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How To Use Catfish Traps

Sep 8, 2008
If you are wanting to find out how to use catfish traps, you need to start out by determining if it is legal to use them in the area in which you plan to fish for catfish. Catfish trapping is highly regulated in a lot of places, and it pays to know the regulations for your area ahead of time.

There are two basic types of catfish traps used. Slat traps are long, wooden traps with an entrance way that is angled. Wire hoop traps are made up of several circular wire hoops that make up a funneled entrance that keeps the fish from swimming out once it has swum into the trap to get the bait, which is typically dog food, commercial bait, or rancid cheeses. It is possible to catch over a hundred fish a day in these traps, but many animal rights activists object to their use because, channel catfish have to be able to move freely to respirate via aerobic respiration. If they can not move freely, they can not breathe, suffocate, and die. Current standards are being examined to determine if larger traps could eliminate that problem.

The size of the opening determines how big a fish you can catch in your trap, and since they come in various sizes, you will want to carefully consider the size trap you want to use, because the fish has to be able to get through the opening and swim into the second chamber of the trap in order for it to work. Once you have chosen the type and size trap you want, using it is actually pretty simple.

Next, decide what type bait you want to use in the trap you have chosen. As a general rule, strong smelling bait tends to work best. The most common types of bait for catching catfish in traps is dog food, commercial bait, or rotting cheeses. Other choices are chicken liver, blood bait, shrimp, or cutbait, and many catfish anglers swear by the smelliest canned catfood you can find. The thing is that if you use a loose, easily dissolved substance such as cat food, you must make sure you can keep it in the trap rather than letting it wash away in the water.

Consider putting the catfood in a zipper seal bag and punching some pin holes in the bag to allow small amounts of the bait to leak out slowly, while keeping most of the substance inside. Another option would be wrapping the bait in cheese cloth and putting the whole thing into an old coffee can with a plastic lid. Poke some holes in the plastic lid to allow some of the scent to seep out. Another alternative is to just put some holes into the catfood can with a nail and put the whole thing into your trap.

Once you are ready to actually put the trap in the water, you might want to take a look at how fast the water current is moving. If it is very rapid at all, you should weight the trap down with something heavy. These big catfish can really do some damage and move things around once they find themselves in your trap.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best catfish fishing information possible. Get more information on catfish fishing traps here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com/
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