Catfish Fishing 101: Best Bait, Lures & How to Catch

Catfish Fishing 101: Best Bait, Lures & How to Catch

One of the largest freshwater predators is the catfish. These fish are fierce fighters and a thrill to catch. Nothing is more exciting than getting a bite, setting the hook, then seeing a blue cat roll on the top of the water as you reel in your catch. The look in a kid’s eye when they reel in a fish bigger than their arm is memorable.

There are many reasons why anglers target catfish besides the thrilling fight. Some of them target trophy fish to win that world record.

Others target catfish to fill the freezer and provide food for their family. One of the best ways to prepare catfish is to fry it. Fried catfish is a popular dish in the south. With sides of coleslaw and hushpuppies, fried catfish is a delectable treat, especially with fresh catfish.

Before you can host your local fish fry, you have to catch the fish. This guide will help you catch catfish, not only targeting trophies but also filling your freezer if you wish. 

Types of Catfish

Did you know there are 40 catfish families with over 3,000 species that exist worldwide? In the United States, however, there are three common catfish sought out by anglers. The three most common types of catfish are channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish. 

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are the most common type of catfish because they live in many different water bodies, including lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. Channels have a curved anal fin that curves out and consists of 24-29 rays. They tend to be olive-brown to grey with dark spots on younger fish. They rarely exceed 30 lbs, and a ten-pounder is considered a good catch.

A channel catfish has a protruding upper jaw and reaches sexual maturity between three and six years old or twelve inches long. Young channel cats feed on insects where adult channel cats feed on mussels, crustaceans, fish, plants, and insects. 

catfish fishing

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish are cruisers and like to cruise rivers and shorelines in search of a variety of food. Young blues eat fish when they are young and add invertebrates as they get older. They can be the slate blue to whiter color as well as dark blue, almost black. Blue cats do not have dark spots and can exceed 100 lbs. They have a straight anal fin that is flat and has 30-36 rays. Sexual maturity takes place when they reach 24 inches long.

Generally, blue catfish can weigh twenty to forty pounds. Growing fast, blue catfish have a life span of 20-30 years and are opportunistic feeders who suspend in the water column and even on top of the water. The world record bluefish was caught in Virginia’s Buggs Island Lake in 2011 and weighed 143 lbs. 

Similarities Between Channel Catfish and Blue Catfish

Channel and blue catfish are very similar. These two catfish species are often confused because they look very similar. They both have forked tails and can be similar in color. Unlike flatheads, channels and blues are scavengers or opportunistic feeders. These similarities are what make them easy fish to catch. 

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish are a solitary fish that is elusive to many anglers. They are more passive and territorial. A combination of structure and cover is the flathead’s choice of habitat. Found in complex locations, flatheads are mottled black, brown, and pale yellow and exceed 100 lbs and three to four feet long. Flatheads have no forked tail and have anal fins shorter and rounded with less than 30 rays. With a protruding lower jaw, adult flatheads prey only on live fish yet young feed on crayfish, worms, and invertebrates. The world record flathead weighed 123 lbs 9 ounces in the Elk City Reservoir, Kansas, in 1998. 

Where to Find Catfish

Catfish are an abundant species of fish found all over the United States. From east to west, north to south, the three most common types of catfish live in over half of the continental United States. Channel cats are the most abundant and make homes in lakes, rivers, and ponds. The Ohio River, Mississippi River, James River, and Potomac River are homes to blue cats. Flatheads live in central and south-central United States.

Catfish reside in many water systems, including temperate, shallow ponds, and fast-flowing rivers. There are even catfish that live in saltwater! During the day, catfish dwell in muddy waters and tributary outflow. They like deep-river bends, the base of dropoffs, deep holes, and humps. Catfish find hidden holes in stand timber and weed edges. During the night, they tend to feed near flats, bar points, shorelines, and weedy areas. Really, you can find catfish anywhere in a lake or river, especially after decent rain or flooding, which will bring them out. 

