How to Catch Catfish: the Complete Catfishing Guide
Mar 12, 2021 | 9 minute read Comments
39
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Catfish are some of the most underrated fish in the country. They grow huge, they taste great, and they put up a heck of a fight. In this short guide, you’ll learn how to catch Catfish, from catfishing basics like telling species apart to more advanced theories on where, when, and how to bring in a monster.

A happy man holding a big Blue Catfish on a boat with water and sky in the background

If this isn’t a monster, we don’t know what is!

Types of Catfish:

The first thing you need to know about catching catfish is that there’s more than one kind. You wouldn’t use the same tactics for a Steelhead as a Lake Trout, so knowing which Catfish you’re targeting is key to success.

There are three main species of Catfish that anglers target in the US: Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, and Flathead Catfish. They can show up in the same waters and may be hunting for the same prey, but they’re very different creatures. Here’s a brief look at each species to help you pick your target.

Flathead Catfish

A smiling lady holding a Flathead Catfish at night

Flathead Catfish are probably the toughest Cats to catch. They’re solitary, hard to find, and put up a serious fight once you hook them. Even experienced anglers are happy to catch one big fish per trip. Flatheads live throughout the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River basins. They can show up from North Dakota to Lake Erie and from the Florida Panhandle over into Mexico.

Flatheads usually max out at around 100 pounds, but monsters have tipped the scales at 120 pounds in the past. They’re easy to tell apart from other species, with a long body and a square, flattened head (hence the name).

Blue Catfish

Three men holding a Blue Catfish after learning how to catch Catfish on a fishing charter

Blue Catfish are the biggest and most prized of America’s Catfish. They can grow to mammoth sizes, with the all-tackle record weighing in at an incredible 143 pounds. The great thing about Blue Cats is that they’re not as solitary as Flatheads. You can land huge numbers of them as well as individual giants. This makes for a much more action-packed fishing trip.

Blue Cats live in the same range as Flatheads but they’re usually limited to deeper waters in lakes and main river sections. They like to hang out around strong currents where they wait to ambush prey.

Channel Catfish

A male angler on a boat holding a Channel Catfish with a net on the left

Channel Cats are a lot smaller than their blue and flat-headed cousins. Most fish don’t top 20 pounds and anglers are usually looking for numbers more than size when targeting them. You do get the occasional monster, though, with fish in the 50 lb range decorating record books and mantelpieces.

Channel Catfish may not be the biggest Cat on the block, but they do get around. You can catch Channel Cats pretty much everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains and well into both Mexico and Canada.

How to Distinguish Blue and Channel Catfish

Blue and Channel Cats can be hard to tell apart. In theory, Channel Catfish are brown with dark spots, while Blue Catfish are, well, blue. Catfish vary in color, though, and Channel Cats lose their spots once they’re big enough to be confused with a Blue.

A lady holding a Catfish with water in the background

Is it a Channel Catfish or a Blue Catfish? Hint: count the rays.

The easiest way to tell the fish apart is by the tail. Blues and Channels both have forked tails, but Blue Cats have much straighter, more pointed forks while Channel Cats have more rounded tails. Blue Cats also have more rays on their anal fins – around 30–35, verses 25–28 on Channel Cats.

Best Time to Catch Catfish

Another stereotype about Catfish is that you have to catch them at night. Most people do go catfishing after dark but that doesn’t mean you can’t land monsters during the day. It depends on where you’re fishing and what species you’re after.

Flatheads are the most nocturnal. At night, they’re happier to move out of their cover or hiding hole. This is the best time to find them, but you can also land Flatheads in the sunshine by working the cover they tend to hide in.

Blue and Channel Cats seem to feed on their own schedule, regardless of the time of day. One thing to bear in mind is that monster Blues will be more active by day if there’s a strong current to hunt in. In slow-moving waters, they mainly hunt at night.

Catfishing at Night

A man on a boat at night holding a big Flathead Catfish

There are two good reasons that people go catfishing at night – it’s a lot cooler and the fish show up in much shallower water. Why? Simply put, Catfish follow their stomachs and their stomachs follow the forage. The topwaters get too warm for bait fish on a hot summer’s day. They also feel safer in open water under cover of darkness. Catfish are scent-based hunters, though, and have no problem tracking down forage in the dark.

