Patience with Cats

If I’m fishing for Catfish from the riverbank – how long should I stay in one spot before moving on?

It’s the one thing we’ve all been told, too many times…. “Patience, Grasshopper”. In everything we do, more patience would probably yield better results, if it didn’t drive us around the bend, first. These days, getting everything immediately, without effort, is so much the norm, that we are forgetting, as a society, that it has not always been this way. Our forebears worked from dawn to dark, each day, just to eat, and patience, then, was a matter of life and death, and not convenience. Mostly, good things come to those who wait….. but not for TOO long. Where catfish are concerned, there are a number of factors which can play into their feeding habits, and so, can affect our ability to catch them on demand. Most of the time, a reasonably hungry cat, offered a reasonably stinky bait, is a shoe-in for a good fish fight, and maybe, a fish-fry, too. However, cats can be finicky, sometimes. Lighting, current strength, bottom cover, the choice of bait, migratory practices of the fish, and other unrelated concerns, such as the fish’s breeding season, can all affect the likelihood of taking a fish at a given time and place. Generally, then, on the assumption that your chosen bait is one which the local fish know of, and will accept, a lack of bites is a question of fishing location, but not necessarily the spot itself. Often, fishing depth will affect the catch, as the fish are either schooling at a certain depth, or are precluded from finding the bait, because of bottom cover or conditions.

So, here’s the drill: In a good spot, with appropriate bait, fish the same spot for a minimum of 15 minutes, and, if there’s no strikes, try changing the depth of the bait a few feet. If there’s still nothing, and you question your bait, change it, or change spots. For the most part, any place that isn’t producing a strike in 30 minutes, is probably not working well….. but remember that catfish move around sometimes, too, and may return to your spot, so, where there once was nothing, may be some great hookups, a bit later on.


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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