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Catfish Week: Simple Summer Channel Cats

The perfect chicken-liver concoction will tempt any hungry kitty cat into showing up.

Catfish Week: Simple Summer Channel Cats
Try this famous chicken-liver concoction to attract hungry summertime catfish.

We have the tendency to make fishing more complicated than it needs to be. Technology, tackle, we’re constantly looking for better gear to make fishing easier, but sometimes simplicity catches more fish.

01-summer-cats-support
Catfish are highly scent-oriented, and if you beef up the scent of chicken liver, the results will be impressive.

When it comes to channel catfish—a great species to chase in summer—it’s hard to beat fishing simple chicken livers for bait, purchased at your local grocery store. As far as gear, a medium-sized circle hook and a short, foot to two-foot fluorocarbon or monofilament leader, a barrel swivel, and a 1- to 3-ounce “No-Roll” sinker is all you need. Or even a big egg sinker, but “No-Roll” sinkers are more streamlined and work better in current areas. Hard to beat an Ugly Stik or fiberglass rod—or a medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting stick—whatever you’ve got.

Preparing Your Chicken Liver Bait

Rather than using the chicken livers as they are, dump a bunch in a Zip-Lok bag and pour in a good amount of Pro Cure UV Glow Egg Cure, a mixture originally designed for salmon and trout anglers preparing spawn/roe sacks. It works for channels, not just salmonids.

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Step 1: Gather your ingredients.

Shake up the bag and then take out the livers and set in a cool basement, garage, or in the refrigerator and let the Pro-Cure enhanced chicken livers cure for 1 to 5 days on a mesh wire screen over a baking pan or piece of cardboard. They’ll lose moisture and gain something like the consistency of jerky, all the while absorbing a glowing UV coloring that’s somewhere between blood red and purple.

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Step 2: Mix your ingredients.

According to Pro-Cure, the UV dye makes it easier for channel cats to locate the bait in stained waters.

What we like most about chicken livers cured this way is they stay on the hook, no panty hose, surgical gauze, or elastic bait thread required. If you don’t hook the fish too deep, you can even catch multiple fish on the semi-rigid livers cured this way.

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Step 3: Finish the recipe ... and get ready for some action!

Ways To Keep Your Bait on the Hook

You can also use panty hose—an old school way of keeping chicken livers on the hook. Simply cut off a piece of panty hose, wrap up a chicken liver or two inside the panty hose, and cinch it into a ball and tie it off. Then you can run the hook right through the ball and you’re good to go. The nice thing about panty hose is it’s porous so the fish can still smell the bait and a bit of juice should extrude the mesh as well.

I’m not sure where I learned about this method, but there’s a product called Atlas Mike’s Miracle Thread that allows you to present your bait naturally, liver meat exposed, no panty hose or surgical gauze (another method) involved.

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Atlas Mikes Thread is critical to making this system work.

What is Miracle Thread? It’s basically a very thin rubber band, available in blood red, which I use, even though channel cats supposedly have poor eyesight. Sometimes confidence is trumps science.

Simply run your hook through a chicken liver or two (or three) and wrap Atlas Mike’s Miracle Thread around the liver and shank of the hook several to half a dozen times and then break it off—no knots required. Surprisingly, the chicken liver stays put even when launching baits off the river bank and into swift current.

For channel cats, give time-proven chicken livers a shot this summer. They’re an inexpensive and great way to put fish in the cooler. Deep-fried cats are tasty—and they’re also great smoked.




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