Daytime Catfishing

A happy child ion a boat holding a big Blue Cat caught on a catfishing trip.

Catching Catfish during the day is a lot easier from a boat because you can get out to the deeper waters. You can fish from shore, you just need to be able to cast accurately to deep water. Start by fishing points and humps in the deepest reaches of the river or lake, then work your way to shallow water until you find the right depth. It requires a deeper knowledge of the waters you’re fishing in but it can be just as rewarding.

Best Season for Catfishing

Again, most people have a limited view of when to catch Catfish. You may think that catfishing is just a summer thing. Sure, summer is the best time to find Catfish, but you can catch them all year round. It’s not uncommon to even catch Channel Cats through ice! It varies based on the species but the general rule of thumb is that they like deep, slow-moving water in winter and shallower, faster water in the summer.

How to Build the Best Catfishing Rig

There’s no secret science to building a Catfish rig. Find a sturdy rod, add a quality reel, and don’t go cheap on your terminal tackle. Here are a few tips on picking out the right setup for your chosen species.

Catfish Rods

A selection of fishing rods with different colored blanks

You’re looking for a fast action rod with plenty of backbone and enough bend in the tip to set the hook properly. For smaller Channel Cats, go with a 6’ medium-power rod. For big Blues and Flatheads, you want a 7’ medium-heavy or even heavy-power rod. If you’re casting from shore, you may need a little more length to reach deep water.

Catfish Reels

A baitcaster fishing reel being held near some water.

Getting the hang of casting is an essential part of learning how to catch Catfish.

Baitcasters are the way to go if you want to take on big Cats. They have much more reliable drag and will let you cast much farther – essential for shore fishing. If you really hate casting, you can get away with spinning reels if you’re targeting smaller Channel Catfish. Whatever style you go for, save yourself a lot of frustration (and even money in the long run) by investing in a quality reel.

And Everything Else

A selection of fishing tackle: fishing line, bobbers, hooks, and more.

Firstly, line. Catfish rarely show up in gin-clear water, so you don’t need to bother with braid. Monofilament is cheaper and easier to use. On top of that, it can be recycled, reducing the risk of ghost fishing. Use 20–30 lb line for Flatheads and Blues, or 12–15 lb line for Channel Cats. Brightly-colored line and bobbers will help you notice small knocks on your baits.

Treble hooks are pretty much synonymous with catfishing. They’re especially good for dip or punch baits. Circle hooks are also an option, though. If anything, they work even better for monster Catfish. Whatever you use, make sure you keep them extra sharp to punch through the Catfish’s tough jaw.

You’re almost ready. Just make sure you grab a sturdy rod holder, a big, tough net, and some gloves to handle the fish while avoiding those nasty spines. Oh, and you’ll need some bait.

What is the Best Catfish Bait?

There are all kinds of crazy theories on what bait works best for Catfish. French fries, chicken livers – even soap and cigarette butts get thrown out there sometimes. Our advice? Steer clear of these “secret Catfish baits” – they may have worked for your buddy Mike’s uncle’s cousin that one time, that doesn’t mean they’re better than the tried and true alternatives.

As with all aspects of Catfishing, your bait choice should vary with the species you’re going after. The stereotypical “stink bait” may work well for a small scavenger but it won’t do much for an apex predator. With that in mind, here are some of the best baits for each species.

Best Bait for Flathead Catfish

An angler standing by a lake pulling in a bait net on a catfishing trip

Catching your bait on-site is the best way to match it to the fish.

Flathead Catfish mainly feed on live prey. That’s not to say that dead baits won’t work, too. But Flathead hookups are few and far between as it is, so going for live baits will maximize your chances.

You’ll get the best results with fish the local Flathead are used to eating. That could be anything from Sunfish and Bluegill to other, smaller Catfish. Save money and increase your chances by catching your own bait from the body of water you’re fishing in.

Best Bait for Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish are much less fussy than Flatheads when it comes to taking cut bait. They love oily fish and they like it fresh (frozen baits don’t work as well), but they don’t seem to mind if it’s dead.

Again, matching your bait to the fish’s natural forage is the most important rule. That could be skipjack herring, threadfin shad, or anything else that you find swimming around.

