Many fishermen believe that they know how to catch catfish simply because they have caught them on numerous occasions.
If you question them, they may tell you to just throw out some good old stink bait and wait for a bite.
Sure, that should work much of the time. But, can they explain how to fish for them when they aren't biting?
It's always nice to hang out with your freshwater fishing partners with your line wet and waiting for those catfish to bite. Sometimes it doesn't matter how many fish you've been catching because you're out there having a great time. On the other hand, you want to show off to your buddies with all the quality fish that you can catch, right?
However, it does help to actually know and understand how to catch catfish...
There are a few things which are certain. Catfish are not real finicky eaters. They will smash on nearly anything that resembles food. Many people like to cast out bait such as chicken liver, hot dogs, or anything stinky. As a matter of fact, as I was messing around one day while working at a duck club along side a river system, I baited a hook with some roast beef from my lunch. And what do you know, I got lucky and caught a little 2 pound channel catfish.
These types of small stinky catfish baits will obviously attract numerous catfish and help you in the process to figure out what might be the best bait for catfish. However, these fish will usually be the smaller cats, with an occasional large one. This is an excellent way to see how to catch catfish if that satisfies you. But, the larger mature catfish primarily feed on bigger baits such as whole bait fish or large cut baits.
Sometimes, I like to just experiment with a variety of baits for catfish. I have even used homemade baits. You can aquire some ideas with these 80 Easy Catfish Bait Recipes. They're fun to use and will help you catch plenty of catfish.
Where can the big monster whiskerfish be found?
Larger catfish do very well in fast moving waters. They tend to sit in holes or behind breaks like boulders and other types of heavy structure.
Look for bends in swift moving rivers which has formed deep grooves in the base of the waters floor. And other areas like below dams, or behind fast flowing currents of water over and around structure such as rocks, pylons and fallen trees.
Use a sinker heavy enough to get the catfish bait down. Cast out and allow it to drift past the hole. Allowing the bait to drift will provide a more realistic presentation, enticing a ferocious attack. Make a few casts if you need to.
Generally, catfish don't cautiously mouth and taste the food, so there's really no need to let them run with it. Once you feel the catfish hitting it, lower your rod tip down towards the water, then simply rear back to set the hook hard and hold on for an exciting fight.
Another option of how to catch catfish could be with lures. Catfish, especially flathead catfish, have been known to bust on top water plugs and flies, and also from jigging spoons. This does not occur too often though. If you do decide to experiment fishing for catfish using lures, be sure to keep them scented. It's best to toss them in fast moving water to make it easier to trick them with your treat.
You can also try jugging for catfish if it's legal where you live. Rig up a short fishing line to a large air filled plastic container such as a milk jug, with the cap securely in place. Bait one or two hooks to the line with a sinker attached to the bottom and set it out in the water. You can tie off the jug to a tree so the fish won't swim off with it. You'll know that you have a fish on when the jug is bobbing up and down.
There's an even crazier approach of how to catch catfish. It's called catfish noodling, which is also known as hand fishing or catfish grabbing. You dive down into the water in search of the catfish or their spawning nests. Move your hand around the nest and wait for the catfish to bite down on your hand, then pull the fish up and out of the water. They clamp down pretty hard so be sure to wear protective gloves. This isn't legal everywhere so you should check with the fish and game laws in your region before attempting this dangerous activity.
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