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Cermele: Using Catfish to Catch Smallmouth?

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September 14, 2010

Cermele: Using Catfish to Catch Smallmouth?

By Joe Cermele

Like Mr. Merwin, who just posted about some exceptional fishing in New York, I have been on a severe smallmouth kick lately. My home water, the Delaware River, has sprung to life in the last two weeks. Shad and herring fry are pushing downstream, and suddenly the big bass have lost their summer sluggishness. But it turns out fry are not the only thing these smallies are chowing on. I pulled this baby catfish from a bass's gullet this Sunday, and it's rather ironic because of something that happened just last week.

While perusing the tackle aisle at the Wally World with my uncle, he stumbled upon some randomly-placed packs of Gitzit Baby Blue Eyes (photo). I'm pretty up on lures, but I had never seen these soft-plastic jigs that look like little catfish. And frankly, I would have never thought to purchase them. My uncle, however, had heard some rumors that they are smallmouth killers, and there are tons of channel cats in the Delaware. "Worth a try," I said. Then three days later, I'm extracting this little cat from a bass throat.

I've yanked frogs, eels, mice, and even a little snake from a smallmouth's maw, but never a cat. I assumed the spines made them a little unappealing. Looks like I was wrong. Now I'm itching to see if those Baby Blue Eyes do some damage. Anyone ever used them? - JC

PS - If you missed the post announcing last week's contest winner, click here.

Comments (11)

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from CorieSquared wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

This makes sense to me. On the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers near Harrisburg, the locals swear by the sucess of the Stone Cat or Margined Madtom, which looks an awful lot like a catfish.

Glad to hear the Delaware River is treating you well. Several of my friends that fish it have reported the same thing in the last week. I sure hope the smallie fishing down here "turns on" like that too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i've used them limitedly, i've caught a couple fish on them. BUT, they don't compare to the real baby blue eyes...stone catties Coriesquared-i am north of harrisburg and I swear they will catch fish...but first you have to catch them lol

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

http://www.sigtackle.com/bait/case_madtoms.html

This madtom imitation has been available for several years. Its a simpler and cheaper imitation that has caught me quite a few smallies in the New River. I used live madtoms since I was a kid to catch smallies.

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from PSU_Bassboss wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

As a kid, I used to catch Madtoms in PA, but never thought to fish with them. I thought the only plastic bait anyone ever threw on the Susquehanna was a tube anyways, lol.

Come to think of it, tubes got the job done on the New River as well.

The craziest thing my buddy said he ever saw was a bass leaping up on a new laydown to snag a curious squirrel and drag it under... can't wait for squirrel-imitating lures to come out.

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from stick500 wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

I have yet to this day never been able to understand how any fish (flatheads included) can eat a catfish or a bullhead and not have it's stomach torn to shreds by those spines! I am seeing a DNR fisheries biologist on Sat. and plan on asking him if he knows.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jakenbake wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

I'd always heard about using madtoms to hook into big smallies, but I've never tried 'em. Looks like I'm gonna have to.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chrishinson1971 wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

would never have thought a bass would eat them but i guess it would work i would for sure try it out to see what happens .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i've never heard of these baits. gonna have to try them on the susquehanna this weekend. can't wait. may just go tonight if i can find them in a store around here.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i don't think you will find them in any store jamesti...you are gonna have to find a shallow trib and catch them

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TFrymyer31 wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

I have used the Baby Blue Eyes and caught fish on them in PA. But have you ever heard of a stone cat. It is a small, real catfish that smallmouths go crazy for. I've caught several fish between 15 and 18 inches. The tricky thing is catching the cats. It's a bit tricky but well worth get a few finger pricks to get one of those 20+ inchers!

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from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

never even heard of it sorry

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from CorieSquared wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

This makes sense to me. On the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers near Harrisburg, the locals swear by the sucess of the Stone Cat or Margined Madtom, which looks an awful lot like a catfish.

Glad to hear the Delaware River is treating you well. Several of my friends that fish it have reported the same thing in the last week. I sure hope the smallie fishing down here "turns on" like that too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i've used them limitedly, i've caught a couple fish on them. BUT, they don't compare to the real baby blue eyes...stone catties Coriesquared-i am north of harrisburg and I swear they will catch fish...but first you have to catch them lol

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i don't think you will find them in any store jamesti...you are gonna have to find a shallow trib and catch them

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

never even heard of it sorry

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

http://www.sigtackle.com/bait/case_madtoms.html

This madtom imitation has been available for several years. Its a simpler and cheaper imitation that has caught me quite a few smallies in the New River. I used live madtoms since I was a kid to catch smallies.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PSU_Bassboss wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

As a kid, I used to catch Madtoms in PA, but never thought to fish with them. I thought the only plastic bait anyone ever threw on the Susquehanna was a tube anyways, lol.

Come to think of it, tubes got the job done on the New River as well.

The craziest thing my buddy said he ever saw was a bass leaping up on a new laydown to snag a curious squirrel and drag it under... can't wait for squirrel-imitating lures to come out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from stick500 wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

I have yet to this day never been able to understand how any fish (flatheads included) can eat a catfish or a bullhead and not have it's stomach torn to shreds by those spines! I am seeing a DNR fisheries biologist on Sat. and plan on asking him if he knows.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jakenbake wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

I'd always heard about using madtoms to hook into big smallies, but I've never tried 'em. Looks like I'm gonna have to.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chrishinson1971 wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

would never have thought a bass would eat them but i guess it would work i would for sure try it out to see what happens .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i've never heard of these baits. gonna have to try them on the susquehanna this weekend. can't wait. may just go tonight if i can find them in a store around here.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TFrymyer31 wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

I have used the Baby Blue Eyes and caught fish on them in PA. But have you ever heard of a stone cat. It is a small, real catfish that smallmouths go crazy for. I've caught several fish between 15 and 18 inches. The tricky thing is catching the cats. It's a bit tricky but well worth get a few finger pricks to get one of those 20+ inchers!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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