How to Catch Catfish: The Best Fishing Tips

Do you know how to catch catfish? Catfish are a lot of fun to capture, and the setups are usually quite basic. They put up a good fight, are numerous, and taste delicious at the family dinner.

How to Catch Catfish

Catfish are generally keen biters as well, and may be caught with a simple lure rig from the riverbank or from a canoe. Here are a few proven strategies for catching these powerful fish.

How to Catch Catfish for Beginners: Essential Tips

Catfish have seen a rebirth of fishing popularity over the years, despite being derided by fishing enthusiasts like a “bottom feeder.” Their grounds are easy to understand: catfish are plentiful, enjoyable to catch, grow to enormous sizes, and taste great on the dining table.

Catfishing advice, on the other hand, is scarce. So, bottom line is that if you’ve never fished for catfish before, you should do it this year — you could just discover a new hobby.

Here are some catfishing pointers to get you started.

Best Places to Catch Catfish

A lot of catfish hotspots may be found in lakes, ponds, as well as rivers. You might be able to choose a site at irregular intervals, toss your catfish lure, and start pulling them in when you’re lucky. But the majority of others are not so fortunate.

People need more knowledge to have effective outcomes, especially in unknown waters: we have to know where ravenous catfish are expected to be.

  • River Bends (Outside)

Catch catfish in River Bends

Rivers take the way with the least amount of strain. The river reverses course when a solid bottom impedes the flow, generating a hard-bottomed outer curve with momentum. These curves are hotspots for prize catfish, particularly flatheads, who like dark hollows.

The river carves undercuts at the bank. Huge cats looking for a meal might take refuge in an undercut lip or ledge.

  • Wing Dikes

To minimize erosion, these thin rock formations on major rivers divert stream into a mainstream. Cats congregate around them, generally along the water’s bottom on the upstream of the dike’s side, constantly feeding fish.

This structure’s liquid hydraulics generate a “tube” of decreased current that runs the length of it.

  • Holes in the River

River-bottom openings are big-catfish attractions, while being tough to locate. These structures block the current, allowing blues, flatheads, and channels to rest and replenish.

In small streams, holes occur under shoals when the bottom sediment is washed away by the current. Focus on huge river holes along outside curves as well as tributary mouths, as well as directly beneath dams. This structure may be identified with the use of sonar.

  • Riprap

Near dams, causeways, and bridges, engineers frequently put riprap (huge boulders along coastlines to prevent corrosion).

Catfish prefer riprap since it attracts foraging animals while also providing cover, shade, and depth. Huge  channel cats, in particular, enjoy this environment.

  • Rafts made of logs

During rising tides, these rafts of floating wood as well as debris grow in the canals of large reservoirs and rivers. Flowing water pushes against the border of still backflow as flow rate and wave activity increase, leading it to circle like a gigantic vortex.

Logs pulled into this eddy generate rafts that may be up to a half-mile long. Lure fish as well as other fodder are attracted to the rafts, which entice catfish.

How to Catch Catfish: The Best Times to Fish

To know how to catch catfish, you first need to identify their habitat. Catfish may flourish in a variety of aquatic environments, ranging from warm, shallow ponds to swift rivers.

While various species prefer distinct environments, there are several broad regions where catfish may be found.

The Best Times to Fish

Search for catfish in locations with muddy water throughout the day, including a stream as well as its outflow. Deep formations, such as river meanders, the foot of drop-offs, cavernous pits, and ridges, are also useful.

Catfish would also congregate near shelter, such as standing wood and weedy margins.

Fishing is very good at night. To find food during the night when it’s dark, catfish utilize their enhanced senses of taste and smell, as well as their whiskers (barbels). At nighttime, roaming cats are commonly caught on bars, flats, shorelines, weedy places, and points.

Types of Catfish

Catfish may be found in a wide range of waterways around the United States. Targeting them may lead to epic battles, quick action, and delicious food.

Four catfish varieties that you might be able to capture near you are listed below.

  • Channel Catfish

Channel cats may be found all throughout the United States. Lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and rivers are all good places to look for them. Although channel catfish may survive in extremely muddy water, they prefer clear, clean water.

Channel Catfish

Most channel catfish are around 3-10 pounds. They may grow to be rather huge, with 15 up to 20 pounds or even greater being seen on occasion.

  • Flathead Catfish

Larger, more solitary, difficult to locate, and picky than some other species of catfish are called Flathead Catfish. They  usually put up a great fight once identified and caught, making the hunt worthwhile.

