The Right Bait For Limblining

What bait do you prefer when using a limbline?

A limbline is a great way to catch catfish, especially big flatheads.  One word of warning though – it’s illegal in some places, so check up on your local laws and make sure you don’t get into trouble.  The reason why it’s sometimes illegal is because its dangerous for somebody who comes along and doesn’t see it.

With limblining, you are mostly going for big flatheads, and they like live bait, especially stuff that moves.  One great baiting technique for limblining is to get a sun fish and put him on the line so that he’s halfway in the water.  This way, he’ll swim and thrash around and it will attract a big flathead up to the surface.  You can also use bluegill in this same way. 

River bream also work quite well.  Catfish will go after live bait before anything else, and these little guys will wiggle and thrash away all night long, allowing plenty of opportunity for a big old flathead to come along and find him. 

Any kind of good, river fish that will keep alive on the end of the line is good for limblining.  One good choice is to sacrifice one of your other tiny catfish.  Yeah, they’ll eat each other!  Avoid using goldfish, because they won’t stay alive very long in the river, and once they’re dead, the cats won’t go after them.

It’s possible to catch channel fish and other smaller cats using regular bait that catfish like, such as chicken livers and hot dogs, but to get the really big flatheads, you need something that’ll squirm.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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