Cover vs. Structure

Catfish love cover and structure. Many anglers use the words cover and structure interchangeably, but they mean different things. The cover is the additional features in the water. It is the docks, fallen timber and trees, vegetation, cattails, lilypads, and brush piles. Cover can be human-made or natural.

The structure is physical changes of the body of water, such as points, humps, ledges, channels, drop-offs, and holds. All these types of structures tend to hold catfish. Bridges, docks, downed trees, rocky bottoms, dams, channel ledges, rip-rap, and creek mouths are all cover, and structure catfish enjoy. Catfish tend to love cover and structures, so fishing near either should result in a fish.

More Precision

To be more precise on where to find catfish, look near irregularities in the water. As we mentioned, this can be cover or structure. This cover or structure will be most successful if it is isolated. Don’t be afraid to lose tackle. If you are fishing in the timber and cover, you’ll get snagged. Just tie a new rig and move on! Look in the direction the wind blows. Wind oxygenates water, which pushes baitfish together. The catfish will be where the bait is. If you have been at a spot for 15 minutes and not gotten a bite or caught a catfish, move to the next place. You’ve got to be where the fish are to find them!


Catfish will bite hooks during all four seasons; however, some seasons are better to fish than others. You can catch channel catfish during the winter through the ice, although late spring and summer are when channels are the most abundant. There is a time during late spring that channels spawn, and they are difficult to catch during this time. Channels will be in cavities, and if you can find the cavities they are in, you will catch in abundance, but these cavities are difficult to find. If you are searching for blue catfish, late fall, winter, and spring are great times to hunt them in shallower waters. Flatheads are easiest to catch during early to late fall. They also like the first sign of warmth to the first sign of colder temperatures. Good luck finding these fish during the spawn, they hideout and are very difficult to catch. 

How to Catch Catfish

There are almost as many ways to catch catfish as there are families of catfish. Catching catfish through noodling, fly-fishing, trolling, drifting, still fishing, limblines, and trotlines is an enjoyable time. Knowing which strategy to use is dependent on which type of catfish you are targeting.

Suppose you are fishing for flatheads, fish near current and cover, and present the bait a turn or two off the riverbed.

Suppose you are fishing for blue cats, fish at various depths, and drop your rig upstream of deep holes.

If you are fishing for channels, fish away from currents, and drop bait near deep pools below rapids.

The most common ways to go catfishing are still fishing and drift fishing. With these two types of fishing, there are unlimited rigs that can be used as well. Each angler has his/her unique rigs, including Carolina rig, Santee Rig Or Santee Cooper Rig, secret catfish rig, high/low rig, pool noodle rig, balloon rig, etc. The list can go on and on. We will take a look at a few that we think are the most productive.

Still Fishing

Still fishing is productive, simple, and relaxing. You display the bait and wait for the catfish to bite. A popular rig used when still fishing is a slip-sinker rig. This rig’s design can be fished either on or near the bottom. The apparatus consists of a bullet sinker (like these) onto a mainline then a bead. At one end of a swivel is the mainline, and at the other end is a 1-2 foot monofilament leader. At the end of the leader is a hook. We prefer circle hooks for a slip-sinker rig.

Another rig to use is the adjustable 3-way rig. This rig is versatile and best used to present a static bait in heavy currents. The dropper line is 6-24 inches. It is fastened to the bell sinker of plentiful weight to keep the line near the bottom. Depending on the current, this could be ½ ounce or 1-8 oz. The leader needs to be somewhat longer than the dropper line and to tie this rig using a three-way swivel

Drift Fishing

Drift fishing drifts a bait under the bobber. It is suitable for lakes that have less current; however, it is best to drift fish while on a boat. Another rig commonly used is a float rig, which is similar to the slip-sinker apparatus. The only difference is the addition to a bobber above the weight. The float rig is ideally used through wood and over weeds without snagging. This floating rig helps cover a lot of water from the bank.

