to the bottom and if youre using a spinning reel, keep the bail open, or keep a casting reel in freespool. Catfish are sensitive to line pressure so you want him to take the bait a while before you set the hook, dont set on a bite. Edit: Just spoke with my brother who catfishes arizona lakes quite frequently. His solution to the chicken liver sliding off the hook is to cut a 2" square piece of nylon stocking, and wrap the chicken liver in it and tie it up with string. But if I were to do that, Id probably cut a few slits in it after wrapping the liver so that the juicy goodness gets out.

This post edited by Casting call 06/05/2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well just to be safe...depending on my fishing buddys....I'll take 3 setups....

A 15-30lb rod with a okuma with 20lb mono

A 2-8lb rod with random reel with 7lb mono

A 8-15lb r od with random reel with 10lb mono


I'll leave one back at the car depending on if we get a boat.


Thank you all for all the info...if you got more I would love to hear it. pics too =)
 

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Ought to work.

A 15-30lb rod with a okuma with 20lb mono.
A bit heavy for most of what you will catch, but it will work.

A 2-8lb rod with random reel with 7lb mono
1)Where in the world to you get 7lb mono???
Maybe a little light, but it will work and give you good sport.

A 8-15lb rod with random reel with 10lb mono
Perfect.

I'm presuming that your rods have a bit of length to them. Shore fishing is hard with a 5 foot rod.

One other trick. Have a rod holder for each rod that you can stick in the bank. (I personally like a relatively LOW angle to the water, rather than having the rod upright. Less tension on line.) Put a rubber band around the rod in front of the reel seat but before the first guide. Then put your reel in freespool (or open bail if spinner) and pull out 12-24 inches of line and let it drop on the ground. Then make a small loop, and tuck it just barely under the rubber band. On a convential reel, leave the clicker on. When the cat hits the bait, mouths it, and the moves off, it has 12-24inches of completely free line with no tension. Once it gets that out, it tugs out the line off the rubber band, and it's now on the clicker. Most of the time, it just keeps running and the clicker alerts you to the bite if you aren't watching. to make a small loop that you just stick the edge of under the rubber band. If they drop the bait when they hit the clicker, you take off the clicker and watch your pole more closely. (For some folks, the decision is made by the amount of beer present!LOL)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
re: Ought to work.

Ya 7lb...I dont know where I got the set up...it must have been like 10years ago when I was kid. My 1st rod and reel...(sniffel)....

Well all the Rods are 6'6 and above...

The reason for the 15-30lb rod is for the night...and or boat...



LOL My gf was telling me she will try to make some out of pipe or somthing.:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My report from last Night

Ok....

I took everyone advice....


Our plans got change alittle due kids and base ball game......

My gf dad had the kids and was at a base ball game....

We waited for them since we wanted all of us to go.

We killed time by shoe and clothes shopping for my gf at the mall.

Around 5pm we meet up....packed up...and headed out at 6pm.


Got to irvine lake around 7:30pm.

We fished on the east shore line near the boat docks.

Right as started setting up the guys to are left and right had hooked up on what looked like a 4lb and 9lb cats.

I saw about 9 - 14 hook ups all night.

We didnt get one bite all night.

Nigtcrawlers were the ticket.

And bells are a must.

Stink bait didnt work.

macks didnt work.

We all used different set up to see what would be best.

We headed out around 11:30pm with talk of catalina fishing trip next month lol.

Will have pics of trip when emiled to me.

thanks for all the info guys.

The kids still had a blast.
 

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re: My report from last Night

Sorry to hear of your skunk. Irvine Lake is like that, especially without the mobility of a boat. Kinda hard to keep kids on a boat, though, and when they get $150 for a pontoon rental, it gets expensive really quickly.
Don't give up! It's a great place to fish and relax, especially when the summer daytime temps get to cooking. Nightfall always brings cooler air.
Try fishing your nightcrawlers like you would for trout: pinch it in half and thread it into a small hook. I would use nothing bigger than a size 8 for the worm. Blow it up so it floats and use just enough lead to get it ouot where you want it.
Good luck!
 
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