5 fishing tips to catch the largest catfish

These 5 tips will certainly help you with getting the largest catfish! It can be very exciting when you go out there with the right tools on your side. Fishing has to do with technique and with timing more than with just luck. That is why some individuals seem to always get large catfish and others often go home disappointed with small catfish or nothing at all.
When to Fish

It is really important that you fish at the right time of day for catfish. You want to be out there when they will be feeding. When it is extremely hot during the day, night fishing is your best option for larger catfish. That is when they will be eating. If you can get out there between 10 pm and 2 am you will be right on target.

During this time frame, the air temperature and the surface temperature of the water has cooled enough. As a result, the bait fish are coming close to the shore. They are coming to feed on insects and other items. This provides the large catfish with the chance to find their own food – by consuming the bait fish in those locations.

Sometimes, there will be a slump after 2 am but they will feed heavily again about an hour before the sun comes up. If you can’t get out there late at night, you can really make it an effort to be out there ready to go before the sun comes up in the morning.


The summer months are the best time of year to go fishing for the larger catfish. In many locations, there are opportunities to get them in the spring too. It depends on the water temperatures though as they will need to be in the mid 60’s. In the summer though they warm up enough that the conditions can become ideal for quality fishing of the larger catfish.

Where to Fish

Fishing in large reservoirs or rivers for large catfish during these light night hours of the summer is perfect. You will want to fish close to the shore though for the best opportunities. This is especially true if you can find locations that offer trees, shrubs, or elements that hang over into the water. Since items fall from them, the bait fish will be attracted, and then the larger catfish will follow them.

Another reason for this is that when it is hot, the shallow waters will cool down faster than the deep waters. This makes it more comfortable there for the baitfish, and again, the larger predatory catfish will follow them.

The Right Bait and Tackle to Use

Let’s start by looking at the bait. Using live bait is the best bet for catfish. I recommend using the Bluegill. You can spend time during the day fishing for them. You want them to be alive so make sure you have a container that will store them well. Only keep those that are from 4 to 5 inches long. The Gamakatsu Octopus hooks are also recommended for getting them. Use a #3 hook as they are very durable and you will find that they offer plenty of benefits.

I agree, the hooks look small, but trust me when I tell you that they are wonderful! They have a large enough eyelet that you will be able to successfully tie 20 pound test line. If you are using monofilament. When I use monofilament, I prefer to use 10 or 15 pound test when I set and use my drag. I personally use Spider Wire because you can get 30 pound test the same diameter as 8 pound test monofilament. Fishing at night, you may not feel that the fish can spot anything unnatural but they can since you are fishing close to shore.


Casting close to shore is a simple technique, but one that will help you to get those larger catfish. Only use enough weight for your sinker to keep the Bluegill bait in place. You may need more weight though if you are in a strong current. You should have a mixture of weight so you can use trial and error to get it right.

I suggest that you start with one that is 3 ounces. You want to make sure the bait picker is on. That will allow the catfish to grab the Bluegill and run freely. This enables him to be able to get all of that fish in his mouth, and then you can set the hook.

Make sure that you don’t tie your sinkers onto the leader or the swivel. Slide them on first so that the line will be able to slide through them. This is a common mistake that prevents people from being able to catch large catfish. If the fish gets the indication that there is some resistance there, it will be likely to spit it out and your hook won’t set.

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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