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Chicken Livers for Summer Channel Cats

The Top 3 Ways To Keep This Standby Bait On The Hook

by Lake-Link Staff

If there's one method that's inexpensive, easy to fish, and consistently catches summer channel catfish, it's chicken liver rigged on a medium- to large circle hook attached to a 12- to 20-inch fluorocarbon or monofilament leader, a standard barrel swivel, and a "No-Roll" sinker in the 1 to 3 ounce class.

Here's the rub for anyone new to fishing catfish livers for cats: It's hard to keep the bait on the hook-as many of us discovered years ago the hard way. Yep, you can burn through a lot of chicken livers if you don't take the steps necessary to keep the bait on the hook. Especially making Olympian casts with heavy weights, un-prepared chicken liver will fly off your hook mid-cast.

Here are three top ways to keep chicken livers on your hook they belong-and hopefully on the lake or river bottom where mustached channel cats will find 'em!

(1) Panty Hose

Ask around and you'll find out that this is where a lot of channel cat anglers started to solve the dilemma of keeping chicken livers on the hook.

Rather than walk into a department store and buy pantyhose, many a male angler has raided his wife or girlfriend's dresser to "borrow" some of the required fabric.

The process is pretty simple-cut off a piece of panty hose, wrap up a chicken liver or two inside the panty hose, and cinch it into a ball and tie it off. Then you can run the hook right through the ball and you're good to go. The nice thing about panty hose is it's porous so the fish can still smell the bait and a bit of juice should extrude the mesh as well.

(2) Elastic Bait Thread

We can't quite remember where we learned this trick, but it's better than panty hose for presenting your bait naturally-as in liver meat exposed, no panty hose or surgical gauze (another method) involved. We use a product called that's basically a very thin rubber band. Personally, we use blood red, although it's available in a few colors.

How do you use it? Simply run your hook through a chicken liver or two (or three) and wrap Atlas Mike's Miracle Thread around the liver and shank of the hook several to half a dozen times and then simply break it off-no knots required. Surprisingly, the chicken liver stays put even when launching baits off the river bank and into swift current.

Atlas Mike's Miracle Thread
Keep the bait in place with Atlas Mike's Miracle Thread

(3) Cure Your Chicken Livers with Pro-Cure

We started messing around with this method of preparing chicken livers about a year ago. Rather than using the chicken livers as they are, you dump a bunch in a Zip-Lok bag and pour in a good amount of Pro Cure UV Glow Egg Cure, a mixture originally designed for salmon and trout anglers preparing spawn/roe sacks. Gotta tell you, though, channel cats love it, too!

Use Pro Cure UV Glow Egg Cure for chicken livers to catch catfish.
This mixture was originally designed for salmon and trout anglers preparing spawn/roe sacks. Gotta tell you, though, channel cats love it, too!
Shake up the bag and then take out the livers and set in a cool basement, garage, or in the refrigerator and let the Pro-Cure enhanced chicken livers cure for 1 to 5 days on a mesh wire screen over a baking pan or piece of cardboard. They'll lose moisture and gain something like the consistency of jerky, all the while absorbing a glowing UV coloring that's somewhere between blood red and purple.
Use Pro Cure UV Glow Egg Cure for chicken livers to catch catfish.
Mix the Pro-Cure and chicken liver is a bag.
Use Pro Cure UV Glow Egg Cure for chicken livers to catch catfish.
Let chicken livers cure for 1 to 5 days on a mesh wire screen.
According to Pro-Cure, the UV dye makes it easier for channel cats to locate the bait visually and by smell in stained waters. We can't disagree.

What we like most about chicken livers cured this way is they stay on the hook, no panty hose, surgical gauze, or elastic bait thread required. If you don't hook the fish too deep, you can even catch multiple fish on the semi-rigid livers cured this way.

Good luck! Remember: When it comes to catching fish, sometimes keeping it simple is best. For channel cats, give time-proven chicken livers a shot this summer. We don't think you'll be disappointed!

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