Best Bait for Channel Catfish

A fishing hook and a bait ball covered in dip bait with a lake in the distance

Dip and punch baits are like candy to Channel Cats.

This is where you can break out the stink baits. Smaller Channel Catfish are mainly scavengers and will follow scent trails that would make most people gag. Dip baits are great because they provide all the stink with none of the mess. Punch baits have a little more substance and are the bait of choice for many top Catfishers.

Once Channel Cats get big, they start hunting more and relying less on scraps. Because of this, you will catch bigger fish with fresh dead baits than stink bait. Just remember to match the hatch as always.

How to Catch Catfish

You can fish for Catfish in all kinds of surprising ways, from trolling to fly fishing to Catfish noodling (if you call that fishing). There are two classic tactics that bring in the most fish, though: still fishing and drift fishing.

Still fishing is as simple as it is effective. Just present your bait and wait for something to take it. It’s not the most refined fishing style, but it’s perfect for a relaxing day by the water. If you’re looking for more hookups and less waiting time, you can also drift your baits under a bobber. This is especially effective on lakes where there’s less current to spread your scent trail. You’ll need a boat to do it, though.

“Is that all there is too it?” Not at all! The precise tactics vary with the fish and the body of water. Here are a few tips for each species.

How to Catch Flathead Catfish

A man on a catfishing trip holding a large Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish like two things: current and cover. Their favorite hunting grounds are the outside of river bends, where drowned trees and boulders pile up to create plenty of cover. Flatheads don’t venture far off the bottom unless they have to, so presenting your bait a turn or two off the river bed will give you the best chance of getting their attention.

How to Catch Blue Catfish

A man and a girl holding a large Blue Catfish on a boat

In lakes, Blue Catfish like to hunt around a single piece of structure in the main body of the lake. Unlike Flatheads, Blues are happy hunting in open water as well as on the bottom, so play around with depths if you’re coming up dry.

In a river, bends and confluences are the best places to look for big Cats. Try fishing a few different spots, with your baits dropped just upstream of deep holes. This is where the fish lurk to escape the main current.

How to Catch Channel Catfish

A smiling angler in a hat holding a Channel Catfish with water in the background

Channel Cats will set themselves up anywhere they can escape the current but still jump out at fish floundering in fast-flowing waters. In small rivers, check the deep pools below rapids. Logs and boulders make these spots even more appealing to Channel Cats. In larger rivers, Channel Catfish will hold to structure or cover that breaks up the main current. Rocks, logs, holes, old tires – they don’t care what it is, as long as it makes their life easier.

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Catfish are often ignored by freshwater purists. People assume they’re all the same, even though they vary just as much as Trouts and Bass. They get lumped in with other “rough fish” and mostly forgotten about. Catfish may never get the respect they deserve, but for those in the know, they’re a game fish worthy of being listed with the best of them.

What’s your favorite Catfish species? Do you have any tips on how to catch Catfish? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!

Comments (39)
  • Soonerthunderangler

    May 7, 2021

    Great article, hope everyone can find something to utilize from it as it cover a great deal of the basics. I’m here in Oklahoma and my angler group doesn’t hold to a specific set of waters, we roam the state always on the hunt for the ‘fight’. So needless to say cats are one of our favorites to go after. (Cough) Though we prefer stripers. Being in Oklahoma it’s a LOT of pond hop and mass fished lakes like Murray, tenkiller, thunderbird and texhoma with smaller lakes dotted throughout the state. That being said, the best advice I read is also mentioned in this article! Strike up a conversation with as many local anglers in your local bait shop and store fishing aisles. No two waters produces the same results in my area without a large amount of luck. Kitchen bait works well at thunderbird but relatively doesn’t work at other waters for me. Liver baits and cuts work better for pond hops in my experience here along with bottom jig swim baits. Even got a few ponds have cats that love the top lure above their hide, lunker frogs to be precise. Blood chumming and cut bait remains at dusk for bank fishing will bring improved activity, they hunt for the smell and usually get your bait first before reaching the shore. Multiple poles at various depths with various baits will serve as a daily guide as to where they are, what they are wanting to eat and what sizes are currently being active in your spot. As spring rolls through to summer keep an eye on bottom veg, it can bloom massively between shallows and feeding shelves covering and hiding your baits. Experiment with your rigging to avoid this, Kentucky rigs work best for me in my area. If I get no action for 30ish minutes off bank I’ll reel in 10-15 feet every 15-20 minutes after that until I drop into a new hole or need a recast. I hope this is helpful for people.

