How to Fish Catfish - Season, Rigs, Tips and Complete Guide

How to Fish Catfish - Season, Rigs, Tips and Complete Guide


Catfish fishing is a sport that is always in season. Why? It’s because of catfish abundance in most areas in the world. It’s the most loved by anglers, be it done on freshwater or saltwater. Catfish fishing is best done on lakes, rivers, and ponds. Even though sometimes they tend to move into oceans, they still manage to get back, especially on shallow parts, to feed.

Know the Fish

First and foremost, the most crucial factor to consider on how to fish for catfish is to know its behavior and characteristics differ depending on its location, time, and depending on the season. Catfish live in both fresh and salt glasses of water. Their “catlike whiskers best distinguish them,” that’s how they are being coined as catfish.

They have slimy bodies and make use of their barbells to taste their food, too, because of its unique sensitive sense of smell embodied on their barbells. They are also called wolfish sometimes. They only usually suck or gulp their prey when eating because they don’t have teeth. They have a keen smell on their barbells. That’s why in fishing, distinctively stinky and oily cut baits are used; shrimps are best and most used, chicken livers to are considerably the best picked in fishing.

Treble hooks are the best hooks used because sometimes they can be furious and powerful, so it’s better to secure your rod by using line holders. They usually merged on submerged structures or debris on deeper waters during summer and daylight but then moved up on shallow areas to feed. So with these, some fishermen do artificial cribs to lure them into achieving an easy catch.

There are different kinds of catfish. Channel catfish are one of them. They all have their characteristics and behavior too! But yet all of them are bottom feeders who feed themselves on aquatic plants, small fishes, insects, and crustaceans.

Channel catfish have poor eyesight but have the most sensitive taste buds on their whiskers among the rest. So having these characteristics and behaviors, bottom fishing and baitcasting are best used by anglers.

How to Fish for Catfish in a Lake

Catfish fishing on lakes is fun! You can catch large fish here and all sorts of catfish, but mostly, especially channel catfish, are abundant on lakes. Here, the most preferred time to fish is at night because of their behavior as bottom feeders during this time of the day. You can catch larger ones here compared to rivers. You can also catch blue flat-heads and bullheads here, too, that you’ll be going to love because they are all fun to fish.

But still, you can excitingly fish during the daytime because catfish usually come up to shallow parts of the lake for them to feed. And at this time of the day, they tend to hide under fallen debris or structures and sometimes under lily pads since they are sensitive to higher temperatures or heat and even on daylight itself.

Anglers try to make holes at the bottom of the lakes for catfish to stay for a good catch on the lake fishing.

Better be quiet than while fishing. It would be best if you were calm, avoided unnecessary movements and noise for catfishes are sensitive to these and keep and scare them away, so while fishing, avoid talking loud either. When irritated by the noise, they tend to move down to deeper areas of the lakes, no matter if they’re hungry. They just let themselves hide and wait for the prey or food to come near them.

On lakes, you can use cut baits. With live baits, minnows are best used, but you can also use worms or shrimps instead. But if you prefer to use lures or artificial baits, it’s best to use dough-type baits.

You can use short rods for catfish fishing. But for lakes, you better prefer to use bigger rods than what you are using on rivers because, on lakes, you can commonly encounter large catfish. You can use any hooks on the lake fishing, but the most preferred hooks by anglers are between 4/0 to 8/0 lbs.

Choose the right time to fish. Catfish are nocturnal, so it’s better to fish at night using bottom fishing. But mind you, dear anglers, you can still fish in the daytime, too, considering that catfish tend to move up to shallow parts of the lake to feed. Just constantly be reminded of areas where to fish. Usually, it is best to fish under fallen debris or structures on lakes because they typically hide in these areas to avoid light and warm temperatures.

Catfish fishing on lakes, you must also remember to use a rod holder most of the time since they are sometimes furious enough to bring forth your rod at the bottom of the lake.

Sometimes, it’s better to use a fish finder for better lake catfish fishing than just studying or just feeling it through instinct.

Catfish fishing varies in every season. The proper spawning time for them is in June. Around this time, catfishes are even most furious because aside from feeding, they usually tend to protect their habitat and their eggs too! Channel catfish go for as their prey during. It’s best to fish along rocky portions of the lake because usually channel catfish are nesting here, so it’s good to use “float bobber rigs” here.

During summertime, it’s best to do bottom fishing because catfish migrate themselves on reservoirs to feed for shads. So usually, anglers look for a school of shads to fish. It is also best to fish on shallow parts because cats typically tend to feed themselves on shallow parts of lakes.

