Three Tactics to Catch the Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are sought out by many angers for several different reasons. They’re a very challenging species that will put up an amazing fight once hooked so, this is one of the things that makes them so popular. You know when you have one of these fish on the end of your line because they’ll give you a workout.

They’re also one of the smaller species of the catfish family averaging about four or five pounds although, they have been caught weighing over fifty pounds but it’s rare. This means that standard size equipment can be used to catch them because they don’t require anything special. Nevertheless, you will need to use good study equipment when seeking them out because they are so aggressive and can easily break a weak fishing line or snap a poor quality rod into.

Another reason they’re so popular is because they are delicious when cooked up for a meal. Some people consider them to be the best tasting fish around. Once prepared, they can be cooked fresh or frozen for later. There are many ways to cook them, all of which will enhance any meal.

Tactics for Catching Channel Catfish

The tactics you use when fishing for the channel catfish will depend on where you’re fishing and other circumstances. Fishing in the spring is different from fishing in the fall and so forth so you need to try different ways of fishing to learn what works the best. Nevertheless, there are some tactics that can be used anytime and three of these are listed below:

1. Trolling- Trolling is a technique that is not often used to catch catfish but it can be very productive. The catfish is known as being a lazy fish but when they’re hungry and are drawn in by the smell they will take your bait. Don’t underestimate the channel catfish, they can move when they’re enticed to do so and can easily catch bait being trolled at one or two miles per hour.

2. Still Fishing- This is considered one of the best tactics to use when fishing for catfish. It makes it easy to get the bait on the bottom where they’re usually located. When presented correctly, the bait will float around on the bottom where it will entice the channel cat to strike. Be sure and keep your line tight so you can see when you get a bite.

3. Drift Fishing- This tactic is very simple and only requires you to drop your line above where the channel cats are expected to be. Allow the current to drift the bait down through the strike zone where it will get lots of attention. The current makes the bait move like natural prey making this method very effective and it can be done from a boat or onshore.

These tactics will make it easy for you to entice the channel catfish to take your bait. The more bites you get, the more chances you have to hook a fish and reel it in. It’s a good idea to use circle hooks when fishing for this species. These hooks penetrate the mouth and stay hooked better than many of the others. Always make sure they’re sharp and in good condition for the best results.

Channel Catfish Bait

There are a number of different baits that can be used for catching channel catfish so you have plenty to choose from. Most of the time, the channel cat is not very picky and will eat anything that invades their territory so it really doesn’t matter what you use as bait.

However, sometimes they can be picky. During these times you’ll need to offer them something they can’t refuse to entice them to bite. Some of your best options include the following:
* Chicken livers
* Worms
* Minnows
* Shrimp
* Cut bait
* Crawdads

There are also many different types of homemade bait that can be very productive. Many of these use cheese as an ingredient and this attracts the channel catfish easily. Some of the homemade recipes that can be found have been passed down from one generation to the next of dedicated catfish anglers.

The channel cat has an excellent sense of smell and will go after anything that emits an odor. Therefore, when they’re being picky, use the smelliest bait you can find and you’ll usually entice them to strike. You do however; need to be aware of your presentation. Even when the channel cat is hungry, they won’t strike at anything that appears odd or moving in a strange and unnatural manner.

The channel catfish can be found in lakes, rivers, streams and ponds all over the nation. They tend to stay in groups so if you find one, there are usually more of them nearby. They will be the most active in the early spring when they’re getting ready for the spawning season but they can be fished anytime of the year. With the right bait, you can entice them to strike.


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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