Another way to catch catfish while drift fishing is to use a jig head tipped with bait. As you fish, lift the jighead and bait, then drop it along the bottom. Periodically hold the bait still. Some catfish will hit hard, other times it will play with the bait. Either way, be sure to set the hook to ensure the hooking of the lip. This technique is very efficient for channel catfish. The type of bait you use is essential, and we will look at the best baits for catfishing.

Best Bait to Catch Catfish

Catfish have heightened senses of smell and taste. They use their whiskers to uncover food. The scientific name for their whiskers is barbels. They are one of the top freshwater predators. There are many wives tales about what bait is best for catfishing. From store-bought bait to homemade bait with secret recipes, anglers often think catfish will eat anything and some will. The best bait is dependent on which type of catfish you are targeting. 

Flathead Bait

If you are targeting flathead catfish, it is best to use live bait. As mentioned before, flatheads are lethargic hunters, and they are picky eaters. Flatheads enjoy local bait in the water. If there are sunfish, bluegill, shad, and smaller catfish in the water, use them as baits. You can also use minnows and nightcrawlers. If you have the gear, try catching the bait from the lake to target the flathead. 

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish are less pickier eaters than flatheads but pickier than channel cats. Blue cats will target live bait or cut bait. They like fresh oily fish. This fresh fish can be freshly dead. Frozen bait is not very useful when fishing for blue catfish because the freezing process can remove the oil from the fish. Like the flatheads, blues want natural fish in the water they habitat. They will eat almost anything swimming around. 

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are the fish that eat almost anything. They are omnivores and will eat vegetation and meat. When fishing with stink bait, you are targeting young channel catfish.

Our preferred stink bait is Berkley’s PowerBait Catfish Chunks. We prefer this bait because it is three times faster than standard dough balls. After all, it is 185% stronger than other competitors. Available in six different flavor combinations, Berkeley’s catfish chunks are preformed for quick and easy rigging. The stink bait allows young channel cats to follow a scent trail. To use a stink bait, you simply put it on a hook and cast out your rig.

Young channel catfish are also attracted to dip baits. Our number one choice of dip bait is Catfish Charlie’s Blood Dip Bait. Charlie’s dip bait is extra sticky and made from dry livestock blood. It is productive in cold water during fall and spring. What makes this our favorite dip bait is that it molds on and sticks to hooks, tubes, and worms. It is not as messy as the stink bait but just as effective. To use a dip bait, simply dip your rig into the bait and cast it out.

The problem with stink baits and dip baits is that they stink, and the smell lingers on your hands for weeks. Using a punch bait will help prevent the lingering smell. CJ’s Catfish Punch Bait is our favorite punch bait. This punch bait comes in four flavors, shad, crawdad, minnow, and monster, and it never goes bad. There is no need to touch the bait, simply punch a treble hook into the bait with a stick and pull it out. The bait will stay on the hook even in running water. What makes CJ’s different is the fact they don’t use artificial flavoring.

When the channel catfish get older, they eat fresh dead baits, chicken liver, and beef liver. Older channel catfish will also go after the stink baits if they are made from real animal byproducts and flavors, which is why they go after chicken liver and beef liver.

There is always a chance that when you are targeting one species of catfish, another will bite your hook. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Typically, local regulations are by species, so when you catch different species, you can harvest more catfish. However, you should collect responsibly.

Best Lures to Catch Catfish

Fishing with artificial lures is not nearly productive as fishing with live bait, dead bait, or stink bait. Fishing for catfish is challenging when you use lures. If you are going to fish for catfish using lures, try using lures saturated with scent products. Also, fish like a bass angler if you are targeting catfish with lures. Lures are more effective if the water is clear. Lures that rattle and vibrate are going to be more productive. 

Hogy Barbarian Jigheads

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We mentioned in the bait section that you can attach live bait, stinkbait, or cut bait to a jig head and jig it off the bottom. We like Hogy Barbarian jigheads because they are durable and have a heavy-duty hook. The size of the jighead you should use is dependent on the size of the fish you are targeting. We think ½ oz to 1 oz is fantastic sizes for catfishing. These jigheads are useful for natural bait, but they are also effective for artificial lures like Berkley’s Gulp Alive line. 

