Catfish Fishing 101: Top Tips For Catching Catfish

5 Catfish Fishing Tips That Will Guarantee Great Catches Every Time

Personally speaking, Catfish was my favorite MTV show. It was about people who pretend to be someone else online. Later on, I discovered that it was just a fish, a delicious one. They used that name because catfish are known for their sneaky nature. It’s more abundant in freshwater. Fishers love catching it because it makes a great dinner that can feed an entire family. If you would like to know where you can get that humongous fish, I’ll walk you through it.

Here are 5 great catfish fishing tips that will double your success rate today;

1. Do Some Research

There are forty different types of catfish and 3000 species. It comes in different shapes and weights. Catfish can be as small as a panfish; however, it may weigh up to 57 kilograms.

It lives in freshwater like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The most notable species are the blue, channel, and flathead catfish.

Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish

It can be blue with a white stomach with no dark spots on its body and possess a forked tail. Blue ones can weigh up to 37 kilograms.

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

It can be olive green or grey. A channel can have dark spots covering its skin and possess a forked tail. It may weigh up to 14 kilograms.

Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish

It comes in different colors like black, brown, and pale yellow. The flathead doesn’t have a forked tail. It weighs up to 57 kilograms.

2. Locate Your Prey

Catfish is a freshwater fish that you may find at famous rivers and lakes, especially in the USA. But, they won’t be waiting out for you to come and get them.

As tasty as they can be, you will have to make much effort to catch them. Generally, fishing in clear waters will give you a great privilege in spotting these fish.

Start by finding their hotspots. River Holes are one of the most popular hiding spots for catfish. They usually hide in these river holes waiting for their lunch to be served. It would be a smart move to pinpoint these holes before setting up your seating. 

3. The Right Time

Cats aren’t sun-friendly, so it would be preferable if you go fishing at night, as catfish feel safer, and they come out from their hiding spots. If you can find their hiding spots in the morning, then go for it. But, most probably, as a beginner, you will have a hard time pointing out these precious spots.

Also, bear in mind that during the day, these fish will go into deeper levels to avoid the warmth of the sun. In that case, boat fishing will make your experience much more comfortable as you won’t have to waste your energy on longer casts.

It’s right that you can go catfishing at all times of the year, even though it may be more rewarding in a season more than the other. 

Winter: Now that’s your catfishing season. You may be amazed by the size of catfish in the winter. They may weigh up to 120 pounds, which can feed an entire city. You will be lucky to find the trophy bluefish as well as some monstrous channels.

Summer: The season should be left to catfishing experts because it’s the spawn cats season. To be more precise, you would be fighting an angry 9-month pregnant lady, and that’s not a pleasant sight.

During the summer, it gets harder to catch cats because of the warm waters, specifically the ones with a thermocline. 

It’s more advisable to go for channels and flatheads during the hot days. The blue ones are a no-go in the summer because of their toughness.

Spring and Fall: These are the hiding seasons for catfish. They become so challenging to locate because of the rising temperature. Cats aren’t a fan of high temperatures.

If you are doing this sport out of love and passion, then go for other species during these two seasons. But if you are a professional, then your previous experience will help you locate these sneaky cats.

A general tip for all beginners out there is that the change in the weather scares off fish. Consistency equals safety. So, if something changes, they freak out and hide. That sounds like a very human thing to do, don’t you think?

4. Ready. Steady. Fish

I believe that a beginner should buy proper gear to put his sole focus on tackling technicalities and casting, and not waste their time on a lousy rod or non-functioning reel. Here are some tips that will help you start as a catfisher. 

Bait and Lure

At the end of the day, catfish are fish. A good looking bait will drive them insane. Don’t underestimate the power of a stinky bait. 

Cats will be cats, whether they are 10 feet under the water or walking on the earth’s surface. They eat whatever you put near them.

Catfish are enticed by any form of live bait like shrimp, frogs, and worms. What I find so weird about these fish is that they get attracted to stinky bait as fish guts, mussels, and chicken liver. 

If you had no bait to tackle a catfish, don’t be surprised if you catch it using dog food. You can use an artificial lure, but it’s quite pricey. So, why waste your money on a fish that eats garbage?

Catfish have a strong sense of smell and taste. Using scented lures would be perfect to attract the cat. There are a lot of famous scented lures, but Berkley’s Gulp lures are the most recommended. They look real, except they aren’t.

These cats also developed intense hearing sensory organs, and that’s why some fishers use a noisy lure, which produces vibration and noise.

Fishing Rod

As previously mentioned, catfish come in different types and sizes. Each type needs a tackling technique, and each size requires a different rod. A 6 or 7-foot fast-action medium-power rod will get you all kinds of catfish.

The best option for catfishing is the baitcasting rod. You will need to match that rod with a baitcasting reel. You just need to learn the casting technique and let the rod do the rest. This rod can cast over long distances giving you superior control. 

Power: It refers to the rod’s ability to bend. In catfishing, you can settle for a heavy or medium-heavy powered rod. Catfish are massive and need heavy rods to keep up with such weight.

Length: It changes according to your position as an angler. If you are shore fishing, then you need a long rod to cast over long distances. But, if you are boat fishing, then a short rod will do the trick.

Material: If you are Channel fishing, then a graphite rod will suit you just fine. It’s sensitive enough to get the fish to catch on. If you are seeking blues or flatheads, then you will need a stronger counterpart. A composite rod can get you through a tough fight as it gives you more leverage over the fish.

So whatever you decide to choose, you have to match your desire with your needs to get started. You can also check out my recommended catfish fishing rods here. They have always brought in awesome results for me, and I believe they can do the same for you.

5. It’s Tackling Time:

1. Tackling a Blue or Flathead Catfish:

  • Choose the stinkier bait you have.
  • Attach the bait to a circular hook like the triple threat catfish hooks. You need the hook to penetrate the top corner of the fish’s mouth. Since these fish are huge, you need a large hook to catch it.
  • You need a heavy powered rod to tackle the cat. 
  • Stay strong during the fight. The blues and flatheads don’t give up easily; neither do you.

2. Tackling a Channel Catfish:

Channels can be massive, but on average, they aren’t.

  • Choose a stinky bait to entice the cat.
  • Attach the bait to a size six treble hook. It’s sharp and can hold tight to the prey.
  • A 7-foot rod will help you cast over a long distance. Make sure that as the rod gets longer, it gets heavier. You need to choose a lightweight rod, and this weight will hold you back from a good fishing experience.
  • “Finesse Fishing” is a term used to refer to tackling a channel. An angler looks for a cat and throws a bait right in front of that fish. It quickly catches on and saves you a lot of wait time. You go to the fish, not the other way round.

Final Thoughts

Fishing can be tedious. But, catfishing will pump some adrenaline into your system. Instead of sitting around doing nothing, get yourself a rod and go catfishing, or you can google “Catfish” and watch a few episodes of that cool MTV show. 

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