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Fishing for catfish can be a lot of fun. They are very hard fighters, easy to find, and taste great on the dinner table. Catfish are often willing biters, and can usually be readily caught from the bank as well as from a boat by only using a simple bait or rig. They can thrive in many different types of water systems and there are many different species, each a little different. Catching them is still pretty straightforward, and that is why catfish continues to be one of the most popular species around the entire world.
Different species of catfish like varying habitats, but there are a few general areas to look that will always hold fish. During the day, look for catfish in muddy water areas such as a tributary and any outflows it may have. Catfish also love deep structures, like river bends, drop offs, deep holes, and humps. They will also hold around cover, such as any standing timber and deep weeds. Nighttime can bring great results when catching this fish, as they will tend to be more active. Catfish use their heightened sense of smell and taste, as well as their whiskers to locate food in the dark. The flats, bars, and shorelines areas are common hunting grounds and can catch cats at night.
You don’t need anything fancy or expensive to go catfishing. Many beginners put way too much focus on gear and worrying about what kind of rods, reels, and tackle they have. A six to seven foot medium to heavy spinning rod and a reel with around fourteen pound test line give or take. Live worms or minnows, cut bait, or smelly artificial bait are all popular baits and consistently catch big catfish. Using a slip sinker is a popular method that catches fish near the bottom. You can use this setup by threading a sinker on the mainline, then a bead. Next tie a swivel, with a leader and hook on the other end. The rig can be left on bottom or hovered above the floor when fishing. Another popular option is a float rig. Simply add a float or bobber above the previous setup and allow it to drift in the water. Drifting it can help cover more water when fishing from a bank. Sometimes the catfish will hit hard and quick. Other times they play with the bait before taking it completely. When in doubt, set the hook. If you feel a fish nibbling on the line, wait for him to start actually take the line and try to set the hook.
Big catfish can be a lot to handle when you catch and release them. They’ll tear your hands up and make you think twice about sticking your hand near your mouth again. Use a good pair of lip grips to handle and release catfish. They will be easier to handle and you’ll be much better off. Rod holders are a catfish angler’s best friend whether you are fishing from a boat or from the shore. When fishing from the shore, they will allow you to secure your gear and place your lines in the right location. They will also save your gear from being pulled into the water. Catfish can grow up to some large sizes, especially depending on the species that you are targeting. In the United States, the three primary species that are targeted and plentiful are the blue, channel, and flathead catfish. Most rivers, lakes, and reservoirs around the country will have populations of one of these species available and usually in good numbers. Blue catfish commonly reach weights of twenty to forty pounds, and can reach weights in excess of one hundred pounds. Channel catfish are probably the most popular and plentiful species of three, and can be caught using just about anything as bait. Part of the reasoning for this is because they make great table fare and they are easy to catch. The last species of catfish is the flathead. These are popular because they are well known to grow to trophy class sizes, all in addition to being great eating as well. Unlike the channel or blue catfish that are primarily scavengers, flatheads prey only on live fish as a general rule of thumb. To catch these amazing fish, a live bait is recommended if you are targeting flathead in particular.
Catfish are not only one of the most popular species in the United States, they are one of the most popular fish species in the entire world. They are easy to catch, plentiful, and tastes great. What more could you ask for? Every angler should at one time or another get out and enjoy some catfishing, you might be missing out on all the fun if you don’t!