Berkley’s Gulp Alive

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There are multiple lures in the Berkley’s Gulp Alive series that are most effective for catfish fishing. They have soft plastics that are scented as well as liquid baits and attractant spray. 

Jerk Shad

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The jerk shad has an erratic darting motion that resembles struggling baitfish. The jerk shad attached to the jighead is very useful along weed lines, wood cover, docks, and dams. There are ten colors available. 

Minnow Soft Bait

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Another soft bait that works great on a jighead is the soft minnow bait. These minnows have a natural presentation in actions, scent, and taste. Available in four colors, these minnows have exceptional durability and are long-lasting. 

Recharge Liquid Bait

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We love Berkley’s Gulp Alive line, and this recharge bait allows almost any lure to become a Gulp Alive bait. You add this liquid to increase effectiveness and attract fish by scent. Another way to use this the liquid bait is to fill the management container that the Gulp Alive! comes in. 2 oz and 8 oz are available. 

Fishing Attractant Spray

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This spray is similar to the liquid bait but comes in seven different scents. The ideal scents for the catfish are shad/shiner, nightcrawler, minnow, and crawfish. It is made from high-quality materials and shoots or sprays. 

Rat-L-Trap Lure

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Initially created by Bill Lewis, the Rat-L-Trap lure is a USA product. When you are fishing with this lure, it is like the dinner bell for predators. The rattles inside the lure make noise as you reel attracting predator fish. The realistic paint designs come in 33 different colors and patterns. 

Catfish Rattling Line Float

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Although this line float isn’t technically a lure, it sure will aid in catching catfish. The line float’s design allows it to go on a rig, make noise, and attract fish. It is very versatile, and there are three points of connection and used on multiple rigs. The line float attracts fish by sight, sound, and smell. Available in a three-pack, these floats will add effectiveness to your catfish rigs. 

Truscend Jointed Swimbaits

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Available in 20 different lures and combinations, the jointed swimbaits look like really baitfish swimming around. The multiple joints in the lure mimic real fish. These lures are heavy-duty and versatile. Suitable for saltwater and freshwater, the lures have 3D looking eyes and a pearl powder coating that adds to the bait’s realistic look. To add to its attractiveness, the lure has a built-in rattle. After casting out the lure, the swimbait will slowly sink and flexibly move through the water, including different water layers. Truscend backs its products with a 12-month quality assurance warranty. 

Strike King Pro-Model 10XD Crankbait

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A decent type of lure that gets down to wear the catfish are is a crankbait. Strike King has some of the best crankbaits on the market. The 10XD is available in 11 patterns/colors that mimic real baitfish. The crankbait will dive more than 25 feet and has two 1/0 treble hooks. The easy of this lure is remarkable. You can fish deeper without having to pull hard. The crankbait emits a varying sound frequency and has a free-floating rattle chamber for extra noise to attract the catfish. The curved bill’s design allows the lure to go down deeper and faster. 

Dr. Fish Fishing Spoon Lure

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Available in packs of three, these fishing spoons’ design includes a weed guard to prevent getting caught in vegetated areas that channel catfish or blue catfish might call home. Shaped like a minnow, these lures are versatile and usable in freshwater and saltwater. The spoon wobbles to mimic swimming fish and is easily cast a long distance. To help attract fish, they have a rattling ball. It doesn’t matter where you plan to fish; this lure is excellent while bank fishing, boat fishing, rock fishing, or beach fishing. You can also use it while fishing lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. 

Best Gear to Catch Catfish

Just like other forms of fishing, catfishing requires quite a bit of gear. There’s a lot to know about catfish gear from rods and reels to pliers and terminal tackle. It is it’s own unique fishing experience with equipment to pull in the bottom-dwelling monsters. 


