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Bullhead-tips and tricks?


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I know these things are pretty easy to catch. Egg sinker, snelled hook and a crawler.
 

Just wondering what time of year is best and where to find them. I’ve always heard every spring is best and that creek mouths are where to find them.

 

My neighbor has a pond that he says has a bunch in it and I’m looking to put some in the fryer this year. The pond has an inlet and outlet creek, should I focus on that area? Max depth is around 6ft but average is 3ft. It gets really grassy in the summer and is loaded with big bass. 

 

If you fish for bullhead feel free to chime in on how you catch them, where you find them and how you clean/cook them. Spring is coming folks! 
 

 

Edited by dawsonscreek
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Can catch them all year. Spring through fall is best. I’ve caught them on tip ups.

We usually fish them at night during summer. It’s nice to get out on just about any river or pond at night when the days are hot.

They are what we call low pressure fishing. Sit on the bank of a farm pond listening to tunes. When the 12 pack is gone we leave. Usually have a bucket full by then.


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Any of the Finger lakes waterways are also good spots. Sandy beach areas are hotspots. Times are better when during or right after a good wind that churns up the muddy water. Old time smell of the latern classics. 

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I fish the keuka lake outlet just down stream from the lake. ( Indian Pines Park) Spring when water warms up and after a good rain is best, after it gets dark. Night crawler on single hook 1/2 oz. sinker a  foot above that.

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Specific to your buddy’s pond: target them shortly after ice out until early April. (So shallow weeds will get annoying) Leeches are sometimes tough to find early in year but are best bait. Inlet vs outlet, that variable is on you to figure out. 

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A few things come to mind: first of all fishing them in a pond can be quite different than in a Finger lake for example. They may or may not use the inlet or outlet. They are largely bottom feeders and prefer sandy or mud bottoms and usually are found scrounging things from those bottoms. They use their feelers around their mouths to feel for food rather than relying just on eyesight per se so they can be quite successful in muddy or murky water. I am mentioning this as it relates to the particular way you fish for them which can vary considerably. An important consideration is wind direction. Usually the most success is with the wind coming towards you because they follow the migration path from wind driven current underwater of whatever they can find and often near bottom, but they are attracted to movement detected by their feelers for moving worms, leeches or left over waxies or spikes from ice fishing dangling a foot or two off bottom can also be effective. They seem to be highly attracted to smelly/rotten things as well e.g. pieces of shrimp way past its prime, pieces of dead fathead minnows etc. Although they can be caught in the daytime most of their concentrated activity occurs at night as they are not as dependent as some species on vision for locating their food. As far as the pond situation you described I would position myself near the mouth of an inlet or outlet with the wind blowing toward you  when the water is murky and at night just as dark approaches using a lantern or light with the side toward you blocked (we used to use aluminum foil on the half facing you to block the glare and enable you to see your lines clearly. Sometimes a small piece of broken styrofoam cup and pe placed on your line to help see the line go ou.t Find some shrubs a or bushes nearby and cut some forked sticks to use as rod holders to place your rods on. Cast out aways and put allow a "u shaped" loop in your line don't totally tighten it so that you can detect when they pick up the bait as they can be very light biters. The setups can be as you described, but I have always had success with a typical perch rig type setup with bell sinker at bottom and one or two hooks either tied directly to the line , or  a two inch loop with hook suspended. In the daytime they may be caught with typical bobber setups with the line suspended just above the bottom in murky or muddy water. The version tied directly detects bites more quickly but they may also detect the tension while the loop version is not quite as quick to sense the bite. So there you have it....Bullhead 101:lol:

P.S. Small red (striped) manure worms in small gobs work great too.

Edited by Sk8man
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 Another tip... Use dead minnows,  dead sawbellies or cut bait from suckers ,chubs etc.  or pieces of store bought shrimp instead of worms.. The little sunnies and 4 inch perch tend not to bother those baits as much... Some places its not a problem, but in some spots the sunnies. perch, shiners, etc, etc will drive you crazy... they don't bother cut bait as much  as worms and bullheads love it...

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 also, they can be disgusting to eat once the water warms up,, I find them inedible in some lakes, and quite good in  others.. They are a LOT better to eat in spring than in summer in a lot of places.. \

 

I can't say where it is,  as it would get hammered relentlessly if word got out,but I know of a  small public lake that regularly gives up truly massive bullheads of to 3 pounds-18 to 20 inches... Not a  numbers type of pond,  never caught more than 2 or 3 in a day, usually one or none,but the ones  in there are the biggest I have ever seen in NYS.... bob

Edited by bulletbob
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Bullhead fishing with a bamboo pole is what started it all for me. Hook, sinker, bobber and a couple feet of line on the end of a stick and when the bite wasn't happening we'd play in the mud and dam up the small streams running off the fields into the creek. Life was good those days. 

 

Thanks for the trip down memory lane there :rofl: but as other have said the mouths of creeks after a good warm rain was always the ticket. My Grandfather always use to say, if the worms are out, the bullhead will be biting. He'd also say that once you started seeing trout lilly's blossom, then they'd be further upstream. 

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