What is your go to baits for the cats? I love fishing with chicken liver. Last year a friend and I fished side by side and he used chicken hearts. The catch numbers were about the same. They are also a lot easier to keep on the hook.
If you fish livers and hearts side-by-side, it's possible your stinky livers were helping create the scent to draw in fish that just found the heart first and ate it. I've never seen any other chicken organ perform as well as livers.
My favorite bait is cut-bait anymore, cut up suckers/fallfish seems to produce the best for me.
A good way to keep chicken liver on your hook without using trebels, is to get some of the string wrap they use for spawn sacks, put the liver on your hook and wrap it a few times with the string wrap( no need to tie it) it will stay on your hook cast after cast.
20 yrs ago I fished for cats on the Susky with a group of guys.They all used a whole,shelled,raw,shrinp on a large hook.I tried big minnows,hot dogs,chicken livers & hearts,big crawlers and numerous stinkbaits.I was outfished every time till I gave in and used shrimp.
We tried older shrimp as it was cheaper.They didn't like it and went back to fresh shrimp.
I will say it really stays on the hook well when casting!
PANFISH! Flatheads LOVE panfish. If you want BIG catfish use LIVE panfish. Rockbass, bluegill, sunfish.... Doesn't matter. Upwards of a foot long works. Cut bait, stink bait, worms, dead bait will get Channels and small Flathead here on the Susky. But big predator fish are caught on other big fish!
Well, I bought a tub of chicken livers yesterday, and it was between letting it fester in the sun for a couple days, or mince up some Garlic to add to it, so I went the Garlic route. They say that adding garlic to liver, or even your nightcrawlers, will increase chances.
Also, watched a youtube video of a guy that uses the tubular medical gauze as a sack to wrap around the liver. Forms like a netting, and you kind of just thread the hook through it a few times. The holes are larger than a panty hose, or a regular type gauze. I have to find some of that stuff.
Blue gills, gizzard shad, chicken liver, and shrimp. I like using cut bluegills for channels. If I use a whole one. I'll fillet it, but leaving the fillets attached to it so they flop around and really get the scent and oils moving. Had great success with them.