When looking for a catfish rod, pay attention to the details. First is the type of rod. If you plan to use a bait-caster, be sure to get a casting rod. Trophy size catfish are easier to catch if you use a bait-caster. If you want to use a spinning reel, be sure to get a spin rod. If you’re going just to fill your freezer, use a spinning rod. Using a spinning rod will also easily land you channel cats.

Many anglers think you need separate rods for the three different kinds of catfish, and if you are rolling in the dough and have nothing better to spend your money on, then, by all means, buy three different rods. However, it isn’t necessary as most catfish rods are versatile enough to pull in any catfish. A catfish rod should be anywhere from six to eight feet long. If you are casting from shore, you will want a longer rod to get you in or by the deep catfish holes.

Rods made of graphite, E-glass, S-glass, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or composite are ideal. These materials make the poles strong and durable. The handle material should be cork, foam, or composite cork; however, this is strictly personal preference and comfort. Cork tends to be the most popular because people think it is the most comfortable. Finally, the catfish rod should be medium to medium-heavy power. The medium power will pull in your channel catfish easily but struggle with your heavy flatheads. A medium-heavy power is sensitive enough to feel the channels but strong enough to land the flatheads.

B’n’M Silver Cat Magnum Casting Rod 

This two-piece, 8-foot rod is 100% fiberglass, which provides strength and durability. The medium action rod has a sensitive tip and is perfect for shore fishing because of the length. The graphite reel seat is excellent for any size reel and versatile enough to target all three catfish species. A couple of downfalls with this reel is that it doesn’t cast terribly accurately, and it is hard to adjust the no-slip nylon grip. However, the high quality and glow in the dark tip make up for it. The glow in the dark tip is very useful for night fishing and allows you to detect the smallest bite. 

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Combo

One of our favorite brands for catfishing is Ugly Stik. Their rods are so durable and lightweight. Any angler can use the GX2. Made from graphite and fiberglass, the rod is very responsive and sensitive. The clear tip is durable but lightweight. Comfort is vital when fishing long days and nights, and Ugly Stik makes sure its EVA grips provide this comfort. The rod is a 7’ medium-heavy action spin rod that is one piece. The reel is a spring reel with three ball bearings and a one-way clutch that provides anti-reverse. Smooth is the best word to describe the motion of this reel. With a 5:2:1 ration, the spool can hold 280 yards of 12 lb monofilament, 215 yards of 14 lb mono, or 195 yards of 17 lb mono. This rod will easily catch an 8-20 lb catfish with no problem. 


Unlike rods, the type of catfish you are targeting depends on what kind of reel you should be using. There are two types of reels used in catfishing, spinning, and baitcasting. If you are fishing for channel catfish, a spinning reel will suffice. If blue cats and flatheads are what you are after, a baitcaster will do a better job than a spinning reel. Having the proper reel is the foundation for a successful trip. The reel will provide the vigor to cast meticulously and flawlessly. The reel gives the strength needed to finish the fight. Anglers targeting trophy size catfish have found that saltwater reels work effectively. They are durable enough to withstand the battle of an 80 lb flathead.

Spinning reels are pretty standard in the angler world and easy for most anglers to use. A baitcaster takes a little more practice but is the perfect design for catfishing. The baitcasters’ design centers around the ability to cast heavy rigs a far distance. Think about their name, baitcaster, designed to cast the bait. Both blues and flatheads enjoy real bait, so using a baitcaster to catch them makes sense. A baitcaster generally holds more line than a spinning reel and has a more durable drag system. The old round style baitcasters are sturdy and handy for the headstrong, feisty catfish you’ll be pulling from the lake’s expansive depths.

Both reels on our list come from very reputable companies that most anglers know and love. Abu Garcia is a Swedish company founded in 1921 that first made telephone timers and watches but moved to fishing reels during WWII. Otto Henze left Germany and a job at Ocean City Reels in 1922 and established Penn in 1932. These companies have been around a long time, which shows their reels are high quality and durable. 

