How To Catch Catfish – Just for Fishing

If you want to learn how to catch catfish with your hands or with the correct type of equipment, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little time learning more about this species in general before you get started. We’ve built this section so that you may learn more about it without having to waste time searching for it.


First and foremost, let’s get this over with. Where do catfish make their home? The species can be found in a wide variety of freshwater habitats all around the world. From South America through Africa and Asia, as well as Australia and Madagascar, this fish can be found in a variety of habitats. Specifically, Game & Fish Magazine advocates targeting the species outside river bends, wing dikes, river holes, bottom channels, and inundated lakes and ponds, among other habitat types.

A number of catfish types like shallow water, while others prefer to spend their days swimming around in mud. Additionally, deep holes in ponds, as well as windy coasts, are good places to find them. In order to learn how to capture catfish in a pond, for example, there are numerous courses available online that can be of assistance. So keep in mind that the body of water is vital, and that it must be compatible with your equipment before you begin. Unlike catfish found in rivers, you are unlikely to discover the same sort of catfish found in ponds and lakes.


Because there are so many different species, the size of one fish compared to another might vary significantly. For example, the Blue Catfish is one of the heaviest species ever recorded in the United States of America, with a 130-pound fish found in the Missouri River in 2010 setting a new world record for the species. When compared to a big Mekong catfish that was caught in Thailand in 2005 and was said to have weighed more than 600 pounds, 130 lb is practically insignificant.


The threats of catfish are genuine because this species can be deemed invasive in certain areas, but it is also cultivated for food. Mississippi produces around 60% of the catfish sold in the United States, with the remainder coming from other states. Catfish farms can also be found in abundance in Alabama and Arkansas, which are both southern states. Because of its biology and the low cost of production, catfish has grown increasingly popular among fishermen and those who enjoy eating it on a regular basis.

Nutritional value

There is a significant difference between farmed and wild catfish, and this distinction is crucial since wild catfish is high in vitamin D and includes a significant amount of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, whereas farmed catfish contains little of either. Comparatively speaking, the farmed variety contains lower levels.

While catfish is not commonly consumed in Central Europe, it is considered a delicacy in some southern states in the United States. There are a variety of recipes you can make with this fish, yet some foodies complain that it has little to no flavor and has a watery consistency. Despite the less appetizing appearance of the meat, it contains a significant amount of beneficial fats. As fried chicken is the most common method of preparation in the United States, it becomes more appealing regardless of which family it comes from.

Start by selecting the right gear

If you want to learn how to capture giant catfish or a lesser species from the same family, the truth is that it frequently comes down to the equipment you choose to employ for your venture. Begin by ensuring that the size of your rod and reel corresponds to the size of the fish you intend to capture. It goes without saying that for larger catches, you will need a more durable line.

Generally speaking, if the fish you are targeting weighs less than twenty pounds, a 6-foot rod and 10-pound test line may be a good starting point to experiment with. For anything above the surface, you’ll need a medium to heavy rod with a length of 7 feet, 14-pound test mono line, and a durable reel.

A spinning combo is a good choice for beginners because it is efficient and convenient, and it can be used even by those who are complete novices in the sport. Conventional tackle is used by more experienced fishermen, but getting the most out of a baitcasting outfit might be difficult if you have little or no previous expertise.

One thing that needs to be clarified is that most catfish prefer live bait rather than artificial lures, and this needs to be addressed. However, due to the fact that some fishermen may be apprehensive about caring for and even handling live bait, there are various lures that can be used instead of live bait.

You can use scented soft lures as well as vibrating lures to catch fish. In addition, there are some that are specifically built for catching catfish. Another piece of advice we can provide you is to attempt to pick catfish feeding regions where there is a strong current and where you will be able to introduce your lures with relative ease. It goes without saying that the size of the lure must correspond to the size of the catfish you are attempting to catch.

You may need to learn how to set up a fishing pole for catfish, despite the fact that this species isn’t as active as other species such as largemouth bass, which may put up a real struggle when properly handled. Depending on your state, your fishing license may grant you the ability to utilize two lines per individual. Alternatively, you may set up an ensemble and employ the other in a more active manner.

3 fishing techniques you should know about

However you want to fish, we must point out that a spinning gear will be required for the majority of your angling endeavors regardless of your technique of choice. A 6-foot rod can accomplish a great deal, so you don’t have to go out and purchase an excessively long one. You might consider using weights on your fishing equipment if you are fishing in deep water as catfish have the ability to hide in the depths of the water.

Anchoring, drift fishing, and controlled drifting are three of the most regularly used strategies for catfish angling in the United States. Even trolling is a technique that can be utilized in specific situations, though it is not always chosen by all anglers.

As we previously stated, some catfish species might be far slower than others. However, this does not rule out the possibility of their being hard and rapid. They may take pleasure in playing with the bait before biting on it or swallowing it whole. When you have any questions about whether or not your fish will take the bait, set the hook and wait.

