So yesterday, we talked about how to catch catfish, and in particular, how to find them. Today I want to go over the part that is a little easier, and that is what catfish bait to use, and some gear suggestions. Remember, catfish instinctively feed mostly by scent, so using baits that are real, or that contain a lot of odor, blood, etc. will be your best bet. And also, the bait needs to be protein or cheese based. Just throwing something that stinks at them will not necessarily catch the fish.
Using the Right Catfish Bait
So once you have located the fish, now it is time to bait them up. Selecting the right catfish bait is really not that difficult. If you are fishing for larger catfish, use shad or perch. If you really want to go after large flathead (yellow) catfish, then use live perch, and drift fish or setup on the bottom. If you want to catch the big blue catfish, use live shad wherever possible.
I’ll note that live shad and live perch are difficult to keep alive for long periods of time, so you’ll be changing out your bait frequently. But no problem, just keep the bait that dies, you can re-use it later as cut bait, or just slice it open and let the blood and guts put the scent in the water to draw in the big fish.
Now, if you are looking for fast action, or don’t mind pulling in the smaller fish, use the other catfish baits. The two baits that I have found to be extremely effective are chicken livers and blood bait. They are soft baits, and provide a lot of scent in the water. As they sit on the bottom, the blood and perhaps small pieces of the bait will break off, and provide a sort of “trail” in the water that catfish can follow to draw them to your hook.
Some Gear Suggestions for How to Catch Catfish
No fishing guide is complete without gear recommendations. My recommendations are simple, get you a good medium to heavy weight rod, get a spinning or bait casting reel with a large spool that is capable of handling a lot of line, say 250-300 yards at least. If you do find yourself fighting a huge catfish, you don’t want him to pull you down to the knot, and snap the line. Reels that can hold 500 yards or more of line are great to have on board.
Lastly are hooks. Probably the best hooks to use are larger circle hooks, and treble hooks. I prefer the circle hook myself, just because it does a great job of hooking the fish, and you don’t have to deal with getting 2 or 3 barbs out of the fish. But treble hooks have a purpose, especially if you are fishing with chicken livers, blood baits, or dip baits, they can really help to keep the bait on the hook, and they will hook a catfish.
Until next time, go out there, catch some fish, then come back here and post your comments and feed back on how this website has helped you to catch more and bigger fish!