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Catfish Pro Baitcast Round Reel

The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur catfish pro comes in two different series. The 6500 series has three stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing. The 7000 series has two stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing. Designed with a carbon metric drag and extended bent handle, the Ambassadeur is super smooth and stylish. We love the orange and black design that is versatile for both big cats and little cats.

A couple of negative aspects of the Ambassadeur is that there is no thumb bar, a slight rattle, and a less than optimal gear ratio. However, these negative aspects don’t outshine the powerful drag, comfortable handle, or brake assist both in casting and retrieval. Explicitly designed for catfishing, this reel will last for years with care. 

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel

Penn is always our go-to reel for larger fish. The quality of Penn reels is unbelievable. The Spinfisher VI is no different. It is top of the range in the spinning reel family. The Spinfisher has been around for a while, and the VI generation is the best. Made of full metal, this reel can be heavy, but this makes the reel durable and corrosion-resistant. Penn started their company with saltwater reels. The Spinfisher is versatile and suitable for both saltwater and freshwater.

The Penn Spinfisher comes in multiple sizes. The 4500 and 5500 are great for catfishing. The 4500 is ideal for lighter bait rigs and holds 235 yds of 12 lb monofilament. The 5500 gives an excellent balance of performance and force for bigger fish. There are other negative aspects to this reel, it emits a clicking noise, and the drag system is a little too tight. However, the extended casting ability is smooth and straightforward due to the 5:1 gear ratio. We love the versatility and heavy-duty performance of the Spinfisher VI. 

Other Gear

As with other types of fishing, additional gear makes the fishing trip more enjoyable and makes catching fish easier. 

Plano Weekend Series Tackle Case

Catfishing can take quite a bit of tackle, primarily if you use several different rigs. You need a place for your hooks, sinkers, bobbers, swivels, leader material, and whatever else you need. The Plano Weekend Series Tackle Case is a bag with a shoulder handle that allows you to carry it multiple ways. We love the storage in the bag. It comes with two stowaway utility boxes but can hold up to three. The main compartment has easy access and made of a light, durable material for visibility in low light situations.

There are several places for accessories, including a D-Ring, Molle attachment points, and a light interior which makes it easier to see inside the case in low light situations. On the exterior of the case, there are three zipper pockets and several mesh pockets. The zipper pockets are great for the leader line or other spools of line. There are smaller and larger versions (and colours) and this case is versatile enough for shore fishing and boat fishing. 

Bubba Blade Fishing Pliers

Bubba is known for their comfortable grips on fillet knives, but did you know they have pliers? These pliers have a soft-rubbery material that is comfortable and excellent to grip. The pliers are made from durable aluminum with a robust cobalt tungsten cutter. To top it off, titanium coated, stainless steel jaws help cut braid and mono. Since catfishing requires terminal tackle, the crimpers are nice for swivels and split shot sinkers. The best use of these pliers is the needle-nose ends that help get treble hooks out of the catfish’s mouth. 

Rapala Floating Fish Gripper

Nothing ruins a fishing trip like a fish fin in a hand, a burning sensation that is a constant reminder. With a pair of fish grippers, you won’t have to worry as much about getting a fin in the hand. Catfish can be challenging to handle, especially in the dark, and fish grippers make landing and releasing your fish easier and quicker without harm to you or the fish. Securely hold the fish with one hand and have a quick release that is strong and easy. Made of heavy-duty plastic, these 9” grippers are corrosion resistant with a wrist lanyard. They also float!

Bait Buster Professional Grade Cast Net

As we mentioned before, if you are using live bait, it is best to use the bait that is already in the water. You can use a cast net to catch local bait. Using a cast net takes practice, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t find any bait the first time. Be sure to practice and follow local regulations regarding what you can keep from a cast net and what must be returned to the water. This cast net is composed of 10 lb. mono. It has ⅜” sq mesh and a 25 foot hend line. Available in 6-12 foot radius, be sure to purchase the net you have room to throw. If there are many trees or rocks, you might buy a net with a smaller radius. This Bait Buster net comes in a handy carrying bucket. 

