Catfish Basics #062 – Lively Cut Bait – Wesley Mann, Texarkana, Texas

Wesley Mann credits fresh bait and a special cut of that bait for much of his success in catfishing. He learned what he calls his “saltwater cut” on an offshore boat in Florida.

“First, I keep my gizzard shad on ice so they remain fresh,” instructed Mann. “I want a 6- to 8-inch gizzard shad. Starting at the rear, just like you were filleting it, make all the way up to the gills. Flip it over and do the same thing to the other side. Then carefully remove the spine and tail fin, leaving the fillets and guts attached to the head.”

“Then use a double hook rig to present the bait,” continued Mann. “Put one hook through the head and the stinger hook through just one of the fillets. When this bait goes through the water the filets undulate and make the bait look like a swimming fish as you drag it along.”

Mann really only likes this cut when he has the smaller 6- to 8-inch shad. He is using one whole shad per line. He considers the larger shad too big for this cut. On larger shad he prefers to cut them like you would a skipjack.

Mann removes the tail and spline from 6- to 8-inch shad before pinning on a double hook rig. (Wesley Mann Photo)

“What I call the ‘saltwater cut’ really brings life to the bait,” concluded Mann. “The flapping fillets give the appearance of a swimming fish and the way it is cut there is a good release of smell too.”

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