Fishing for a catfish is the ultimate fun, especially when you get tired of going for the regular fish. Unlike regular fish, catfish packs a punch and can give you some ruff times. So what do you need to go fishing for a catfish? Well this is our ultimate guide to fishing for a catfish so carry on reading.
What gear do you need for fishing a catfish?
When it comes to gear, it doesn’t take a lot to catch a catfish, hell, some people even fish them with their bare hands. However, if you are a proper fisherman, whether you are a professional or just someone that does this for fun, you still need some gear.
In terms of line, you really need something that can handle the weight of a big size catfish. Imagine having the catch of a lifetime only to lose it because your line broke. So a good line in the range between 20-30kg (40-60 pounds) will be a great choice if you know that there are bigger catfish in that area. You can go for a smaller size line, but if there is something bigger, there is a great chance that the line will break.
This braided fishing line has 8 strands and is made of high-quality PE yarn. It is extra durable and resistant to wear and abra…
When it comes to reels for catfishing, the dependence is falling on the rod itself. Casting with a spinning rod and reel is great for smaller bait rigs, but as you step up to larger weights, a casting rod makes a lot more sense. Baitcasting reels are better at handling heavier line than spinning reels, and you’ll have more power when casting. A word of advice here, try not to use a low-profile baitcaster. They might be good for bass fishing but they won’t be useful with catfish due to loads.
The Revo® SX fourth generation is the most powerful, long-lasting, and high-performing SX yet. The upgra…
When it comes to choosing the right materials for a catfish rod, fiberglass or a fiberglass carbon fiber composite is the best choice. As they can support the fight you are going to have with the catfish. For smaller catfish, a rod length of 2m is what we would recommend, and for larger catfish, a rod length of 2+ meters is recommended.
The rod series Berkley Big Game is made for large fish. Strong fiberglass with durable components enables anglers wit…
There are two hook types that you can use when it comes to catfishing, circle hooks or treble hooks. Which one you want to use is up to you. If you decide to use a treble hook, then you can mold your bait around it, whereas a circle hook is the best choice when you are using cut bait. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use a treble hook for cut bait. Our choice would be a treble hook here, but we are open to opinions in the comment section.
he Kunsilane is a hybrid hook that is specifically built for jigging but can also be used for trolling. The Kunsilane Big River Bait Hook is avai…
Even though any type of sinkers work for catching a catfish, relying a bit more on split shot, flat or no roll sinkers will give you a better catfish build as it does have a big impact on presentation.
Bullet Weights is said to have the largest number of fishing sinkers in the industry today. Big outdoor retailers, marine distributor…
Depending on the amount of lines in water at certain points you will need more than one. Rod holders are really helpful if you are going catfishing for some time and have to stand nearby for a long period. Instead of holding up your rod simply put it on a rod holder and wait for your catch. A rod holder is a must if you decide to cast more than one line. Make sure your rod holder is made out of metal and not plastic, since catfish pack a punch when you fish for them.
Three #230 Power Lock rod holders and a post bracket are included in the Scotty #256 Triple Rod Holder. Scotty’s f…
What kind of water has catfish?
Catfish prefer the bottom of either lakes/reservoirs or rivers. When fishing for catfish on a river, just remember that rivers take the course with the least amount of resistance. The river changes course when a hard bottom obstructs the flow, creating a hard-bottomed outside bend with current. These bends are hotspots for trophy catfish, particularly flatheads, who prefer dark hollows. The river carves undercuts in the bank. Giant cats waiting for a meal will take refuge in the undercut ledge or lip.
Day or night?
Look for catfish in murky water areas during the day. Deep structures, such as river bends, the base of drop-offs, deep holes, and humps, are also fine. Catfish may also congregate near shelter, such as standing timber and weedy margins.
Fishing is especially good at night. Catfish use their barbels (whiskers) and enhanced senses of smell and taste to find prey. You can either set with a headlamp and wait or if you are staying nearby and trust the people around you can leave your gear overnight on a rod holder. Just make sure that your gear is set tight so the catfish doesn’t drag it away.
