Mud Cats

What are mud catfish, and is it easy to catch them? How should I try?

The Mud Catfish is another name for the largest North American catfish species, the Flathead Catfish, also called the Yellow Catfish. “Flatties”, as they are affectionately called by their regular pursuers, are indigenous to the southeastern part of the USA, living primarily in the tributaries and river system of the Mississippi. Flathead cats are the only North American species to prefer dirtier water, and they are also the only species which actively hunts live prey. The largest Flatheads, as with most catfish, prefer deeper, darker water reaches, and thus tend to migrate to the deepest holes and troughs in a riverbed, coming up only at night, to feed in the shallows on the small fish that dwell there. Night time is by far the best time to fish for cats of any kind. There are many different techniques which have been shown to work well in catching Flathead cats, but the best ones always involve strong tackle, large, fish-based, natural baits, deep water and patience. Live baitfish of four inches or so, or chunks of dead fish are both top baits for attracting large Flatheads. Soap baits are also common commercial bait replacements. When you find out where a good deep spot is located in your waterway of choice, head there in the late evening, and bait up as suggested, using a slipweight rig, if you need a sinker, or no weight at all, if the current is light, and you can get a bait deep down without one. Then, either cast the bait upstream of the hole, so it will float down into it with the current, and let it sit, or, alternatively, you can start fishing upstream of the hole, and float down and drift fish an attractive bait through the area. Be prepared for a real struggle, when you hook one of these monsters – they are one of the toughest freshwater fighters around.


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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