Flathead Catfish

The Missouri, Mississippi,  and Ohio River watersheds are home to flatheads. They’ve also been placed in a number of other bodies of water around the state. These are regarded an exotic animals in certain locations.

Flatheads may grow to be as large as 100 pounds, however some have grown significantly larger.

  • Blue Catfish

Regarded as the largest catfish in the United States, Blue cats are much larger than flatheads. The previous record, for instance, was a whopping 143 pounds.

Blues are often not larger than flatheads, but they are also significantly more abundant in certain areas. Angling for blues could be a lot of fun, and you never know when you’ll hook up with a monster.

Blue Catfish

Blue cats have a similar geographic distribution as flatheads, except they prefer deeper water in river portions as well as lakes.

  • Bullheads

Bullhead catfish are the most abundant catfish in the United States, but they are also probably the least respected by anglers

Bullheads may be found in nearly every region, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, in ponds, rivers, reservoirs, and lakes.


Bullheads are quite smaller than its relatives, weighing in at around a pound. It’s unusual to capture one that’s longer than 16 inches.

The process of identifying bullheads is rather simple. The jaw bone is longer than the bottom, its tail is square shaped instead of forked, and its adipose lobe is a tiny lobe that is not attached to its tailfin in any way.

How to Catch Catfish with Essential Catfishing Gear

Knowing how to catch catfish also involves essential tools and equipment. Catfish may be caught with very little gear. This is a starter package for tiny to medium-sized fish.

  • A medium-heavy twisting pole with a 6 up to 7 foot length and a spool reeled with 14-pound and heavier monofilament that’s abrasion-resistant
  • 1/0 up  to 3/0 circle as well as lure hooks, # 2 up to #6 treble traps, 0.5 up to 2 ounce egg line drives, divided shots, #7 up to #10 pivots, beads, bobbers, as well as jig heads are examples of terminal tackle.
  • Cut-bait, minnows or live worms, or odorous synthetic bait such as catfish bits or dough
  • Rod holder for the boat or the beach
  • For catching fish, use a net or perhaps a lip-grip.
  • A set of pliers with a long nose for extracting hooks

How to Build the Best Rig for Catfishing

When understanding how to catch catfish, keep in mind that the majority of non-commercial fishing for catfish rigs are built to allow still fishing, which is the most popular method of catfish angling. Therefore, the most basic rig is simply the pole with a bait.

Drift Rig

Consider employing a drifting rig for improved bait positioning and throwing distance. Crimp 1 up to 2 spur shots upon that line 6 up to 12 inches just above bait hooked with new cutbait (based on the intensity of the flow).

For floating through shallow plains in ponds, reservoirs, or lakes this rig is ideal.

Slip Float Rig

Slip Floats are more responsive than circular bobbers, allowing cats to float small journeys with lure without encountering much difficulty. Knot a Uni-knot across your central route with the exact same (or noticeably thicker) line when connecting the hook to function as a changeable float control.

After that, connect a 5-mm bead and the slide float to a thread. Lastly, anchor cutbait with a couple lead shots about a foot just above your hook.

Slip Rig

The egg floater slip rig is by far the most common setup for catfish in still fishing. This rig, which consists of an egg floater on the central route and a lead projectile above your hook, is great for holding the lure near its bottom.

As a result, a catfish may swim away with the lure with minimal effort.

Poly-ball Rig

This technique, sometimes known as an English poly sphere rig, maintains your bait secured yet off of the bottom. This is a particularly useful strategy for fisherman who use live bait and need to keep it looking like it’s swimming.

It’s also a wonderful way to keep decaying bait as well as lures elevated above the detritus on the bottom.

Three-way Rig

A three-way, also known as the Wolf River rig, is indeed an excellent rig for slide drifting on major rivers such as the Colorado, Missouri, or Mississippi, as well as floating wind-blown plains in huge lakes such as Santee Cooper.

A 2- to 3-foot leader as well as a 6- up to 24-inch dropline with a bell floater hold the three-way setup.

For blue as well as channel cats, half an ounce of sinker could be sufficient in still water, but one to 8 ounces might well be required to drift throughout the tips of reservoirs.


Catfish may be found all around the nation and provide a great angling experience which ranges from basic to difficult.

Catfish are, in some respects, one of the most underappreciated game fish. Should you choose to catch any yourself, remember to follow these guidelines and have a great day fishing!

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