Catfish has to be one of the more popular sporting fish across the nation, and usually the reason behind that is because of its aggressive nature and willingness to bite at every opportunity it’s given. Much like domestic cats, Catfish are always hungry so its not hard to catch them – even for the younger generation of keen fishers who are looking to get into the past-time.
It has to be said, a lot of the fun in reeling in a catfish is exactly that, trying your hardest to not let the muscular fish throw themselves of the hook to freedom.
Another reason catfish are so popular when it comes to fishing is just that, they are apparent in most lakes, rivers, reservoirs and other waters across the country. They can grow to enormous sizes which also perk the interests of anglers who are looking to catch prize trophy fishes and did we mention that they happen to taste quite nice as well? This just puts the cherry on the top for the whole fishing experience.
This is an important factor that you need to look at when attempting to catch Catfish, and that is because the meatier and heavier type of catfish tend to feed on fish whilst the smaller Catfish will feed on smaller type baits and you can expect these to like anything from night crawlers to minnows.
Generally those Catfish that weigh in over 10 pounds will like goldfish, shad, and even herring so look or ask in bait shops for these. They will obviously cost more but you are going to be catching a lot more in return.
A common myth is that hooks should be hidden on bait because it will put Catfish off, the truth is that this myth has been bandied about so much that anglers tend to follow it. However, you should leave your hooks exposed and here’s why…
Catfish aren’t the brightest of fish and won’t even pay attention to the hook sticking out of your goldfish or minnow, so the hook only needs to pierce through the Catfish’s mouth and not through the bait and then through the Catfish. This means your chances of landing a Catfish are instantly doubled.
We have spoken about how weather affects fish in other guides on our site and it couldn’t be truer. No fish will feed 24/7 through every season of the year, so sometimes you may hit a spell where the fish just won’t bite even though you have all the right equipment, but the weather is against you.
Catfish especially are affected by rapidly changing weather conditions and this plays a big part in their feeding process. So if you happen to be out fishing during very stormy conditions then Catfish are likely to be hiding. The best time to catch them is right before a storm when you get pressure drops in the weather, and then tend to stop feeding the couple of days before the storm touches down in that area.
Normal service tends to resume a few days after the storm has passed so don’t expect feeding to resume straight after the storm, give it time.
Therefore it’s important that if you are planning to fish for Catfish that you pay close attention to the weather conditions and have a barometer handy to keep tabs on pressure drops.
This really applies to waters that are very clear as opposed to ones that are muddy. When you have a clear day with no clouds, the sun shining brightly on the water’s surface, you can practically see to the bottom of some lakes and rivers which you think would be a great advantage but unfortunately Catfish will move to protective areas of the river when the conditions are like this, so you will have to venture to deeper areas where they can be frustratingly hard to find let alone catch.
If you are planning to fish in clear waters then there is a great tip for you, and that is to hit the water in the early morning. Just before sunrise Catfish are dipping into their breakfast before the sun comes around and they head to the deeper parts of the river. For anglers this is the perfect time to catch them with the element of surprise as they will be ready to feast on whatever bait you have chosen.
The increased sight feeding kicks in during these early morning hours meaning that they are going to be more aggressive in taking your bait and awarding you with a great catch, and a great way to start off your day.
Finally, our last tip in catching Catfish is not to just sit and wait with your rod in the water. Be willing to move around and find different ways to get your catch, whether that’s by bank fishing, boat fishing or moving into deeper waters. Catfish will usually bite within 10-30 minutes during an active feeding session so there is no point sitting on the bank for hours on end waiting for a pull on your line, because that is just time wasted unless you’re trying to catch a sun tan.
If there has been no luck after 30 minutes then go to plan B and find another way that you can catch your prize trophy. This is where you need to think outside the box and be a bit more creative with your fishing and experience will only help you know what to do here. Think about casting farther upstream first, then look at different water levels from deep to shallow, it’s all about trial and error and sometimes patience plays a very big role in getting a catch.
As soon as you find the best fishing spot you will know about it, and then that experience is with you for the next time you head out Catfishing.