First upcoming Attempt to catch a Buffalo (bigmouth or smallmouth)

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Gabe the Trash ...
Gabe the Trash Fish Angler's picture
First upcoming Attempt to catch a Buffalo (bigmouth or smallmouth)

Hello roughfishermen and roughfisherwomen,

 

This coming Monday, July 31st, my dad and I are taking our last trip before I head off to college. We have turned our eyes to Nelson Reservoir, a modest sized eastern Montana reservoir. Nelson is home to multiple MT roughfish state records, including the buffaloes.

I have read the tactics from this site and others, as well as watched videos on YouTube. Here is what I have gathered:

Tiny hooks - is size 14 okay?

Sensitive rod tips for small subtle bite.

Small bait - would a little piece of worm work?

Bigmouths filter feed, so a suspended bait would be the way to go for them.

 

Any thoughts or more tips? I think it'll be a long shot this time of year, but it's worth a shot.

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Bread

Grab a couple loafs of white bread before you go. Molding it around the hook is a great way to fish for buffs as it will sink slowly. Try to find a school of fish towards the surface and throw it into them. This seems to work in reservoirs around here for buffs, carp, and the occasional channel cat. Make sure you have light line. If you can't get the bait all the way out to the fish try a small float about 18"-24" above the float. This works for grass carp without spooking them so I can imagine it's work for buffs. Also, if you happen to find a school of feeding carp (just assuming they're in this lake) stay on them. The two species school together around here. 

Good luck dude!

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
teach a man to fish, and you'll never see him on weekends.

Gabe the Trash ...
Gabe the Trash Fish Angler's picture
Bread, eh?

I might have to try that. I really struggle with keeping bread on my lines. Do you do anything specific to it to keep it on the hook long enough for fish to eat it? Thanks Casey!

philaroman
philaroman's picture
look into cooked starch-based

look into cooked starch-based doughbaits (cornmeal, grits, Farina, oatmeal, etc.) -- more versatile & doesn't break up like kneaded bread (both, while casting or soaking)...  hundreds of recipes on-line

basically, play-dough consistency -- you can vary the density according to your needs

I add cheap legumes (yellow split peas -- best color/aroma; soybeans -- most protein)

if you want buoyancy, put Cheerio(s) on your hook & mold the doughbait around that

 

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
I always found white bread good

I always found white bread to stay on hooks VERY well, especially if you use very small treble hooks. If you mold the doughy section of the bread piece that isnt the crust around the hook (pack it around the treble basically), and it will also cast well. It doesn't hold that well in current, but you said you'd be in a lake. 

Maybe some corn would work? I've never actually used it that much, but I've heard good things.

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
teach a man to fish, and you'll never see him on weekends.

Gabe the Trash ...
Gabe the Trash Fish Angler's picture
The starch-based bait seems

The starch-based bait seems very interesting. I'll see if I can try them another time. And just white bread molded on the hook eh? I'll grab some to take in addition to the 6 packs of nightcrawlers. The buffalo dream seems far off, but I think I have a better chance of hooking some White Suckers, Bullheads, Channel cats, and perhaps a Shorthead Redhorse or too. Thank you both for your wisdom and knowledge!

philaroman
philaroman's picture
sorry, time to get on the soap-box

small baited trebles are great if you plan to harvest the fish, but if you intend to release them w/ minimal harm, there are some things to consider:

  • for any species, if a treble gets into the esophagus (much more likely w/ bait, than w/ artificials) mortality rate goes WAY up!
  • if you target "hard-mouthed" predators & plan to set the hook fairly quickly -- no big deal...  something like a Pike quick-set rig used correctly is not much different than a lure w/ trebles
  • for big, heavy, soft-lipped species, however, it's not a good idea -- even when lip-hooked, if more than one hook-point goes into the flesh, there can be some serious twisting & tearing that's way worse than a single puncture wound...  much longer to heal & more likely to get infected

I don't claim to be a Saint -- I've done it using lighter tackle (i.e., prolonged battle) & small bait-covered treble that worked itself completely into the flesh of Carp lips w/ just the eye & 3 points sticking out of a mangled, twisted, bloody mess...  "so my bait stays on better," wasn't a valid excuse for causing that much damage, IMHO

 

as far as bread goes, it certainly works; it's great for spur-of-the-moment convenience & floating presentations where fish are already feeding on floating bread...  otherwise, the right purpose-specific starchy concoction w/ the right mix of proteins, amino acids, flavors, etc. will outperform plain bread every time

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Sorry about that, should've been more clear

Sorry, should've been a bit more clear on how I use them. I use them when I'm sightfishing sometimes and I typically set the hook on carp quickly to avoid swallowing, and I'll also use the most when in areas infested with smaller fish like bluegills, chubs, and juvenile channel cats to avoid gut hookingg. It works for me, and carp will still be hook on their lips. I also typically fish with pinched barbs to make hook removal easier when wading. 

Trust me when there's just soft mouthed fish (carp, suckers, redhorse) I'll use small octopus and baitholder hooks.

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
teach a man to fish, and you'll never see him on weekends.

IsaacsFishingCorner
IsaacsFishingCorner's picture
I've caught both smallmouth

I've caught both smallmouth and bigmouth buffalo on white bread, but I don't like using a treble hooks. I found if I balled the bread around the eye of the hook I could have the point still exposed and have enough of a surface for the bread to hold on to for casting. I use a size 12 salmon egg hook and really haven't expeirenced much of an issue. You can free line it or set up a slip rig (I find white bread works well if you can chum the area, this is legal in my state but may not be in yours). The balled bread will sink slowly (free lined) and I've had good luck catching fish on it if you can find where they are feeding. I use bread because it is convient and I usually don't remember to make my own baits, but if you follow philaroman's advice I think you'll be much happier with the results

philaroman
philaroman's picture
cool -- we're all pretty much

cool -- we're all pretty much in agreement, then

BTW, for egg hooks I'm really impressed w/ Daiichi 4250 -- super-strong, sharp, stay sharp a really long time & micro-barbs don't need to be pinched...  small profile, too -- as much as I like size 12 in other styles, I usually opt for size 10, 8 or even 6;  in size 12 the wire seems too heavy & the eye seems too big for the rest of the hook, but that can be a benefit for keeping delicate moldable baits on the hook

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!