Catching Catfish When They’re Suspending

Are all catfish really bottom feeders, or is it possible to catch them when they are suspending?

That’s one myth about catfish: They are always feeding on the bottom. Actually, catfish do come up to the surface to look for food quite often. They will “suspend” in a water column and sometimes even come all the way to the top. You will often see a group of catfish just under a school of bait fish, hanging out and trying to get a bite of one of them. You’ll see blues and big channel cats especially doing this, since their main source of food is smaller bait fish. When catfish are suspending, it is a great time for you to catch them. Catfish are more likely to come up from the bottom during the summer time, and during the hottest time of the day. Because of this, it is a good idea to drop hooks in several different depths of water, instead of just laying your hook on the bottom. A little trial and error will show you when and where the catfish are coming up to the surface. If you have an area where the fish are coming up to the surface, especially in a river with some current, this is a good time to jugline. Juglining means putting old milk jugs or something else on the surface of the water, with the hook and bait dangling below. When the catfish are coming up to the surface looking for food, they’ll head for your hook and when they hit, the jug will bounce up and down in the water. Juglining is the best technique for catching catfish on the surface in a river with some current.

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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