Five Catfishing Tactics Anybody Can Use

There are very few people, bar those who do not have a liking for fish, who do not love eating a great piece of fried catfish battered in cornmeal with some crispy French fries. While you can purchase catfish meat at your local seafood shop or grocery store, this fish is much better when it is caught fresh and cooked within a day or two. It also freezes well but there is just something wonderful about a fresh piece of catfish hot out of the oil.
The only thing better than eating catfish is catching it. There are many large varieties that can make this fishing a challenge. Anyone who wants to be successful should follow these five catfishing tactics that anybody can use:

1. Know Your Catfish – There are a wide variety of catfish that you can angle for and they are located all over the country and the world to be exact. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are bottom feeders and prefer to eat their meals under cover of the dark. Other aspects of each catfish can be different so it is important to study up on them and know exactly what the habitat of each type of catfish is. You also need to know the prime fishing times and which season offers the best opportunity for catching them. For instance, many of the species do not feed during spawn so that would be an important aspect to know before heading out.
2. Types of Bait – One of the best aspects of catfishing is that their diets can be somewhat similar. Having said that, many catfish has a great variety of baits that they strike on while others only has a few. They follow smells more than they use their visual perception to find their meals. If you do not know the type of catfish and have not done your homework, you can always stick to the old standard of live bait fish. Bluegill is always a great choice and the bigger the baitfish the bigger the catfish you can hook. Some other common bait is crawfish, stinky bait, raw liver and fish guts.

3. River Fishing – Fishing in the river for catfish has its own challenges and can be difficult if one does not know where to find the big cats. There are two ways to fish on the river with one being from a boat and the other being from the shoreline. Either way, you want to make sure that you are upstream of the fish so that your bait floats in a natural way to the cats. This allows them to then follow the scent trail that your bait is leaves behind. As your bait flows past the catfish, reel it back in and cast out again in the same manner. Many fishermen catch their fish on the reel in rather than the cast out.

4. Lake Fishing – Taking the boat out on the lake is your best bet for catching the really large catfish. If you are fishing at a reservoir, fish around the damn as that is the place where the cats like to hang out. The conditions are perfect with the sunken concrete and the deep waters. Use your fish finder to locate the fish and then drop anchor and go to work. Any good technique is to leave the anchor in and allow the boat to drift along in the area that has the fish in it. If you drift too far away, turn on the motor to get the boat back in the correct location.

5. Equipment – When you fish for large catfish it is vital that you have the proper equipment along with you. Not only do need a variety of baits to satisfy the tastes of the fish, you also need to have large enough hooks to land them and strong enough line to reel them. Make sure you have a solid pole that can hold up under the weight of the large cats. The reel needs to be large and have a good drag on it for the fight that the fish puts up when it is hooked. Only with these tools and equipment that is in great working order can you successfully land a large catfish.

If you use the above five catfishing tactics then you can almost always be assured to catch at least one good sized fish on each outing. You need to have the proper equipment that can handle the fish you are bringing in and you need to know the fish you are angling for down to the last detail. No matter if you are fishing in a river or lake, the cats eat by smell and not by sight so you need to have a great scent trail that they can follow and strike.


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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