When is the best time to go catfish noodling?
I've noticed that this question ponders quite a few handfishing newbies. After all, it's a very good concern to have.
It's a real bummer to go play in the muddy rivers for an entire day, only to feel like it was a complete waste of time because you didn't get your limbs mauled by any of those beast-size catfish.
Luckily, I know just a tiny bit about this crazy sport. And I'm pleased to say that I know a few really great catfish noodling guides.
This is essentially a two part answer...
The spawning season is the best time of the year to go handfishing. This is the period of spring and up through to the early summer, just before the weather heats up.
Those big catfish will have found themselves a den inside of hollow stumps or in crevices of large rocks and boulders. They will sit inside there to protect their spawning beds.
Another good time is around fall and early winter, when the summer time temperatures settle back down. 70 degrees is just about the right temperature to get after those whiskerfish.
Daytime is the best time period of a 24 hour day to be out there.
Catfish begin moving around in the evening as the sun sets. They roam around in search of food to feed on throughout the night. As the sun rises in the early morning, they will have finished eating and settled back into a comfortable den to serve and protect their nests, and themselves, from predators like a catfish noodler.
Those big catfish stage themselves during the day. You can expect to find them hiding under some sort of cover, like inside of cypress tree stumps, heavy timber piles, beaver dams, deep underside shelf-like crevices in the side of the waters edge, large rocks or boulders.
Since you know that those catfish should be stationary during the day, and presumably are on the move throughout the night, then the day time will be the best time to noodle for catfish.
A spoof for proof from tournament catfish noodling anglers:
I was watching an episode of a catfish grabbling tournament on television a while back. One set of guys said that the best way to catch some catfish was at night. Well, they spent the entire night on the water and came up empty. They finally latched onto one alright, but well after the sun had already broke the skyline.
So there you have it. The best catfish noodling times are during the day and the spawn.
Good luck wrestling around with those giant catfish. Most importantly, be safe out there in the water... you never know what else might be lurking around with you waiting to sink their teeth into something.
Whether you are new or not to noodling, consider hooking up with a guide. You should be able to learn a few tricks and techniques too.
Here's what you can find right now on Ebay