    Taking a night trip tonight with the boy for his first flathead excursion, we are using 2 inch cut chicken breast dusted in garlic and marinaded in slightly coagulated butcher shop blood. Going to net for bait hopefully we can get a few larger baits for an elusive monster.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      May 10, 2021

      Hi there,

      Wow, what a write-up. I’m sure this will be super useful for a lot of people!

      Thanks for getting in touch. Hope you and your boy had a great trip.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Jay

    May 7, 2021

    What’s best for pay lakes

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      May 7, 2021

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for reading.

      While pay lakes are a lot different than your regular bodies of water in terms of logistics and the way they’re organized, there’s not a whole lot of difference when it comes to actual fishing.

      As long as your pay lake is stocked with Catfish, you can use the same methods we described in the article. One thing’s for sure: since pay lakes are typically smaller bodies of water, you won’t need a long rod. Therefore, a sturdy 6 foot pole should serve you well. Some pay lakes provide you with all the bait and tackle, so you can inquire about what works best ahead of time.

      I hope this helps.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Chance

    May 5, 2021

    Hello,

    What is your take on using live red worms with chicken blood & cheese stink bait? I am fishing a private pond and from the one I caught yesterday; it looks as though it may be stocked with channel cat. Is this combination a good one or should I just stick with one or the other?

    Regards,
    Chance

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      May 7, 2021

      Hi Chance,

      Thanks for reading.

      To be honest, I haven’t heard people use that particular combination. Mixing chicken blood and liver with cheese is a common stink bait recipe, and it typically works well. I’m not really sure that you need to add live red worms to the mix, especially if the simpler method is already producing results.

      That being said, it never hurts to try, and you could be on to something.

      Good luck!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Dr. Catfish

    Mar 31, 2021

    Introducing my eBook entitled:

    The Giant Collection of Catfish Baits and Rigs

    By Ron Milliman, AKA Dr. Catfish
    Illustrations by Brad Milliman

    In this book, I cover some of the various baits used for catching the three more common kinds of Catfish: the Channel Cat, the Blue Cat, and the Flathead Cat. I talk about all kinds of baits, including Creepy Crawler Things, Live and Cut Bait, Pleasant Smelling Catfish Baits That Really Work, Home Brew Recipes and Concoctions, Commercial Dough, Punch, and Dip Baits, Chumming Techniques and Recipes to Bring ‘Em In, and even artificials that are known to have caught Catfish. Then I wrap it up with Rigging Up For Striking Results and video suggestions full of catfishing action.

    For full details including ordering information and a special introductory offer of FREE BaitBags for keeping all kinds of baits securely on your hook, go to:

    https://www.dldbooks.com/ronmilliman/

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

  • hannah

    Mar 4, 2021

    Is it necessary to use weight on your line so your line gets to the bottom for the catfish ?

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Mar 5, 2021

      Hi Hannah,

      Yes, Catfish live on the bottom normally, so adding weight to your line is pretty much essential.

