Guide Justin Whiteside said he begins each day using a variety of different baits to determine what’s working best.

“I usually have what I think will work best, but really it’s just a daily catfish preference, so I give them a smorgasbord,” he said. “I use gizzard and threadfin shad, perch, bream and even herring if I have them.”

Guide William Attaway uses the same assortment of baits and sometimes uses others such as chunks of chicken breast, but he doesn’t soak his in WD-40 as some anglers do.

“I’ve had really good success on chicken-breast chunks for big fish at times,” he said. “It’s not always the favorite, but I believe it’s worth trying when searching for the daily pattern.”

Attaway and Whiteside both like to use white perch with one side filleted from the tail toward the head, then pulling the fillet up, exposing the entrails. Run the hook through the fillet and the head of the perch. Rigged in this manner, they said the bait has great scent dispersal; it helps that white perch are often a favorite winter meal of big blue catfish.