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Blue Catfish – Commercial Hook and Line – Maryland Department of Natural Resources

[Soundtrack: Awareness – Associated Production
Music, Inc. (APM)] My name is Dave Confair…commercial waterman…been
on the water for about twenty-two years. I’ve been targeting blue cats for probably
the last five or six years. They’re one of the top fish for wintertime
fishing – when everything else is slow you can actually go and have a blast with these. They bend the rods for sure. I like to fish the Nanticoke watershed – the
Marshyhope. The blue cats being an invasive – you’re actually
helping out a little bit. Every blue cat you catch you probably save twenty
fish. The best bait I find is blue gills and shad. In the morning, on the way out, I like to
lay out a small piece of gill net. Usually it don’t take but about a half-hour of so
to fill the net up. Little bit of everything in the net – anywhere
from perch to rockfish. Anything that you’re not allowed to keep you
want to release right back into the water as fast as you can. Nothing goes to waste. Everything is sold or processed or froze up
– in case they ever do get tough to catch you’ve always got bait. Usually blue cats mark real easy on the depth
finder in big schools. Smaller ones seem to prefer the deeper water
– bigger ones like to stay towards the ledges, the drop-offs – where it goes from five foot
right down to fifteen foot. The colder it gets, the deeper you’ll find
them. I generally like to use 4-6 lines. I’ve got three rods with mono, three rods
with braid. The braid you can definitely cast bigger baits
farther but the braid is terrible with tangles. Terrible. I like to cut the bait in chunks two by four
inches for three of the rods and three of the rods I like to put pretty much the whole
shad on – fins trimmed off so it doesn’t spin if you’re fishing a lot of heavy current. The head and the belly I grind them up with
a chummer. It puts an oil slick on the water and sometimes
it helps to turn them on and get them biting. Anywhere from a 6/0 to and 8/0 circle hook
seems to work the best with about three to five ounces of weight. Tend to get five to twenty pounders on the
chunks and twenty-plus on the bigger bait. Big bait – big fish…the bigger the bait
the bigger the fish…for sure. When you hook-up on some fish you tend to
disperse the school a little bit. You might have to move to get on them again. Usually they don’t go very far. I don’t think people realize the size and
how many are really out there. The numbers are unbelievable. It would be great to have more people targeting
them…build a little better a market for them, educate people on how good they are
to eat, and you’re saving native species taking an invasive species out – definitely better
for the ecosystem.


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