      All the best!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Golden

      Aug 17, 2021

      Hi Hannah it depends on the species and the time of year. In Texas we have what we call a high-fin blue that was not mentioned in this article not sure if they are a hybrid or just another type of blue but they have a steeper arch to leading to the dorsal fin and have a whiter belly silver sides fading into almost purple back. With a reflective rainbow Sheen when the sun hits it right. They are vary beautiful catfish and they are vary aggressive. In the late spring through early summer around deep holes in open water we take lighter tackle with around 10 -12 pound Tess line for casting purposes. Find a good school of Suspend shad in one of these deep holes. Then take a good heavy kale hook and cut the center mass out of your shad. Throw the head and the tail in the water do this with about 10 to 15 pieces of shade before you even bait your hook kind of like chumming. About a 2”-3” shad works the best. If the shad is bigger cut the center in two pieces . Try to have some good bloody organs in both pieces. Run your hook through the guts the best you can through one of the open ends of the bait and out through the sharp side of the belly. This keeps the guts inside the bait and you have less bulk to Obstruct your hook set. Now your ready to go. Cast out of to the sides of the schools of shad or guess the best you can and let it sink slowly this is where the thicker heavy kale hook plays it’s role it heavy enough to sink the bait at a slow speed and small enough to be eat quickly by the average high-fin. They have a smaller mouth to body Ratio more like a Chanel cat. You want to let your bait sink till it hits the bottom which can take a little time especially if it’s over 20’ do this over and over till you find the fish. What’s going on In this Technique is as other fish attack and injure the shad like bass and Sand bass the scraps start falling and blood fish oil sent gets released the high fin smell and see this triggering a more aggressive feeding pattern they will join in on the attach under and around the schools mopping up the scraps and wounded shad. Think of the high fin as like a fresh water shark just how they can be trigged in the ocean to a feeding frenzy the same goes for the high fin do to their aggressive nature. Your bait as it floats to the bottom become a target for this type of behavior. When you find them it will be fast and furious fishing as soon as you notice they have your bait set the hook or they will swallow it fast. And you will go through hooks fast and it might kill fish you through back. Keep as much slack out of your line as possible maybe even keep a vary slow crank on the handle as it sinks to ensure you fill them take it. I can’t Emphasize enough that drag is vary important here. Use if the lighter rod and line to help casting cost you some strength and you will suffer lots of breakoffs if it’s not set Properly. They will be all sizes from 1 pound to 30 so be ready for a fight and don’t force them in. This Technique requires a boat and a depth finder as well as some practice. It is not an every day thing but when they do partake and if you have the high-fin blues in your waters they will partake. It’s some of the best fishing you will ever do !!!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Brooke Cottrell

    Oct 20, 2020

    Never stay in one place too long. Move around.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Oct 20, 2020

      Hi Brooke,

      Great advice! Staying mobile and actively fishing multiple spots is the best way of tracking down big Cats.

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Gary Evenson

    Aug 27, 2020

    Hot Dog pieces work great on Channel Cats. But avoid the Turkey Dogs. We couldn’t even attract crawdads with them. Apparently nothing will eat a Turkey Dod.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Aug 28, 2020

      Hi Gary,

      That’s interesting. I’d usually stay away from random “kitchen baits” like hot dogs because they never seem as reliable. Just my two cents, though. If you’re catching fish on hot dogs, keep it up.

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Stephanie

    Jul 5, 2020

    This article was full of wonderful information. I have a couple questions, Can anyone recommend the proper size hooks? Will pencil bobers work? Thank you so much for your help. I’m trying to teach myself how to catfish and can use all the advice I can get. 🙂

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jul 6, 2020

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m really glad you liked the article!

      Pencil bobbers work fine for Catfishing. In terms of hooks, the size (and style) really depends on the fish you’re targeting.

      If you’re fishing for Channel Cats, I’d recommend using #6 treble hooks, and switching up to a #4 if the fish are really big.

      For Blues and Flatheads, You’re be better off using circle hooks. Again, it varies with the size of the fish, not to mention the brand of hook you’re using, but 8/0 hooks are a good all-rounder.

      One thing you always need to make sure of is that your hooks are good quality and kept sharp. Catfish have tough mouths and a lot of fight, so your hooks will take a real beating over time.

      I hope this helps!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • zac

    Jun 27, 2020

    I’ve been fishing about 4 times this summer. I never seem to get a bite. Go for 6 plus hours every time. I try chicken liver , shrimp , mackerel. I usually fish at Santa Ana river lake and irvine lake . It’s shore fishing . Any tips ? Help needed thanks . Each article and videos I see. I learn more about catfish .This one was helpful.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jun 30, 2020

      Hi Zac,

      I’m afraid I don’t know either of those lakes, so I can’t really give many tips other than the general stuff I’ve mentioned here. If you can get hold of a depth chart of the lakes, look for ledges and deep pockets close to shore – that’s where you’re likely most likely to find fish.

      Beyond that, the best thing you can do is talk to other anglers you meet in the area, and see if they can share some tips.

