Four Trophy Catfishing Tactics

Many anglers seek out the catfish because some of them can grow to some pretty amazing sizes. When you’re after that trophy fish, you stand a good chance of actually reeling one in when fishing for this species because they can grow so large. It’s a good feeling to catch a trophy fish especially when it’s one that is as hard to catch as the catfish. There are several reasons why this species is considered one of the hardest to catch.
They are a stubborn fish that’s hard to predict. One day, they will tear up a certain type of bait and then they won’t even touch it the next day. This gets many anglers frustrated and they give up their search for the mighty cat. However, you can entice them to strike even when they don’t want to simply by getting the bait into their territory. They may be lazy sometimes and stubborn but they’re also a predator fish and they don’t like it when something invades their personal space.
Another reason reeling in a trophy cat is so special is because this is a strong species that will fight you to the very end and then some. They will pull back, thrash around and do everything possible to get loose while you’re reeling them in. Then, they’ll continue to thrash around and try to get back into the water after you manage to them on dry land. Even the small ones will make you work for your catch but a trophy cat will wear you out.
Here are four trophy catfishing tactics to help you succeed at reeling in that big one:
1. Take advantage of all the benefits night fishing has to offer. This is when the trophy catfish are going to be the most active and aggressive so, night fishing will greatly increase the odds of catching one. If you can’t go fishing at night for some reason, then go fishing in the late evening about an hour before sunset and early morning around dawn.
2. Live bait will draw in more trophy catfish than any other bait. This is because they are naturally attracted to the smell and they instinctively respond to live bait. Try using minnows, shad, nightcrawlers and shrimp. Keep your bait fresh by keeping it in a bait-well or cooler and you’ll usually get better results even though most catfish will strike at dead bait.
3. Plan your fishing trips during the spring and fall because this is when they will be the most plentiful and the easiest to catch. You can fish for this species anytime but you stand a better chance of catching the big one during these two seasons.
4. Catfish are located on the bottom of the water or suspended a foot or two above the bottom. Use a technique that will get your bait down on the bottom such as drift fishing or jigging.
Now that you know a few good tactics to use, here are a few good tips that can prove to be quite useful as well. Prepare your gear before you head out to the water. Check everything and look for items that are worn or damaged in some way and replace these immediately. Pack extra tackle and fishing line in your tackle box because you never know when you’ll need to replace them.
Use a strong rod and reel combined with use heavy duty fishing line when you know you’re seeking out trophy catfish because they will put a lot of stress on your gear. You need equipment that is durable enough to handle this species or you’ll have trouble reeling them in when you do get one hooked. Circle hooks will secure your catch better and make it harder for it to work its way off while you’re trying to reel it in.
Carry a good, strong fishing net with you to help you get the catfish from the surface of the water to the boat or shoreline. It will take a lot of the strain off both you and the fish. Don’t forget the pliers or hook remover, gloves, lantern, flashlight and filet knife. These will make things a lot easier when out on the water. It’s also a good idea to take along some snacks and beverages to keep you comfortable while on the water. This way, you won’t have to call it an early night when the fish are biting.
Get to know the area so you don’t have to waste time looking for the fish. This will also make it safer when night fishing since it can be more difficult maneuvering around the water at night. Catching a trophy catfish is something to be proud of and it will certainly give you one great story to tell. Your friends and family will be thrilled listening to your amazing story as you explain how you hooked and reeled in your trophy.


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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