How to Hook Goldfish Bait for Catfish

How to Hook Goldfish Bait for Catfish
Goldfish thrive in waters longer than most other bait, have a color that is easy to spot (even in darker waters) and will attract other bait fish, which then lures schools of catfish. Handling goldfish is safe for young and old angers, and special equipment is not needed. Hook your line with goldfish bait and then cast it into the water for a strike.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • 2-liter bottle
  • Foam float
  • Scissors
  • 120-test line
  • Fish scraps (optional)
  • 2/0 hook(s)
  • 1- to 2-lb. weight
Step 1
Check that anglers are permitted to use goldfish bait in the waters you will be fishing. Check for signage such as "lure only" or "fly only" fishing areas. Not all waters allow goldfish bait.
Step 2
Obtain a 2-liter soda bottle or foam float. You can fish with as many as 100. For now, start with one and build the number of sets (groups of bottles) that you use later. Cut the bottom of the bottle off with scissors. Remove the cap as well.
Step 3
Tie a 120-test mainline around the threaded mouth of the 2-liter bottle or foam float. Secure the mainline with a double reinforced knot. Allow 25 to 30 feet of line or enough to reach the bottom of your water source. Not all catfish are bottom feeders. Throw fish scraps into the water to lure catfish to the area; the catfish will smell the blood and oils from the innards of the bait fish and swim over to feed.
Step 4
Pass the 120-test mainline through the inside of the bottle or foam float (which is hollow) and out the other side. Secure it to a 2/0 hook using the sheet bend technique. To complete a sheet bend, pass the tag end of the mainline through the eye of the hook and then back around it. Close the knot. Add as many hooks as you like down the length of the line.
Step 5
Hook the goldfish. Open the mouth of the goldfish and pass the hook into the mouth and pull it upward until the point of the hook exits the body.
Step 6
Secure a 1- to 2-lb. weight approximately 1 to 2 inches from the last hook. This will secure the setup.
Step 7
Fish your goldfish bait at night for superior strikes. According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, "Catfish really respond to jugs that are baited with goldfish and cast at night."

Tips & Warnings

You can catch 15- to 20-lb. catfish using goldfish as bait, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
If you use an Eagle Claw hook, pry open the eye of the hook with a pair of pliers. Seat a swivel inside and then close the eye back up. Attach a dropper to the swivel, which will help attract even more attention to your line.
Always space each hook at least 6 inches apart to avoid overcrowding your line.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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