Learn How to Catch Bullheads with these Fishing Methods

By Andy Whitcomb

Mar 06, 2018

Bullhead catfish are easy to catch if you just remember two things: bait and bottom.

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 is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.