5 Ohio Catfishing Fishing Secrets

Fishing for catfish can be a fun way to spend the day on the water. Anglers of all ages can fish for this species and the equipment needed does not cost a fortune. Another positive aspect of fishing for catfish is that they are not very picky eaters as other species like the crappie are. They can strike on just about anything that gets their attention. The only problem is finding a food that does get their attention on that particular day. Fishing for cats in Ohio has its own challenges and there are some tricks that can be used to be successful. There are many varieties of catfish in this area with the channel cat and the flathead catfish being the most prolific. The following are 5 Ohio catfishing secrets you can use to get more catfish:

1. Live Bait – There are many schools of thought on what kind of live bait you should use when fishing for this species but most agree that using a bait fish that is native to the Ohio waters is your best option. Many bait and tackle shops that are located near the bodies of water stock the different baitfish for purchase. Others prefer to catch their own out of the actual lake that is being fished. This is a good idea as they are native and the catfish are used to this diet already and are more likely to strike on them. The most common species of bait fish are herring, shad and skipjack. The larger the bait fish, the larger catfish you can land.

2. Other Baits – There are many other bait types that the old timers use that are considered to be just as good as live baits. While many are proponents of live baits, these other baits are considered just as effective and can offer scent trails and a new food source that the cats cannot always resist. Chicken livers and gizzards are always a good option as they stink and have a texture that is similar to live bait. Other alternate baits are old hotdogs, raw bacon, fish innards and shrimp. One of the most popular bait is stinky bait. You can purchase this at your local bait shop or you can make your own. There are many great recipes online for making it and it is not expensive or difficult to do. Finally, some old timers consider the best bait for catfish is plain old Ivory Soap.

3. How to Find the Catfish – In this area, the catfish are located deep in the waters of the lakes and rivers. They prefer the mud where they can dig in during the cold winter months to stay warm and to keep cool in the hot summer months. Deep holes and washouts are a great place to find the cats because they like the darkness during the bright summer days. They are bottom feeders so this is the place you can find them when they are feeding as well.

4. Fishing Techniques – Once you have decided on the bait you want to use and you know where to find the cats, you need to know the best way to fish for them. You need to use a large enough sinker that can get to the bottom of the water where the fish are. Use an egg sinker placed about three feet above the steel leader that holds the bait. This allows the bait to float freely while making it to the bottom of the body of water. Cast out and leave the bait in the water for a few minutes then reel back in. If you are using live bait, check to make sure it is still alive before casting it back out again.

5. Prime Fishing Times – The best time to fish for catfish is in the cool spring and fall days and during the night in the summer. The cats do not like the hot summer days and are resting at the bottom. You can catch them at this time, but it is more difficult and you really have to work your bait to attract their attention. Late night fishing any time of the year is a good way to catch the larger catfish that are feeding at this time. While this can make for more difficulty seeing what you are doing, the results and amount of fish you catch is more than worth it.

Those who keep the above secrets in mind when fishing for cats in Ohio hardly ever go away from a fishing trip empty handed. Bring a few different types of baits to make sure you are offering what the catfish are striking on. Do not bother fishing on hot summer days and instead fish during the cooler nights when the catfish are feeding. Finally, get your baits to the bottom of the water where the fish love to dig in and lie in wait for their meals to swim by.


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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