Learn How to Catch Bullheads with these Fishing Methods

There are three species of bullhead catfish: yellow, brown, and black. They are often confused and rarely exceed more than a pound or two, but they are always hungry, making methods for how to catch bullheads very simple.

1. Fishing Bait you Can Use

Occasionally, I’ll catch a channel catfish or flathead catfish on a lure. However, I don’t recall ever catching a bullhead on a lure. The most important tip for learning how to catch bullhead is that bullheads love bait. In fact, the answer to the question, “what is the best bait for bullhead catfish,” could easily be “all of the above.” Live bait such as nightcrawlers, grasshoppers, crickets, crayfish, minnows are great if you’ve got them. If not, just raid the fridge. Corn, cheese, hotdogs, liver, ham, bagels, just about anything that is edible and that will stay on a hook for a while will work. Bullheads aren’t picky eaters. No need to “match the hatch” here.

2. Try Bottom Fishing method

Bullheads have relatively tiny eyes but locate food along the bottom of murky water using their whiskers.  Most advice for how to catch bullhead catfish will include a note about increased feeding at night. However, when targeting bullheads on smaller bodies of water such as ponds and creeks, the day time bite doesn’t really seem to stop either. There are different rigs for how to catch catfish. Bullhead fishing rigs usually are just a hook that will hold bait (barbs on the shaft or treble hooks help), and some weight to get that bait to the bottom. Just about any weight will do because these fish avoid moving water, but I prefer larger sizes of split shot or crimp on type weights.

For those learning how to fish, remeber bullheads are not the most glamorous sport fish. They often appear in unwanted places, are notorious for overpopulating, and are equipped with hazardous pectoral spines if you don’t know how to handle them. However, once you do get the hang of how to catch bullhead catfish, you’ll soon appreciate that, when all else fails, bait on the bottom in bullhead waters is a sure thing. Plus, when you check your state regulations, you’ll probably find that enough can be harvested for a good old’ fish fry.


Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.