Catching Skip jack herring for catfish bait

When skipjack hit they leave little to the imagination, they are mean! And can be fun to catch. Your line will go tight in a sudden rush and the fish will just keep on moving despite your best efforts to control them, they love to jump.

The fight of a skipjack is characterized by strong, fast runs and sudden rushes to the surface displaying their flashy acrobatics, destroying crappie jigs and plastic grubs. they dont call them Tennessee tarpons for nothin!

How to catch skip jack?

The best bait for the trophy cats is skip jack herring and at times, you’ll spend more time catchin your bait as you do actually catfishing because you have to catch skip jack with a rod and reel. This is why this spring time run is an important time for catfisherman.

In the spring from April to June the skip jack will start migration to the tail waters to initially feed and stay to spawn and in this time frame there are thick by the thousands and the easiest time for a catfisherman to collect some bait. When they’re running good it’s not uncommon to catch 1 or 2 every cast. Skip jack can also be caught in the winter months around the hot water discharges from factories along the rivers.

Myself: ill take a couple days of nothing but bait collection, catching a few hundred a day and stocking my freezer with bait for the coming months when the skip jack get scarce in the hot months, 4 or 5 hundred skip jack packed in2 gal. zip lock bags will generally last me until the fall when the skip jack return to the tail waters in the fall to feed.
To catch skip jack you’ll need a med action rod with a spin casting reel spooled with some 14 lb mono.
Skip Jack Rig.

Tie a barrel swivel to the 14 lb main line and tie a 3 foot piece of 20 lb mono leader to the other end of the barrel swivel. Now you will need to tie a marabou jig on the leader about a foot below your swivel leaving a 2 foot piece of leader exposed, now come down anther foot and tie another marabou jig below the last jig leaving 1 foot of leader exposed and once again tie one more jig at the end of your leader completing the skip jack rig.

Look for skipjack along the faster current seams running close to the bank along rocky shores or rip rap. Cast your rig out and retrieve in quickly and hang on.


  1. madshovelhead says:

    im in florence ky need skipjack have no boat can some one help were to get them from ohio river please help

  2. Steve Douglas says:

    you can catch them from the bank at most dams on the ohio river around mid april til june

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