Catfish Fishing Techniques

Catfish Fishing Techniques
The catfish is not an attractive fish. Considering its muddy brown color, tiny eyes and whiskers you might wonder why anyone would want to fish for these beasts. The answer: taste. Catfish have a lot of flavor and can be cooked in many ways. You can grill, bake, fry or broil them. There are many species of catfish, ranging from less than one pound to more than 100 pounds. Knowing the best techniques when fishing for catfish is the best way to ensure that you'll snag some on your next outing.


The favorite bait for catfish is chicken livers or raw shrimp. Both will stay on the hook best if they are partially frozen. Or, make a little pouch out of pantyhose and attach it to your hook.

Other good catfish bait are worms or minnows. You can also make your own dough bait.

Medium-sized fish are effective for catching big catfish. Cut the fish into portions to increase the smell. Use a large circle hook to avoid losing your bait.

Many fishermen swear by hotdogs as the greatest bait. They are not too messy, very inexpensive and easy to transport. They don't have the strong odor that catfish prefer, but are often quite effective.

Catfish often locate prey by scent; the stinkier the better. Dip your bait into blood or a scent mixture. Or, you can attach a small sponge on the end of the hook and add some dip bait. Once in the water, dip bait or blood will wash away from the hook a bit, creating a scent trail that will act as chum to your hook.

Time and Location

Catfish feed at night, so grab a flashlight and get out there after the sun goes down. Catfish prefer slow-moving, muddy water. They feed at the bottom of the river, so be prepared with sinkers and heavy line that will get your bait to the bottom and keep it there.

Reel your line in every 20 minutes or so to check it. Catfish are adept at stealing bait. You may want to fish with two poles so that you will always have one line out.

Move around every 15 to 20 minutes. Catfish can be elusive, so plan to roam around a bit to find the best spot.


Large catfish can put quite a strain on your equipment. Make sure that you have heavy line--20 to 30 pound test weight--and an ocean reel.

Affix cheap glow sticks to the tip of your poles so that you can see when you get a bite. Small bells also work.

Head lamps can be useful when fishing after dark. You can keep your hands free to pull the fish in, but still see what you're doing.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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