Our tip for catfishing on a river
Anglers who simply move from one corner or bend to the next can have a lot of success. The straight sections of rivers, generally, are less appealing to fish. Unless there is a major depth change or other function that will attract fish, there is little to keep them.
Water depth and catfishing
When fishing for catfish and other animals in rivers, the weather is crucial. Fish movements can be influenced by water height and flow, as well as being a safety concern. Fish can travel out of the main river channels to avoid the heavy current during periods of high water, which occurs often in the spring. Fishing would be best in sloughs and backwater areas off the main channel. This can also be a risky time to be out, so anglers should exercise extra caution!
When summer approaches and there are lower water levels in a river catfish will practically run to the deeper parts of the river as the water there is colder.
What kind of bait do you need for fishing a catfish?
Catfish are like vacuum cleaners, they would eat up anything in their way. Although they are not picky about what they eat, aside from being day or night, there are other factors too that can affect their feeding cycle. However, when catfish get hungry you need to be ready so you can catch them. So let’s see which bait to use when it comes to fishing for a catfish.
I don’t know of a fish that will turn around on a tasty little worm. If you open any catfishing guide you will see worms as the first and biggest choice of bait for any fish. So be careful about using worms as your main bait as pretty much any life that exists in that water where you fish will feed on it. If you go for pretty much any fish in the river/lake then you are ok with using this kind of bait, otherwise try something more concrete when it comes to catfishing.
Three #230 Berkley Gulp! Alive! is a great bait that outfishes live bait on a regular ba…
Shads and minnows
Catfish will enjoy any smaller fish you throw in when you fish. Shads and minnows no longer than 5cm can be a great choice. Depending on the type of water you are fishing you might want live bait or dead. Just be advised, catfish can sense that blood, so if you use dead bait make sure you cut it out so there is blood, catfish will sure come to that. Of course Catfish are not the only ones enjoying this kind of bait, however this way you are limited to bigger fish.
Pre-molded catfish baits are packaged in re-sealable zippered bags to keep the bait from leaking and drying out. Fo…
Many anglers don’t like using leeches but it is a golden standard when it comes to fishing for a catfish. Leeches are most commonly found among plants in shallow areas of lakes, as well as under rocks, sticks, logs, and rotting leaves. This means that you don’t have to pay for leeches but rather you can find them right where you fish.
The ribbon leach is the most common type of leech used for bait. It is usually black or dark brown in color, with spots on occasion. It has a long, flat body, and many anglers say it is more active than other varieties. But, most importantly, fish adore them, catfish too.
With the invention of the Gulp Alive Leech, Berkley scientists have developed a bait that can replace the real thing. Eac…
If you are strictly going for catfish, and don’t want anything else hooked on the other end, the only choice is stink baits. Unlike other baits mentioned above these only appeal to catfish and no other fish will go near them. For presentation you can diaper, sponge or even worms. The best time to use stink bait is when fishing in moving water or when the water is turbid and visibility is poor. If you’re fishing in the summer on a creek or river, you won’t find a better way to catch it.
Magic Bait catfish dough bait cubes are an old-fashioned recipe that has been proven to attract more catfish than any other dough ba…
Whatever you don’t need from your fridge
As i already said above, catfish are not very picky when it comes to bait. As long as there is something meaty or rotten on the other side they’ll take it. Anything meaty that you have will actually work, fish, chicken even pork would work. Get them out of the fridge let them rot and you are all set. A word of advice, this kind of bait stinks (a lot). The smell of rotten food may drive you away but catfish will be all over it.
You are ready
Well, there you have it. You know what rig you need for this trip, you know where to go for this kind of fishing and what kind of bait. All it’s left for you to do is get your gear and go. Check out what we have picked as top picks for catfishing gear and other freshwater fishing lures and get that fish for lunch.