Catfishing tactics are different than fishing trout or steelhead. They are delicious fish and large in size. Whenever I hold the catfish in my hand, it feels like I am touching a soft jelly.
Catfish are very hard fighting and most underrated fish, the equipment is inexpensive, so whenever I get time, I go for catfish fishing and spend my time very joyfully. Their body is very soft, but it is challenging to land them on the ground.
Before going for catfish, you need to know the basics about when to go, where to go, how they behave, and what tactics are useful. This requires lots of practice and patience with proper equipment.
To spend your time with excitement, and want to eat a delicious item in your dinner, get ready to explore new things.
Catfish Tackle and Gear
Catfish also need the same gear as fish for other species, such as rod, reel, hooks, and other random gear. It does not require much tackle. However, catfish are in various sizes, so equipment must have robustness and durability.
Rod’s quality depends on fishing in freshwater and saltwater. The size could be 6 to 7 feet but need to have a lot of backbone so that the circle hooks can work effectively. If you catch large catfish, purchase a long handle rod.
Also, the rod does not need to be super heavy. You can use the ultralight technique with your lightweight rod. A fiberglass carbon fiber blend or graphite blended rod with medium or heavy power rating is best for catfish.
Most people get confused about which reel they should use. If you use a spinning rod and reel, smaller bait rigs are enough.
But if the line is heavy, baitcasting reels are better than spinning reels. For smaller catfish, 4000 size spinning reels and for the more enormous cat, 5000 size baitcasting reel is better.
You do not have to use hefty 100 lbs braided line for catfish. Whatever the cat is large or small, 20 to 30 lbs monoline is enough to land the fish.
You can use either a circle or treble hooks for catfish.Before choosing the hooks, make sure the gaps are large enough so you can easily unhook the catfish’s mouth. Using cut bait is very useful, and the circle hook is flexible in the fish mouth.
Treble hooks are also good, and it makes the marvelous structure of a bait.
To work in moving water, split sot, flat and no roll sinkers are good to use. You can adequately drag with them.
Swivels and Rod Holders
Buy good quality swivels and multiple rod holders. Catching a big cat needs a long rod holder, and medium catfish need a medium or small rod holder. If you are planning to catch bigger catfishes with heavier catfishing rods, then the holder will have to be tough enough.
When and Where to Catch Catfish
To know where you can catch catfish, you need o to learn about their species as different species lie different place. Catfish are mostly three species. Blue, channel, and flathead catfish are a different creature.
Blue catfish are usually the biggest in size and very popular in America. They are mostly found in Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri basins.
Sometimes they can also find in North Dakota lake and the Florida panhandle. They don’t love to stay deeper water much longer. A vital current area is the best place to find them.
Flathead catfish are very intelligent and fighter fish. They are hard to find and mostly live in the same area as blue catfish lives. They are also large in size.
Channel catfish are found everywhere in the rocky mountain in Canada and Mexico. They are small in size and more active in the water. So, while catching the channel catfishes, the catfish anglers should try to find the active water areas with more of them.
Best Time to Catch Catfishes
Catfish are mostly active at night rather than day. Although different species behave differently in different situations, so it depends on which species you are up to.
Flatheads are love to move at night, blue and channel catfish are active at the strong current whenever it is day or night. In the hot summer season, it is better to go for them at night. Catfish love cover to hide and night is god for them.
If you want to catch the day, go to the deeper water and cast it accurately. Different water sources, where water is shallow, measure the right depth.
Best Season to Catch in Lake and Ponds
Catfish are active all year round, but summer is best for catching them. Winter is also a good time, and sometimes you can even find them on ice.
In winter, they tend to live in slow-moving water, and in summer, they love fast-moving water with a strong current.
How to Catch Catfish
You can use any tactics to catch catfish with stink bait. But most of the anglers love still fishing and drift fishing for catfish. If you want to spend a relaxing day yet holding a catfish in your hand, use still fishing tactics.
However, it will take a long time to hook up a catfish. But if you don’t want to wait, attach the bai under the bobber, then drift it.
How to Catch Catfish in the River
Rivers and streams are the best places for targeting catfish. In summer, they like to stay upstream and downstream, fall and winter is their migration time. For giant channel catfish, go early in the morning or late at night. But during the day, some of the channel cats could be active.
Check for the two streams, mud line, other vital current area, holes, pools, below the dams, undercut banks, etc. You need to choose the best bait for them. Smelly forage is best for channel catfish, and live bait is very effective on flathead and blue catfish like other forage.
How to Catch Flathead Catfish at the River
Fathead likes to lives outside of river bends. They love the cover, so any abandoned bridge or downed trees are the best places to find them for catfish anglers. To get their attention, use live bait, such as shiners, chub minnows, skipjack herring, etc.
How to Catch Blue Catfish
You can use various types of bait to catch blue catfish. Search for them in the open water, around the depth, and in other places. Fresh cut bait is an effective bait for these types of catfishing. Make the baits oily and smelly so the blue cat will be attracted to them.
How to Catch Channel Catfish
Channel catfish are mostly found in fast-flowing water. Check the deep pools where has logs and boulders. In the big area, they tend to live in strong currents. They are versatile eater so that you can use cut bait, chicken liver, nightcrawlers, stink baits, dip baits, etc.
How to Catch Catfish in Lakes
Catfishing in lakes is similar to doing it on the ponds and other water sources. Old creeks and stream channels are the best places to find catfish. For the catfish anglers, following some small steps can be very beneficial for catching channel cats, different fly trouts, and other fishers.
Use the slip sinker rig and check the starting point. They love to stay at the structure or holes in the lakes. Some of the cats are found in the shallow water, and to trap them, you must use baitfish. The fishing line can be dark or while considering seeing something here is quite impossible even for fishes.
Also, some persons use float rigs with light when fishing at night. These tactics can be used in the darker time of day as well.
Also, the location of the bridge abutments is the best place to find them. Use cut bait and stinkbait for catfish. To make the line weighted, use a rig so the bait can move freely.
How to Catch a Catfish in a Pond
In the pond, catfish are very active. Ponds catfishing is more of sportfishing or bait fishing event where there will be selected spots to take out your lure and wait for the channel cats and other species. Here are some of the tips you can follow as a catfish angler or newbie person.
Choose strong smelly bait and use the appropriate gear. Before fishing, observe the catfish for a few days. Also Use lightweight slip sinker, and hooks that have bait holders. Catfish love to stay in the deepest part of the pond. So, you should focus on the Deepwater just outside the flow of the water.
Different catfish anglers use different baits and lure to attract flathead catfish and streamer catfish. You can use chicken livers with a slip sinker rig for targeting the bigger ones.
Also, check for the holes, attractions, pile o rocks, etc. They usually have a better vision, so your fishing position should be good. Do not make any sound when fishing and cast the line more in-depth in the pond.
What is the Best Bait for Catfish?
Catfish are very opportunistic feeders, so selecting proper bait is very important. Some of the best bait for them is,
Worm: Worms work best under the bobber or behind the sinker. You can use worms everywhere. However, worms are versatile food for every fish and other species. So, it is quite challenging to hook a catfish when you are using a worm.
Minnows and Shad: They are solid bait, and you can use them for different catfish. Live bait is best for stagnant water, and dead bait for moving water.
Stink Bait: Stink bait is only for catfish. They are best for hot summer days and when the water moves fast. So, use it in a creek or river.
Other Thing: You can also use whatever in your fridge has. Chicken, liver, shrimp, pork, etc., are good lures for catfish. Cheap soap is also popular bait for catfish.