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Everything you need to know for your first Catfish trip!

Catfish in a lake

Catfish fight hard and taste great, there ya go! The most important things you really need to know about fishing for Catfish! So keeping that in mind and let’s start learning what a new angler actually needs to know in order to have fun, and eat some fried Catfish.

Average Catfish

Catfish this size are a lot of fun and tasty too!

Catfish can be caught pretty much anywhere, and the methods from a boat or from shore are not all that different. There are many different species of catfish and probably a few of those species can be found in water not too far from where you live. Whether you live near a fast flowing river or a shallow lake, if you think about how a catfish searches for food and what type of habitat they like you can probably learn a lot about finding catfish in a short period of time.
When we watch the best fishing shows on cable television, during a Catfish episode we always see them fishing the deep muddy waters of a river. Catfish like to search for food in muddy areas with current, but will settle in around structures, holes and other good ambush spots. During the day they may lie wait in these areas but at night may venture further using their excellent sense of smell to find food. Their cat-like whiskers, more accurately called barbels, are used to find food in low light conditions or at night. A night catfishing trip with the family is a great outing but don’t forget the bug spray as I learned this the hard way!
where to catch catfish

Catfish can be caught along the shore and near any structures

For the type of catfish you will find in local ponds and lakes when you take your kids out fishing, pretty much any rod or reel combo should work just fine. A $20 combo from your local Walmart is actually all you need to get started. 15 pound test monofilament on a spinning rod and reel combo should handle anything you are likely to encounter unless you are hunting for giant catfish, in which case you know enough that you don’t need the info in this article. This is article is for newbies who want to learn the basics!

I prefer circle hooks as they tend to be better for newbies as you don’t set the hook because the fish actually does this for you when it takes off, and the hook gets lodged in the jaw or corner of the mouth. Circle hooks can actually lead to increased survivability of the fish for those who practice catch and release. Usually hooks in the 1/0 to 3/0 sized hooks should work for most of the fish a newbie might encounter.

Slip sinker Catfsh rig

The simplest rig for catching Catfish is the slip sinker or Carolina rig

Use a slip sinker rig, also known as a Carolina rig where the hook is attached to a monofilament leader of about 2 feet and then a barrel swivel is used to keep an egg sinker from sliding down to the hook. This set up allows you to let out line as needed to cover a larger area and not have the sinker as an encumbrance. It really is just that simple and this is probably the most widely used and best catfish rig. Catfish can also be caught on bobber rigs with split shot to keep the bait down or by bouncing a jig on the bottom as well, but for the newbie, the Carolina rig is my first choice for most conditions.

Catfish can be caught on pretty much any fresh bait but in certain areas some baits are better than others and the guys at your local bait shop can really give you some good info. I usually try a few different baits until I find the one that works best, they key is that it should be fresh and oily. I have caught catfish on everything from night crawlers and Shiners to chicken livers and Vienna sausage from the local market. But I have had found the best bait for my area to be cut baits of any oily fish in the area. A Catfish finds food by scent, so keep that in mind.

Additional things you should bring along on your catfish fishing adventures are pretty much the same as what you would have for any other species. A net for landing catfish along with a towel or gloves for grabbing the fish if you don’t have a lip grip handy. A pair of long nosed pliers is an essential item you should have in your tackle box for unhooking Catfish.

Catfish in a lake

The Catfish uses its Barbels (whiskers) to help it find food

It’s important to remember that these are merely Catfish fishing basics, just enough info to get you started or for those parents who want to have a good time out with their kids but don’t have a lot of experience. Catfish fishing can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. If you are going for the giants, this might not be the article for you, but if you just want a fun day out with the family or some peace and quiet time for yourself, while having the chance at bringing home a really tasty dinner, then shut off this computer and get out there!

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