Engel Live Bait Cooler

If you are catching your bait and want to keep it as fresh as possible, you will want a bait keeper and an aerator. This will put oxygen in the water and keep your fish swimming and lively. There are many buckets and coolers on the market, but we love this Engel Live Bait Cooler. The size is perfect for larger baits to catch bigger catfish. The aerator pump has two speeds, which maximizes not only aeration but also battery life. A weighted air stone comes at the end of the hose for more lively bubble action.

Equipped with an airtight gasket, the cooler will help keep the bait alive longer. There is an ergonomic carrying handle as well as a shoulder strap to help free up a hand. After you’ve caught your limit for the day, you can remove the aerator and hose, and now you have a cooler to put your fish in. The cooler also comes with a pull net to get the bait out sooner, and the lid closed quicker. If your day is especially hot, try adding a little bit of ice to the water to keep your live bait cool and alive. Be sure to check local regulation on disposing of bait. To help prevent the introduction of invasive species into an area, bait disposable is encouraged away from water sources. A good rule to live by is to only harvest what you can use that day. 

SamsOutdoorsman MiniFighter Fishing Rod Holder

If you’ve done any catfishing before, you know you’ve got to figure out how to keep your rod tip up. Most anglers find a stick with a y in it and stick it in the ground. However, there are multiple rod holders, including simple wire ones, ones that spring back when you get a bite, and ones made from PVC. We like this SamsOutdoorsman rod holder because it does more than hold a rod. It also has a place for an accessory. This accessory hook would be an excellent place for a lantern for night fishing. There is also a bait holder, so you know which bait is getting the bites. Standing about three feet above the ground, the holder keeps the reel out of the water, sand, and dirt. It American-made and constructed from 100% steel and has a durable, industrial quality.

Frogg Togg Men’s Classic All Sport Rain Suit

One of the best times of year to go catfishing is during the spring. Unfortunately, spring means spring showers. Having a rain suit can allow you to stay out fishing longer than others. The Frogg Togg rain suit is waterproof, breathable, and wind-resistant. The rain suit is a pair of pants and a jacket. The jacket has an adjustable and removable hood. With a full-length parka cut, the jacket has an open waist and a zipper covered by a snap-down storm flap and elastic cuffs. The pants are also adjustable with an elastic waist and adjustable legs to keep the water out. Don’t get caught in the rain; be prepared.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Catfish

What do I need to do to learn to tie the knots needs for catfish rigs?

There are several resources available to learn how to tie the different knots needed for fishing. You can search the knot you want on youtube and find dozens of videos on how to tie it. You can purchase a book (like this one) that shows you how to tie knots. Another resource is a knot card easily stored in your tackle box. Our favorite is the Fisherman’s Ultimate Knot Guide. It is waterproof and has a ruler to help you measure your monstrous fish. 

How do I tell the difference between a blue catfish and a channel catfish?

The easy answer is by the color of the fish. Channels are brown with dark spots. Blue catfish are blue. However, sometimes, the color is hard to tell apart, so a more natural way to tell them is the tails. Both have a forked tail, but a channel cat has a rounded tail with fewer anal-fin rays. They have about 25-28 rays. A blue cat has a more pointed forked tail with 30-35 anal fin rays. So if you can’t tell by the color, check the tail. 

Can you catch catfish in the winter?

As mentioned earlier, you can fish in all seasons. Many catfish believe this is when you catch the biggest catfish with little angler competition. To help pull the big ones out of the holes, try chumming the water. Also, use stink baits, chicken blood, and dead minnows. The stronger the scent, the better. 


Now that you know the difference between the three common types of catfish and where to locate them, you can effectively target them. Using the proper bait and gear will help you be more successful. Now that you know how to catch the catfish, you need to know how to cook them. Check out Great Catch: The Catfish Cookbook-How to Cook Great Catfish Perfectly! for great catfish recipes. You’re sure to find some tasty recipes to feed your family and friends. 

Be sure to also check out: Crappie Fishing 101

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