The Best Catfish Fishing Techniques: How to Catch Catfish

Catfish are one of the most popular fish in the U.S. for several reasons. Some species can easily reach double digit weights, they are almost always hungry, and most can make a drag on a fishing reel sing. The potential fillets are a delectable bonus.

Catfish Fishing Techniques 

Catfish fishing techniques vary by species and habitat. There are several books on catfish fishing tips and how to catch catfish.  But for many scenarios a good catfish fishing technique can be a simple, relaxing way to fish. 

Catfish occasionally will hit lures but the first tip on how to catch catfish is to get bait. Minnows, cut baitfish, liver, grasshoppers, night crawlers, or even hotdogs or cheese work great for bullheads and channel catfish. Blue catfish and flatheads prefer live sunfish or shad. 

Any heavy line should do, but some heavy catfish rigs may use wire especially if fishing around rocks.  A treble hook may be better for holding bait such as liver or cheese but a circle hook is effective for practicing catch and release. And use just enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom, even in current.

Patience is a big part of a catfish fishing technique too. Check your regulations and cast out another rod of two if it is allowed. Utilize rod holders, with the drag set light at first so the rod doesn’t suddenly disappear into the lake, and then park it on a comfortable rock and be ready.

Because of their whiskers (barbells) and relatively small eyes, catfish feed heavily at night but rarely pass on a snack throughout the day too. When fishing for catfish in moving water, consider the current and look for areas of slack water.  Then, with just a fishing license, you can hook up with one of our waters’ most formidable fish.

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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 since 2011.