Types of catfish you can catch

We said at the outset of the essay how the catfish family is diverse and made up of a diverse range of species. Following that, we’ll go through some of the most common ones that you may see all over the United States. These fish are responsive to a variety of fishing techniques and tackle, and they can be caught both at night and during the day. Something to keep in mind is that catfish, when compared to other types of fish, prefer cooler water temperatures to thrive in. As a result, our recommendation to you is to try to avoid fishing for catfish during the middle of the day.

Channel catfish

If you’ve ever pondered how to catch catfish in rivers, it’s very probable that you’ve thought about catching a channel catfish, which is a fantastic fish to have in your possession. The most effective bait for this particular species includes everything from freshly killed bait fish to cheese, chicken, and fish parts, among other things. In spite of the fact that some fishermen find it nauseating when it comes to maturing bait, catfish respond to the smell of your bait and lures rather than the movements of your bait and lures.

When it comes to their preferences, channel catfish are a little different than the rest of the catfish species in that they migrate upstream rivers in the spring. As a result, you can track their movements, as opposed to other species, with whom you would be unable to do so. As autumn approaches, you may see that channel cats are making their way to wintering grounds. As a result, this species is a fantastic catch for ice fishermen, as it is enticed to bite even during the winter months. It does not have the same “hibernation” behaviors as other species, despite its name.

Slip sinker rigs, circle hooks, and bobbers are the most effective methods for catching channel catfish that live in streams, reservoirs, and rivers.

Blue catfish

Skipjack herring and shad are the primary targets of the “blues.” Some fishermen have used portions of Asian carp to catch Blue catfish, which can weigh up to eighty pounds, and they have been successful in doing so. The greater the magnitude of the catch, the larger the size of your bait must be.

Because “Blues” prefer a little current compared to some of the other members of their family, they can be found near channel edges, deep holes, steep ledges, and shallow flats. They can also be found in a variety of other places. If the water is colder, you will be able to spot them at greater depths. One of the characteristics of blue catfish is that it prefers to feed at the surface of the water, which makes it a good candidate for surface feeding. Consequently, even when the temperature begins to cool, you may still shoot them in shallow water.

When it comes fishing equipment, we recommend using slip sinker rigs, J-style and circular hooks with sizes ranging from 8/0 to 8/0, as well as a medium to medium-heavy rod that is 7 to 8 feet in length. As you can see, the requirements of this particular species are far greater to those of other catfish, allowing you to securely and efficiently use a standard 6-foot rod with this particular species.

Flathead catfish

Flatheads are a little more laid-back than some of the other members of their family, including their siblings. They are known to sit in the same position for up to twenty-three hours or more. Despite the fact that some anglers will try to convince you otherwise, they respond best when you try to catch them with live bait.

For the same reason that flatheads prefer shelter, you’ll often locate them under or near standing logs, log piles, or rocks. If the river you’re fishing in is larger, we recommend looking for them among piles of wood if the river is more extensive. When fishing in strong current, it’s a good idea to use sinkers that weigh as much as eight ounces. For this specific species, braided and mono lines with a breaking strength of 100 pounds or more are excellent alternatives, especially given the cover it prefers.


Bullheads can be found in abundance throughout the world’s most beautiful lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, including those in North America. Unfortunately, as time has passed and as an angler’s knowledge and skill has grown, they have become slightly less popular. In general, these are the most popular catches for novice anglers and children who are just learning the fundamentals of fishing in general. Bullheads, whether they are black, yellow, or brown, are smaller than many other types of catfish, including many other species of catfish.

Because they only weigh one and a half to two pounds, you’ll need to choose shorter rods with a medium action, such as those sized 6 to 7 feet in length. There should be nothing preventing you from using float rigs or even simple split shot rigs in these situations, and ultralight gear would work admirably for the most part.

Bullheads differ from one another in terms of their natural environment, depending on the species. For example, the black variety can be found in many types of water, including swamps, whereas the brown variety favors a lake or stream that is somewhat clear and thickly forested. Despite the fact that yellow bullheads prefer smaller amounts of water, you can still locate them in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams where there is a dense cover of vegetation.

Keeping your gear and approaches as clean and basic as possible are two of the most important pieces of advise we can give you if you want to catch the greatest amount of bullhead possible. In the case of this specific species, you won’t even need to go out and spend a lot of money on fancy equipment. Furthermore, when it comes to bait, you can always rely on worms or chicken liver to get results.

Regardless of your personal choice in the topic, you should employ a significant number of hooks. A major advantage of targeting bullheads is that they consume their bait rapidly, making it much less difficult to get the hook into the fish than it would be if you were targeting another variety of catfish, which are known for fiddling with their food prior to taking it with their teeth.

Final thoughts

In order to prepare the catfish for consumption, we recommend that you clean it immediately after capturing it. Keep your catches out of the water as long as possible since the meat will soften and you will believe that it has no or a terrible flavor if you do. The skin of your captures can be removed if you have an excellent knife with you. Alternatively, you might use a more modern technique such as an automatic skinner.