Catfish are some of the most popular game fish in America. They are legendary for the fight they put up while being reeled into the shore. Catfish are also prized for their tender white meat, which is a staple in southern cooking. They live in ponds, lakes, and rivers all over the United States and are fairly easy to catch. There are just a few things to keep in mind about catfishing.
First, catfish are not all the same. There are several different species that fishing enthusiasts enjoy catching. According to the World Fishing Network, there are at least 3,000 different catfish species across the world. The most popular species for anglers are flatheads, blue, and channel cats. Flatheads have a flat head, flat tail, and a noticeable under-bite. Channel cats are a grayish/brown color with dark spots, while blues are a grayish/blue with straight anal fins. No matter what the species, they are some of the best for catching.
Equipment for Catfishing
Catfish are voracious fighters on the hook. If you want success in reeling the big one in, you need a sturdy rod and reel. You do not have to spend a fortune on catfishing equipment. Usually, a rod of at least 7 feet with plenty of bend in the tip is best. A 30 pound test line is probably all you need to catfish.. You will also want a reel that has a good drag tension, to prevent your line from breaking. Just buy the best quality that you can afford.
Sharp hooks are also imperative for catfishing. Unlike other game fish with thin oral membranes, catfish have thick lips. One of the best types of hooks is a circle hook with an opening wide enough to hook the cat’s mouth. While some catfishing anglers get cats with treble hooks, they are not the best choice. If you decide to try your luck with a lure, just make sure that it has a circle hook.
The Right Bait
If you are a beginning angler, there are some things about catfish’s eating habits that you should know. Many people believe that catfish are bottom dwellers and are strictly scavengers. While they would never pass up some meat from a dead carcass, they swim on all different levels in the water and will often eat smaller live fish and frogs. Yes, anglers do have great luck with stink bait; however, blues and channels may prefer live bait. You might also have a good catch with cheese, chicken liver, night crawlers, or even hot dogs. Do some experimenting to see what works the best for you, says in-fisherman.com.
Optimal Fishing Conditions
Many old-time anglers only fish for catfish at night; however, you can actually catch them any time of day. Catfish have good vision and exceptional sensitivity to vibration; so you will have better luck if you put your pole in a pole holder. Like other fish, they may stay toward the bottom during the heat of the day and come more to the surface in the cool of the evening for feeding. They can be caught from casting on land or in a boat.
When you finally catch your big cat, be careful taking the hook out because the cat can stick you with his side fins. Contrary to legend, their whiskers cannot sting. If you plan on keeping the fish, make sure that you obey the fishing laws in your area. With the right equipment and some experience, you can soon be an expert catfish angler.