My favorite cut bait is what I catch in the body of water I am fishing. By far goldeye and carp (common or Asian) are my favorite cut bait to fish with. The majority of the flatheads and blues I catch are caught on goldeye or carp. Now with that said I am not against other cut bait, but the Missouri river is full of common carp and unfortunately the Asian carp are as thick as thieves in some parts of the river. Fortunately for me catfish like Asian carp.
Goldeye:My Preferred Bait
Goldeye is my preferred bait. They are native to the Missouri river and the catfish love them. Goldeye is an oily fish and that oil creates a nice scent trail for a catfish to find. I find they bleed profusely and a huge flathead or blue is sure to be attracted to the scent of bloody fish in the water. To catch them I always have two lighter rod rigged up to. One is a simple hook and bobber with a worm that I fish around wing dikes and in the current seam. The second pole is rigged with a small lure such as a small crankbait, hair jig, or spinner bait. My only issue with goldeye is spending the time to catch them. Sometimes I can’t get them and when we do catch them we may only catch one or two. A large goldeye might make three to five pieces of bait, so when you only have one or two they are very precious.
Cut Common Carp
Common carp make excellent bait. They are relatively easy to catch and one large carp can make 10 to 20 pieces of cut bait. I try to only use only small and medium carp because I want to leave the bigger carp for someone to enjoy catching. I have compassion for all big fish (except for Asian carp) and I think they deserve to fight another day. I won’t lie if I am desperate for bait I might violate my own rule.
I so want skipjack herring to be my go to bait, but is not very common in the Missouri river in Nebraska. I bought my skipjack frozen from a guy who caught them in Alabama. Without a doubt they are legendary catfish bait. I wish I could get them more often because they are proven to be catfish candy