How to Fish for Catfish

How to Fish for Catfish in a River

It’s also exciting to fish in rivers or flowing waters too! So here are some simple tips on how to do river catfish fishing.

The use of proper rods and lines suitable for catfish is usually considered here. It should be done depending on fish that are possibly embedded in rivers. It’s better to use a 10 – 20 lbs. test line with a sharp hook on it. You can use glow-in-the-dark bobbers at night to help lure catfish. It is also lovely to use “fishing holders” for safety since catfishes are wise enough to pull your line down to the bottom of the waters so easily.

You can use cut baits here, such as chicken liver or pieces of corn. But sometimes, it’s much wiser to use artificial baits for some fishermen due to practical reasons, of course. But certainly, everybody knew that using live baits does mean more catch for them.

In river catfish fishing, you also need to consider when, where, and the best time to fish.

Catfish usually cover themselves on rocks against the river’s current, where they stay there and patiently wait for their prey to come. In here, there is a magical chance to catch more catfish, so better position correctly than to go cast and reel.

How to Fish for Catfish in a Pond

Catfish fishing on ponds is exciting too! But still, need to consider the right time and location and the right equipment and fishing technique to be the best use here.

Choose the best bait. Mostly cut baits are best used on catfish fishing done on ponds. Since they are sensitive, you need to look for a strong smell or stinky-smelling cut baits like chicken livers or shrimps.

Consider the right rod and reel. It is wise to consider the right rod to use in pond fishing, 10 lbs. rods are the most ideal to use together with the right light duty reels. It is better to use a slip sinker for the line on ponds, too, that are possibly be paired with hooks and bait holders for better pond fishing.

Ponds with algae are mostly suspended with “cats.” So fishers, better look for ponds covered with algae or water lilies on it for a big catch.

Be quiet and still, too! Catfish are sensitive enough to tolerate noisy surroundings in order not to scare them away. It is best to fish at night for catfish because they are suspended on fallen structures at the bottom of the waters using the light line technique. With pond catfish fishing, always expect resistance from “cats.”

In pond catfish fishing, it is most likely to remember to handle “cats” safely all the time. It would be best if you considered the proper handling when pulling it out on the waters. Be careful in taking it out of the hook too! Because it’s not the only fish that matters but also how to do it happily and productively without overlooking your safety.

How to Fish for Catfish at Night

Night catfish fishing is the most fun and the most popular sport by anglers, especially in the summertime. Why? Because it’s the most efficient time to fish where large “cats” are usually out of their hidings and go on the shallow part of waters for them to feed. Since shallow waters are getting cooler at night, big “cats” tend to come up to an open, giving the fishers a chance to have a good catch.

Night catfish fishing is not only for fish alone but best shared with family and friends too! It is usually spent along with foods and sometimes beers for relaxation as well.

Here are some ways on how to fish catfish at night:

The right equipment for night catfish fishing. Since it is done at night, you need to use a “light up bite indicator.” Yes, one must consider it one of the essential pieces of equipment in night catfish fishing to know when you have a bite. But flashlights too can be of great help if it is too tight for your budget. Wisely always have spare tackle every time you go out for a night fishing, too, because there’s a big chance for you to lose or break your line in the middle of your fishing. So better be prepared.

Go for cut baits during night catfish fishing. It’s best to use or go with chicken livers or shrimps for a better catch. Their stinky smells lure “cats” to fish.

When you’re using a boat, it’s best to bring along 2 or 3 rods for as long as you’re using rod holders, too, for you to have a greater catch. Since big catfish are out at night, it is best to use a strong reel too to be able to fish larger ones. You can use a cast-away rods guy with a 25-50 lbs. test line with the best circle hooks on it.

Here you will need a strong reel along. But surprisingly, you can use any strong, affordable, and available reels on hand because reels don’t matter most for as long as it is strong enough to fish. So to fishermen out there, it’s just a matter of choosing the quality reel, rod, and line because, without these, you will miss the opportunity of catching that “fish of a lifetime.”

Fishing at night during springtime. Springtime is spawning time for catfish. At this time of the year, catfish are furious enough trying to protect their eggs as well as their place of “nesting,” too, so it is the best time to fish on a shallow rocky part of waters where they usually spawn.

Lastly, catfish fishing is a sport that brings out the best in you because it deals with how you manage to deal with the hardships to fish for them on every different season, time, and location. So to all fishermen out there, better start your chance of doing “catfish fishing of a lifetime” because it’s worth a while.

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