Five Tactics to Catch the Largest Catfish

The catfish is the oldest and one of the most respected species being fished by anglers today. They provide a fishing experience like none other. Depending on which type of catfish you’re seeking out, they can grow to some amazing sizes. It’s quite an accomplishment to reel in a nice catch but when you hook one of the larger catfish, it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget. One thing is for sure, it’ll be something that you’ll be talking about for a very long time.

Nevertheless, even the smaller catfish will be a challenge, which is one of the reasons why this species is at the top of the list for popular game fish. After hooking one of these, you’ll be hooked on fishing. Many anglers have a strong desire to get out on the water every chance they get to try and catch one of the largest catfish in the area.

Catfish Fishing Tactics

The catfish fishing tactics that you use will make a difference in how successful your fishing trip ends. There are many different ones available and it’s a good idea to have several in mind before you get to the water. This way, you can make sure you pack the right gear for the methods you plan on using to try and catch one of the big boys.

Below are five tactics that can be used to catch the largest catfish in your area:

1. Take some time picking out which baits to use. Not only should it be something that can get the keen sense of smell this fish has stirred up but it needs to be larger than what you would normally use. Using large bait will reduce the number of bites you receive but it will make the ones you do get more productive because you’ll know it’s a large catfish on the end of your hook. The smaller ones will simply ignore the large bait.

2. Have a variety of baits on hand to choose from. Even if you plan to fish with live bait, it’s still a good idea to have a variety of artificial lures with you too. This way, you won’t have to leave the water early because you ran out of bait or because the catfish simply will not respond to your offering. If you’re not getting any bites with your first choice of bait, you can try something different to see how it works. Who knows, you may get lucky and find something that does capture its attention.

3. Plan to go night fishing. This is when the largest catfish are the most active and aggressive so it’s when you need to be on the water fishing. If you just can’t make it out at night, then go fishing before daybreak and after dusk for the best results.

4. Use a technique that will allow you to get the bait on the bottom where the catfish are located. Some of your best options include bottom bouncing, jigging and vertical fishing. Choose the smallest size weights you have that will get the bait to the bottom but that won’t weigh the bait down and keep it from moving realistically. You also want to use the smallest weight possible so it won’t be noticed by the catfish and ignored.

5. Before you go fishing for the largest catfish, get prepared. You can’t expect to go out and catch a large fish unless you have the right gear. You’ll need a rod and reel that’ll hold up to the struggle this fish is going to produced once it’s hooked. You’ll also need strong fishing line, sharp hooks and extra tackle because it’s very common to lose a few when fishing for this species. Don’t forget the extras that can make reeling in a large catfish easier. These include a good quality fishing net, hook remover, filet knife and a good pair of gloves.

You do need to have a lot of patience when trying to catch the largest catfish. The big ones tend to hold back more and they’re harder to catch. Nevertheless, with patience and persistence, you can be successful.

Practice your Fishing Techniques

If you truly want to catch the largest catfish then you need to get out on the water as often as possible. The old saying “practice makes perfect” is even true for fishing. The more you do it the better you’ll become at it. You’ll acquire knowledge about the catfish that you can only learn from first-hand experience. You’ll also learn about the water you’re fishing in and this will have a huge impact on your success.

Each time you go fishing you have an opportunity to practice your techniques and make corrections where needed. Eventually, you’ll be able to perfect your tactics and increase your odds for reeling in the largest catfish you’ve ever caught.


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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