Three questions to ask catfishing guides – and the best answers

You’ll find catfish in all types of water and there are several different types of catfish to seek out. Each one of them has its own unique qualities that attract different types of anglers. The three main types of catfish are the Blue, channel and the flathead. If you’re new to catfishing, hiring a guide to take you fishing is a great way to get the most from your trip.
They have the experience needed to entice this species to strike and they know the best places to go fishing. They are familiar with the water and what types of baits and techniques will get the best response in different situations. However, before you choose a guide, you need to learn all you can about them and the services offered.
Catfishing guides have different points of view on how to catch this species and they offer different types of experiences. They use diverse techniques and baits so look for one that offers the experience you would like to have. One of the main things that you’ll need to find out before you choose a guide is which type of catfish do they target. It would be very disappointing if you expect to catch a big blue and you end up fishing for channel catfish. Here are three more questions to ask catfishing guides along with the best answers to these questions.
Question #1 -When are you going fishing and what are your responsibilities?
The best answer to this question is late evening or early morning. This is when the catfish will be the most aggressive and biting hard. This is also when the bigger catfish will be the most aggressive. If you go fishing in the middle of the day, you probably won’t get many bites unless it’s extremely cloudy so keep this in mind when you learn the schedule.
You’ll also need to know what time you need to be boarding the boat and if you’re responsible for getting yourself there. Some guides provide transportation to and from hotels. Find out how long you’ll be on the water and if you need to bring anything special for the trip such as, food and drink. Some guides provide these and others do not. It’s the same with the tackle and gear. Some guides will provide everything you need and others will require you to bring your own.
Question #2 – What type of guarantees do they offer, if any?
The guide that you hire should have some type of guarantee because fishing is unpredictable and it’s impossible to plan a time when nothing can go wrong. You don’t know what the weather will be like when the time arrives to go fishing. An unforeseen event could cancel your plans, you could get sick or the charter service itself could be grounded and not be allowed on the water for some reason.
If something happens to prevent you from taking the trip, you need to know what will happen to the deposit that you paid when making the arrangements. Most guides do not offer refunds but some will reschedule your trip, which would be better than losing the money you’ve invested in the service. You should also find out if you’re guaranteed to get bites. Guides can’t usually guarantee that you’ll catch the fish but you want to at least have the chance to try. You don’t want to pay for a trip where all you can do is hope that a catfish will strike.
Question #3 – What do you do with the fish you catch?
The best answer to this question will depend on what you want from the fishing trip. For example, if you’re only going fishing for the fun of reeling in a few catfish then it doesn’t matter if you can keep them or not. On the other hand, if you’re interested in catching a trophy fish and you do catch a big one, you’re not going to want to release it back into the water. However, if that’s the policy, then you will have to let your catch go.
When choosing a catfishing guide, your safety should be your number one concern. Do your research and get a list of reliable guides that have a reputation of providing excellent service. After narrowing down your options to two or three that offers the services you want, learn more about these to determine which one can provide you with the best catfishing experience.
On top of the questions listed above, you should check to make sure the boats have proper inspections and that they are up to code. The captain should be licensed and provide insurance for the passengers. It’s also a good idea to check for references to see what others have to say about the experience they had on their fishing trip.
Before you set sail, learn where the life jackets are located and what steps to follow in case of an emergency. Always obey the rules of the captain. These are put in place for your safety. Following these steps can help you choose a guide that will provide you with the best catfishing experience possible.


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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