Part of what makes catfish so popular to catch is that they are considered one of the most fun to get on the line, can grow to monstrous sizes, and certain tactics and approaches make the whole process a lot easier. Because one tip will not be enough, we have compiled a list of the various ways you can make a catfishing trip more successful.
Before you start thinking about how they might look, served at dinner, work on how you can get them on the hook first. Although catfish themselves are common enough for most trips to turn into a memorable one, useful advice is not always so abundant. We’re putting this right today with our list of tips for catching catfish.
Ask Those In The Know
Although it can at times have a reputation of being a solitary sport, most fishermen and women are part of a friendly society, eager to share their advice. A local bait shop can be an excellent source of information when it comes to the best spots and holes to cast a line from in search of Catfish. Some will even go the extra mile and tell you the exact spot, conditions, and other bits of advice to help you gain an edge on a Catfish.
There is nothing wrong with searching an online forum for some advice in the local area, joining an angling Facebook group, and asking when you are in the general area. Once you are a fully-fledged Catfish bagging master, be sure to offer the same generosity should someone ask you the same questions.
Don’t Rely On Gear
There is something to be said for making life easier by picking up a quality rod that is 7’and less, the right reel, etc, but this won’t get a Catfish on the line alone. Before you get overconfident having invested in new gear, make sure you know the conditions, bait, and other essentials. Don’t be an all the gear and no idea type of angler.
Fish At Night
Sure, Catfish can be caught in the day, but there are far more active at night. This is where you can increase your chances as they are more prevalent where other species are inactive. When you have found the right spot, expect more pulls on the line simply by fishing at the right time of day.
Study The Map
Because catfish like to dwell in certain areas such as deep creeks and river channels, especially in the day, moving into shallower waters at night when it comes to feeding. Although they thrive in a variety of waters, making them an adaptive and renowned predator, look for flats and scouring holes on a map as well. Unless you are looking at a river where a search on Google Maps can help identify the parts where the deep holes are that can bring success.
Go For A Quality Line
This is where a lot of anglers will try and shave a few bucks off their expenses but when it comes to Catfishing, this is not a wise idea. For channel catfish, 12 lb test line is more than adequate, but for flathead or blue catfish you’re going to be looking at 20 – 30lb test monofilament line.
Use Multiple Lines
A common way of increasing your chances for almost any fish, but one that works with Catfish. Of course, it is important to get the bait, time of day, and location right first, but casting multiple lines can mean a shorter wait between bites. More hooks equal more chances of success and although some states have rules to restrict this number, usually there is plenty of room for multiple lines.
Don’t Be Afraid To Move
Catfishing may be a patient practice where setting up for the day in the same spot can feel like a good idea, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re not getting any joy, don’t be afraid to set up and cast into a different spot every 30 minutes. This is particularly the case for channel Catfish that tend to bite a lot faster. If you’re not getting anything, perhaps they’re not there.
Pay Attention To Hook Size
When it comes to catfish, one of the common downfalls comes at the hands of the hook. Attaching a hook with a large gap so it can clear the lip is important, even if it seems oversized at first. A small gap won’t even make it possible to reel a small catfish in, so be mindful of this before you cast into the water.
Use Different Baits
One of the benefits of using multiple lines is that they can be set in different spots, but different baits can also be used. There is a misconception that the likes of detritus are the best type of bait which isn’t always the case. Shad and Bluegill are known to come with their successes and live bait can be great at the right time of year (try it in summer!). Whilst some predators have particular tastes, catfish are a diverse predator, so take advantage.
Don’t Get Stuck At The Bottom
By this, we mean that although at night these fish tend to stick to the bottom or in rivers where their vision is impaired by murky waters, smelly bait will work better when it is off the bottom. Bobbers and floating jig heads can help to provide a scented trail that is both greater and more effective when it comes to getting Catfish on the hook.
Don’t Get Greedy
There is nothing wrong with catching as many Catfish as the fishing Gods allow, but when it comes to taking them home and serving them up, be conservative. The temptation can be to take home a big ‘un, but if you’re not going to use it, there is no point in wasting a good Catfish. This can give everyone else plenty to fish for, and ensure the Catfish population thrives without the risk of numbers dwindling needlessly.