Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catfish Fever

Well, after attempting to fish the Grand River in Grand Ledge for catfish when it was flirting with flood stage, I scored a little bit of redemption on a recent return trip. The water was a whole lot calmer, as it flowed along at it's normal summer pace. The sun was gleaming down, warming the air well into the eighties, and I was optimistic some channel cats would be boated.

Tactics and Equipment

Rod and Reel: Pflueger Trion GX 6'6" Medium Action Rod and Pflueger Trion GX-7 Reel

Line: Berkley Fireline Crystal 8lb.

Rig: Thill bobber, split shot, and No. 4 Eagle Baitkeeper Hook

Bait: Chicken Liver, Berkley GULP Chicken Liver

Tactics: Anchor just upstream of fallen trees, dead-fall and log jams adjacent to deep water (5-10ft) and drift bait under a float set approximately one foot off bottom. Most of the better holes tend to be hanging out over 7+ foot of water. The holes that are 5 foot deep seem to be borderline producers, and usually yield smaller sized channel cats. Be sure to probe not only the upstream edge, but the downstream edge as well. Also, let your bait drift out away from the tip of a log jam as channel cats will hold in all these areas to feed.


I started the day with a pretty slow start. I have always been intrigued whether the artificial catfish baits worked as well as natural bait. So, I picked up some of Berkley's GULP chicken liver imitation for $5.99 and decided to give it a test. My buddy Daryn was using good ole natural chicken livers which run under $2 at most grocery stores. After watching my bobber drift across prime log jams numerous times without a nibble, I was growing skeptical very quickly. Daryn had already boated 3 or 4 nice catfish and I was in danger of getting skunked. So, all faith was lost in the GULP chicken livers and I switched to natural chicken liver. I'm glad I did, because we were approaching the most promising of all our honey holes, a pile of timber adjacent to 13 foot of water just above the Fitzgerald Park Dam. On Daryn's first drift across the timber, he hooked up with a nice 7-8 pounder. Not long after this, a good sized 6-7 pounder started chewing on my bait, and a few minutes later he was boated. We ended the day with seven nice sized cats boated, and a couple of bullheads, one which was covered in leeches. Conclusion: GULP chicken livers do not work as good as natural chicken liver. This is evident when you take a whiff of the open bag of GULP. The aroma is not as pungent as that of a tub of chicken liver that has been festering in the sun for a couple hours, which you can smell a good 6 foot away.

Daryn battling a 7-8 pounder at our top producing spot

A nice 6-7 pounder that saved me from a skunkin'

You never know what might eat chicken liver......A leather-back turtle that devoured Daryn's bait

These baitfish also seemed to like chicken liver

Daryn releasing a nice 3-4 pounder

Myself bringing a whiskered warrior to the boat


  1. nice story, you're a good writer... maybe i just think that b/c it is better than the crab I am sitting through right now at school!


  2. It's tough to compete against law school lectures, but I try!