River Fishing For Catfish

This system is one of the best ones for river fishing, because a heavy sinker can be used to combat the current, while the bait remains free to float naturally, and its link is directly to the rod tip, and not the sinker. Alternately, in some situations, it is possible to use a heavy bait without a sinker, but current pull may work against you and lift your bait away from the fish.

Using a rod in a boat, the sinkerless heavy bait idea works much better, as it can be drift fished through the holes and troughs in the bottom where the biggest cats congregate. Float downstream from above the deep spots, with your bait in tow, but with lots of line out, to let it roll naturally along near the bottom as it goes, until it rolls past a big, waiting cat.

Speaking of baits, big cats almost always prefer to eat dead fish, with the Flathead being the only habitual live-prey hunter of the three main species. All cats locate food and navigate by their senses of smell and touch. Accordingly, any bait you choose should be natural and highly-scented, and be a big enough morsel of food for the fish to appreciate, when it finds it. While dead fish is still probably the most surefire bait for big cats, smaller cats tend to be less picky eaters, and will grab up most anything that smells and feels good – chicken livers, bacon and wieners, cheese or soap baits are a few options that may prove effective. For Flatties, live bait fish are a good choice, especially on the deep-side edges of the shallows at night. Dead fish is also a very effective bait for Flatheads.

Chumming an area for a couple of days/evenings before you fish it is a great way to acclimatize the local fish to whatever bait you intend to use. Make a base chum mix, and add some too-small bits of your bait choice, and put it out there. The cats will get used to looking for your bait, but the first time they actually find a decent piece of it, it will be attached to your rod tip.

Make sure you check your local regulations for information on trotlining or jugfishing, if you intend to try these methods.

To get the full “River Fishing For Catfish” article you’ll need to download it here.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

One Response to “River Fishing For Catfish”

  1. Andrew 17 TRACKER says:

    I FISH IN MONTEREY AND LOCKPORT KENTUCKY ON THE KENTUCKY RIVER AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE BEST BAIT TO USE.IVE HAD SOME LUCK WITH DEAD FISH HEADS,LIVERS AND TRYED SHINNERS BUT NO LUCK WITH SHINNERS JUST GIVE ME A NEW TIP AND I WILL GLADLY APPRECIATE IT THANKS.

© 2010 Ask Catfish Fishing. All rights reserved. Sitemap
Proudly designed by TotalTreasureChest.