      Have you read this article? Seems to have a lot of useful info about Catfishing in SoCal.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help. I hope you land a monster next time you’re out!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Mark

      Oct 28, 2020

      Buy yourself a cast net and get you some fresh bait from where you are fishing. It makes a huge difference.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Golden long

      Aug 18, 2021

      When it comes to most lakes in Texas from the bank shad is the best for blues and Chanel’s of any size. For all around most likely to get the best results use 3 to 5 poles. 1 with a big hole shad on with a big center cut of shad and 3 with ether 2”-3” hole shad or 3 with smaller 1” pieces of cut shad. Meaning cut the tail and head off of a 2”-3” shad and use what’s left the sloppy middle works best most of the time if we are talking cut shad. I always throw the tail and heads out into the water as far out as possible as I fish the smell can bring them closer to the shore towards your bait hopefully they find it first. Points are best with deeper water around them unless you know of some deep drop offs you can cast to like where a creek enters a lake that adds current to the situation and gives them a highway to move drone place to place if you can find a tree line that goes off into deep water hit that up if you can reach it . Spawning season go to shallow cove close to creek creeks can form natural coves in lakes so those are good all around places to try. Fan your baits out from shallow to deep when you start getting bites and catching the size your liking for move more rods to that spot withe the bait you are catching them on you will need some rod holders or some good ole forked sticks stuck in the ground to lean your Rod on tight line if is best from bank most of the time if you through out and don’t get a bite after ten to twenty move around you don’t have to sit it there for 3 hours and wait. Keep your baits pretty fresh bigger cats will usually make a run so if you keep getting bite that are short little tugs and keep missing them use smaller hook and bait or move your bait around if you fish on a point with shad you will Eventually catch some catfish there or theres no catfish in that lake lol that or no shad 😂if there is no shad use blue Gill in the same manner shrimp works descent worms work really good for Chanel cat stink bait is a wast of time and money if you ask me unless you want to catch some yearlings with the kids if your talking bank fishing points and shad will Eventually pay off if your a novice hop this helps

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Savannah cook

    May 17, 2020

    So my fam is going on a fishing trip next weakend at lake purdy got any advice

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      May 19, 2020

      Hi Savannah,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I don’t know much about Lake Purdy I’m afraid. I think it’s better known for Bream than Catfish, but I’m sure you can find a few Channel Cats there.

      Let us know how you get on!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Jon Stanley

    Apr 6, 2020

    Thanks for the article. Had quite a bit of wisdom and knowledge in it, some I knew from experience and some I didn’t know and I plan to put into my next fishing trip. I sure hope to catch at least a couple of monsters this year. And most of the time when I fish on the bottom I like to put a couple of sinkers at the end of the line and then put my hook a foot or 2 up the line for some still fishing.
    Tight lines!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Apr 6, 2020

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for reading. I’m glad you found it useful.

      I hope you catch that monster next time you’re out. Be sure to let us know if you do!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Don Fischer

    Jul 20, 2019

    Speaking of bait. I was going through an old tackle box the other day and came across a bunch of trout power bait. Stuff is really fishy smelling and it floats. Read about fishing channels off the bottom a bit and thought maybe chicken liver float a bit with power bait. Then thought just power bait on a Carolina rig with a rather short leader. Ever tried that power bait on cats?

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jul 22, 2019

      Hi Don,

      I can’t say I’ve tried using power bait for Catfish. Sounds like it could work, though.

      Be sure to let us know how you get on if you try it!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Bonnie Sweitzer

    Jun 7, 2019

    Thanks for the Catfishing tips. My daughter and I entered the Chick Fight this year. It was a Catfish tournament for women only. It was held in Alabama at Wheeler Lake. Had an awesome time. We won our place in next year’s tournament which is going to be held in Tennessee! So looking forward to next years tournament! Look for Lil Whiskars. That’s our team name!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jun 7, 2019

      HI Bonnie,

      Congratulations on the tournament win! What was your top catch?

      I’m glad you liked the article. Be sure to let us know how you do next year!

      Tight lines

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Bonnie

      Jun 22, 2019

      Thanks Albert, we are so excite. Since Chick Fight, we are going to another Catfish Tournament Next week. We are so excited!! Tight lines!!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Josh

      Jun 1, 2020

      Heading out to Lake Raystown Saturday to do some channel catfishing. Any tips for deep lake?

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Jun 2, 2020

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You should catch the spawning season for Channel Cats, depending on how warm it’s been in PA.

