How do you target big catfish?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

When it comes to targeting big catfish, there are a few key strategies and techniques that can greatly increase your chances of success. Here are some tips to help you land those trophy-sized catfish:

1. Location is Key: Research and find the right fishing spots where big catfish are known to inhabit. Look for deep holes, underwater structures, and areas with plenty of cover like fallen trees or submerged brush. Big catfish typically prefer areas with ample hiding spots and access to food.

2. Time of Day: Catfish are more active during low light conditions, such as early morning or late evening. Targeting these times can increase your chances of hooking into a big catfish. However, catfish can also be caught during the day, especially if you’re fishing in heavily stocked or pressured waters.

3. Bait Selection: Big catfish are opportunistic feeders and can be caught on a variety of baits. Live bait such as large shiners, herring, or shad are highly effective, particularly for flathead and channel catfish. For blue catfish, cut bait from herring, shad, or mullet is hard to beat. Cut the bait into steaks about ¾-1 inch wide, which provides a good scent trail and makes it easier for the catfish to swallow.

4. Rigging: One popular rig for targeting big catfish is the slip sinker rig. This rig consists of a sliding sinker, a swivel to prevent line twist, a leader line, and a strong circle or octopus hook. The slip sinker allows the catfish to pick up the bait and move without feeling resistance, increasing the chances of a solid hookset.

5. Patience and Persistence: Big catfish can be elusive and require patience and persistence. It’s important to stay focused and committed to your fishing spot, giving enough time for the catfish to find and take your bait. Don’t hesitate to move around or try different depths if you’re not getting any bites.

6. Use Proper Equipment: When targeting big catfish, it’s important to have the right gear. Choose a sturdy fishing rod with a heavy action and a reel with a strong drag system. Catfish can put up a strong fight, so having the right equipment will help you land them safely.

7. Practice Catch and Release: Big catfish are often older and more valuable to the ecosystem, so consider practicing catch and release. This helps maintain the population and ensures future generations can enjoy the thrill of catching big catfish.

Remember, every fishing trip is a learning experience, and adapting your techniques to the specific conditions and preferences of the catfish will greatly increase your chances of success. So get out there, enjoy the adventure, and reel in those big catfish!