Catfishing Tips, Tricks, and More
With warmer weather right around the corner, it will soon be time to go catfishing again, and it doesn't matter if you're going on your fishing trip to a local lake or river, we're going to reveal some great tips and tricks to make your next fishing trip a success.
Here it is almost July now and I've been tearing up the catfish. The local rivers here in North Carolina are a lot cleaner than they used to be when all the mills were running, and now they hold some record-setting catfish. I recently caught a 23-pound channel catfish at my favorite fishing hole in the local river with chicken liver on a treble spring hook.
There are some basic things you should keep in mind when going on a fishing trip for catfish: what bait to use, how and where to fish, and what to bring.
Two Best Baits: Chicken Livers or Shrimp
No matter what anyone tells you, the two best baits for your average catfish are chicken livers or medium- to large-size shrimp (green shrimp, fresh-frozen shrimp). And remember, when you are using shrimp as bait for catfish, remove the skin and tail from the shrimp. Chicken livers should be used just barely thawed out. If they are still slightly frozen, they will stay on your hook much better. And here's a tip: you can use small pieces of old pantyhose to wrap your chicken livers in if you're having trouble keeping them on the hook.
Other baits used for catfish are blood worms, night crawlers, cut-up small fish, minnows both alive and dead, and catfish dough baits. When you go on your fishing trip and get to your destination, ask around at the local tackle and bait shops as to what bait works best there for catfish. But don't forget to take along some chicken livers and raw shrimp, as these are two baits I have used to catch tens of thousands of catfish over the years.
Making Dough Bait for Catfish
I can't say enough about chicken liver. It's the best catfish bait you'll ever find, followed here in western North Carolina by cut bait. I fish a few farm ponds where I actually do better with fresh cut-up shad than I do with chicken liver. But if I ever get in a place where the catfish don't seem to want to hit on anything, I use chicken liver. It will work when nothing else will.
If at all possible you should use a spring treble hook so that you can keep chicken liver and stink bait on the hook. Here's what a spring treble hook looks like. Since I started using these hooks I've caught a lot more catfish. And lost a lot less chicken liver to hungry catfish. And you can do the same thing.
More Catfish Tips and Tricks
The Best Time to Fish
You will have the best luck catching catfish in the last hour after dark. In the summer, you can almost always do better fishing for catfish at night than in the day time. You will need to be prepared for mosquitos and other bugs, at night especially. Here in western North Carolina I do good fishing in big holes in the rivers at night.
Remember catfish like to take bait that is laying still. So don't be bouncing your bait or reeling it in and out.
Keep the noise down and don't play music while fishing for catfish unless you're using ear plugs. Noise seems to bother catfish. So keep that in mind.
Where to Fish
Once you fish a particular farm pond long enough, you'll learn where the best places are for catfish there. You should always keep a journal with pages for every farm pond that you fish. Make careful notes and you can refer back to it when you need to.You will catch more catfish in three to five feet of water than anywhere else. There may be deeper water, but I bet you'll do better at the edges of a deep hole where the water is shallower.
One More Thing
Keep in mind that you're going to need a fishing license, especially in N.C. Be sure to read and know your local fishing laws where you go fishing. Most areas offer the local fishing regulations in a book or online.
Farm Pond Catfish
Believe it or not, a lot of those farm ponds contain some really large catfish, so if you can get permission to fish, why not plan a fishing trip to a local farm pond for some of the best catfishing you will ever find anywhere.
For the average farm pond fishing trip, you will need a 6-foot rod or two with spinning reels on them, with some good heavy-duty fishing line as you are probably going to be catching some large catfish. You will want a rod stand for your rod, or a rod stand for each if you are using more than one. And for farm-pond catfishing I would strongly suggest using chicken livers or green shrimp (fresh frozen shrimp) for bait. And unless it's illegal in your area, use treble hooks to catch those big channel catfish you often find living in farm ponds.
Cast your baited hooks into the water and allow the bait to sink. Then tighten up your line and set your rod down on the rod stand. If you're fishing in a good spot, you're going to see the end of your rod bounce up and down and then the line will be pulled straight out. Then grab the rod and set the hook. Hopefully you will have just caught one of those monster catfish we all hear about, and you better have your camera handy.
Farm Pond Tip
Always watch out for turtles when you have your fish on a stringer in a farm pond. They can easily sneak up and eat part or all of your catch before you even know it.
Things to Bring on Your Catfishing Trip
There are some other things you may want to take along on your farm pond catfishing trip.
- Pliers for removing hooks from the fish's mouth
- A folding chair for each person on the trip
- Mosquito repellent
- Sun screen
- Several washcloths or dish cloths for clean-up
- A radio (with earplugs) to listen to while you fish
- An ice chest, for some cold drinks and a place to keep your chicken livers and shrimp
- A good knife for cutting bait, etc.
- A fish stringer or fishnet pot to keep your fish in after you catch them
- A good fishing hat; especially if it's hot without shade where you're fishing.
Cooking Your Big Catfish
Keep in mind that those big catfish can be cleaned and cut up into excellent catfish nuggets. Add slaw, french fries, and hushpuppies, and you will have a excellent meal.
How to Make Fried Catfish
Have A Great Trip
So I guess that's about all. I hope you have a great fishing trip and I hope I told you something here that will help you to catch a few more fish. And if you like, feel free to post a comment down below, beneath these videos full of catfishing tips!