      My general advice is to move around the edge of the lake marking bait and looking for spots where Catfish might be nesting (rock piles, crack in cliffs etc.). Keep moving and casting. The fish might not be actively feeding if they’re holed up, but they’ll strike to see off potential threats to their nest.

      If you don’t find anything, move deeper. Look for holes or structure near the natural flow of current through the lake. That being said, Raystown is pretty darn deep by the look of it, so I doubt they’ll be down in the deepest reaches.

      I hope that helps. Sorry I can’t give any specific tips, but I don’t know Raystown Lake itself. Let me know how you get on!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Jazmine Geyer

      Aug 30, 2020

      I do not agree with you telling someone to fish in and/or around spawning (nesting) grounds. Doing such thing will cause less and less fish. You want them to be able to spawn and grow so there is something for you to fish for in the future. Also that could be seen as someone/you trying to cheat.

      (And yes there is such a thing as cheating when fishing even if your not in some sort of competition.)

      Due to the fact that the catfish or other breeds of cats protect there eggs till hatched.

      (White channel and some other breeds of cat will protect their young for almost 2 weeks after hatching. Which after that point they are called frys).

      So while your out there fishing in their grounds and thinking “man I’m out here killing it today”,

      (which literally you are-meaning you are in fact potentially killing thousands to hundreds of thousands of catfish.)

      You are leaving the eggs or fry unprotected to predators and lowering the population significantly.

      However Josh I do agree with his/her statement of moving around. I would just most definitely steer clear of a spawning ground if you want to be able to continue to catch catfish well in your area.

      Also a rule I have always kept with me as long as I can remember is if I have to ask myself these questions.

      “Is this fish big enough to keep”? Or, if I am second guessing myself on whether or not this is in fact a keeper, then my answer is ALWAYS NO and toss it back. You never know the next time you come back to fish that very spot/area again it just might be the big monster you catch.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Aug 31, 2020

      Hi Jazmine,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You raise a lot of very valid points.

      I normally avoid retaining any fish during spawning season, whether they’re holed up or not. I didn’t bring that up in the comment, though, so thanks for calling it out.

      Great point about size, too, although catching a monster can have a dramatic effect on local numbers because the bigger fish are generally the best breeders.

      Thanks again for the comment. It’s great to see someone so passionate about fish conservation!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Golden

      Aug 18, 2021

      I don’t know of a single fisherman that avoids spawning grounds for catfish in fact many people look forward to the spawn cause you catch bigger heavier fish me seasons as my I never keep any fish I’m strictly a sport angler I can get a box of fish cheaper than I can take my boat out and catch them if I want fish that much I love to eat fish but I just don’t eat it enough to keep and clean them but if fishing spawning grounds were impacting fish population in a serous Manet park and wild life would protect those fish during the pawning season this is what we have limits and regulations for and tpawl do the math and adjust as needed so there is no need in shaming people for fishing for spawning fish I don’t know a single lake in Texas hurting for catfish they are way more than abundant for anglers both sport and for meat I’m not try to be mean here but just trying to inform you on the balance of our fisheries the is such a thing as to many of Certain fish species when left unchecked can wipe out a hole ecosystem this is what the wonderful Biologist do for our fisheries setting regulations to Sustain a healthy balance

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • [email protected]

    May 18, 2019

    Couldn’t add much more to that. I been doing it for a long time and you know what your talking about. One more bit of wisdom, sometimes you have to fish when you don’t feel like it because it’s a good time to go.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      May 20, 2019

      Hi Melvin,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you liked the article.

      You’re completely right, sometimes you’ve got to stick to the fish’s schedule, not your own.

      I Hope you land some monsters this summer!

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Kevin Walters

      Nov 18, 2019

      Albert that’s a great article. You talked about some different things I’m going to try. Been fishing bottom at my local river can’t get anything but bowfin.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Nov 19, 2019

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad you found it useful!

      Bowfin can definitely get in the way of good Catfishing sometimes. I’d advise trying a different spot if you keep catching them. Catfish and Bowfin do like the same waters but they tend to keep apart from each other in my experience.

      Tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Jun 3, 2019

      Got plenty of chicken liver.and ten dollars worth of ghost shrimp.going fishing in East bay area

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *