Five tips to catch trophy catfish

One of the reasons the catfish is such a well-liked species has a lot to do with their size. Certain types of catfish can grow to some amazing sizes so the odds of catching a trophy fish are very high. Many angles seek out the larger catfish because of the thrill. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reeling in a catfish large enough to be classified as a trophy fish. One thing is for sure, it’ll give you some great stories to tell.

The first step to catching a trophy catfish is learning all you can about the species so you know where to look for them and which baits will work the best. Learning all you can about the species you’re fishing for gives you an advantage and it can greatly improve the amount of success you have each time you go fishing.

Here are five more tips to catch trophy catfish that can help you reel in that big one:
1. Choose your gear wisely. If you want to catch a trophy catfish then you need to have strong, high quality gear that’ll hold up to the struggle you’ll encounter when you hook one of these monsters. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy the most expensive gear on the market but instead; it means that the gear you do use needs to be of good quality and in good shape.
2. Use electronics to help you locate the catfish. Electronics not only help you find your way around the lakes and rivers but they can help you locate the fish much faster and some can even give you an idea of the size of the fish.
3. If you truly want to catch a trophy fish, then it’s recommended you use live bait. This will get the attention of the catfish a lot faster than anything else. Bream is an excellent choice when trying to catch a large catfish.
4. One thing that a lot of anglers don’t realize is that when fishing for catfish, you don’t necessarily need to go way offshore to find them. Many times they can be found close enough to the shoreline to catch from river banks, piers, loading docks and so forth. Don’t overlook these areas when seeking out a trophy catfish or you could be missing out on some great fishing opportunities.
5. You have to be persistent if you want to go home with a trophy fish. It takes time to find the best area where the largest catfish are located and even longer to entice them to take your bait. Nevertheless, once you do have one dangling on the end of your fishing line, it will be well worth the wait.

It takes a combination of things to reel in a trophy fish and you must be willing to put forth the effort if you want to be a success. The catfish has been sought out by anglers for centuries and they’re well-known for their aggression and stubbornness as well as their great sense of smell. Nevertheless, they can be enticed to strike even when being picky if you get your bait in their personal space. This is due to their predatory nature.

Hooking the catfish is only half the battle, reeling him all the way in and getting him from the surface of the water onto the boat or shoreline can be a job in itself. Moving the rod in an up and down motion as you’re reeling in the line to keep it tight can make it easier to get the catfish to the edge of the boat. Once you get him to the edge, it’s a good idea to use a net to help support the weight of the fish. This will keep some of the stress off of your gear and keep you from having to strain as much as you’re trying to get it on dry land.

Don’t make the mistake of laying down your fishing rod and taking your eyes off of it. Many anglers have lost the complete rod and reel combo this way as they watched it flying through the water out of reach. When a catfish strike, they hit hard and then they have a tendency of running with the bait. If your fishing rod is not secure when this happens, it usually gets dragged away so always pay attention.

When fishing for trophy catfish, it’s a good idea to take along a friend or two. Not only will this make the fishing trips more interesting while you’re waiting for a bite but you may need some help getting your fish on shore.

Be careful when removing the hook to avoid getting stuck by the sharp barbs on the dorsal and pectoral fins. These can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. It’s also important to follow all safety rules that apply to boating and being around water. This can be a dangerous environment if not treated with respect.

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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