Five tips for catfishing

Best to ask around when you start fishing in a new area and see what the locals like. See what they’re selling most of in the bait stores, and make sure you have more than one kind of bait with you if you plan to be out for more than an hour or two.

Size the bait for the hooks you using, which should be sized for the fish you hope to catch. There’s nothing sillier than a big ol’ slice of bait fish flopping about on a tiny hook. And the chances are you’ll be catching turtles, not catfish.

Tip # 4: Chum the Water
Makes you think of sharks, but it works just as well with catfish. You will increase the number of cats you catch if you take the time to seed the area you plan to fish before you cast your first line into the water. Chumming is pretty straightforward. Throw balls of chumming mixture into the water. Dough balls work well, especially if flavored with the drained oils from canned fish such as tuna or sardines. The heavy odor of the oils in the water attracts the catfish and you will catch many more using this technique. If you can match the chum with your bait, you will get the best results. Even when the fish are caught in chummed waters the other cats tend not to notice: They’re so busy eating!

Tip # 5: Be Careful Removing the Hook from Your Catch
There’s no need to be cruel, even you plan on eating your catch. If you intend to throw it back, it’s even more important to treat the fish with respect and dignity.  Catfish have no teeth, but their horns, the two on the side and the one on the top, can release a strong poison that can penetrate skin and cause considerable pain. Their primary fins can also cut or scratch unprotected flesh quite easily.   Your best bet is to wear gloves and grasp the fish from beneath.

Slide your hand up the belly from the tail and hold the body between your thumb and forefinger. Use a pair of pliers to pull the hook free from the mouth with as little pressure and damage to the fish as possible. A razor sharp hook is not what you want to stick yourself with any more than the cat’s fins.

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Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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