Tagged: catfishing

How to Fillet a Catfish

catfish

Even though catfish don’t have scales, they are still often considered to be a tough fish to fillet, mostly because of their tough skin. There are a number of different techniques out there for dealing with catfish. But with a good, sharp knife, or electric knife, filleting a catfish may be easier than other fish.

Some people try to remove the skin first, but this usually requires the use of pliers and a good grip to pull the skin off after making a thin incision around the fins and fillet. A sturdy glove may come in handy with this method. A more preferred method is to cut off the fillet, with skin, followed by cutting the fillet from the skin. This is an easier method that can also leave less skin and connective tissue on the fillet.

There is some disagreement on whether a knife or an electric knife is better for the job. This may depend on how many fish or how often you fillet a fish. Both require some training to get it right, but usually those with less fish to fillet tend to use an electric knife. If the number of fish gets large, a good knife may be less costly than a number of electric knives and blades. One knife that looks very sturdy is the Bubba Blade knife. A number of people swear by the Mister Twister electric fillet knife, or at least their blades. The 110 V plug-in version is needed for the power. The American Angler electric fillet knife also gets high praise.

Another big difference in approaches is whether to cut through the rib cage or around it. For small catfish, it is fairly easy to cut through the ribs, but on larger sizes (5-6 lbs and up) you will need a sharp, sturdy knife to cut the ribs.

On a small fish – make a cut on the side, behind the head from the top of the fish (dorsal side) near the front of the dorsal fin down behind the pectoral fins to in front of the pelvic fin. Cut through the rib cage to the spinal cord, then turn knife to go parallel to spine and cut to the tail. Stop the cut before cutting through the skin at the tail, and then flip the fillet towards the tail so that the fillet is showing. While holding onto the fish, beginning from where the fillet is attached at the tail, cut the fillet from the skin by pushing the knife between the fillet and skin while pulling the fish to keep the skin tight. It helps to begin the cut with the point of the knife or flex the electric knife blade to get a good cut. If you didn’t stop the initial cut of the fillet at the tail, you will need to grab the skin at the tail with pliers and cut the fillet from the skin, from tail to head. Finally, cut out the ribs from fillet.

On a larger fish (> 5-6 lbs) – make a partial cut on side, behind the head, up to the spine, then cut along the spine until you get past the ribs, then plunge the knife through the fish (from dorsal to ventral side) and cut along the spine to the tail. Then come back and trim around the ribs back to the initial cut on the side. The fillet still needs to be skinned and if you didn’t cut the fillet off at the tail, flip the fillet over at the tail and cut the fillet from skin from where it attached at the tail. If you cut the fillet off at the tail, grab the skin at the tail with pliers and cut from tail to head. There is some dark red meat on the lateral line of the fillet that you may prefer to remove. This can be cut with a V-cut to remove, but it will split you fillet in half. The top and bottom edge may need trimming as well. A slightly different version for larger fish is to start the cut behind the rib cage at an angle. Cut to spine and then back to tail. This loses some of the shoulder portion of the fillet. For this size fish, the belly flap can also be trimmed off. This is under the section of skin on the belly near the head. Just finish cutting from the initial side cuts from both sides, towards the jaw. Cut or pull any small tendrils attached, and cut in front of the pelvic fin to separate the belly flap. There is skin on one side and membrane on the other that needs to be removed. This is sliced off just like removing the skin from the fillet by grabbing the skin/membrane, with meat on top, and cut while pulling the skin.

Watch these three videos. They are very good at describing these methods of filleting catfish.

Pool Noodling for Catfish – the Other Kind of Noodling

Picture by Catfish Sutton

OK, something is going to have to change.  When it comes to noodling for catfish, there seems to be two different kinds that are competing for the same name.  One type of noodling is to catch a catfish by finding where the catfish is held up in a hole, and then you reach your hand or arm down into the hole and stick it in the catfishes’ mouth.  When the catfish crabs on, you pull your arm out of the hole with the catfish attached and there you have it.  Well maybe not quite as easy as that, because it usually includes a lot of chomping and yelling.

But then there’s the other type of noodling, but maybe it can be distinguished when some call it pool noodling.  It’s called pool noodling because it’s a method of catching catfish using one of those noodles you see in just about every swimming pool these days.  It’s just a long foam plastic tube that you can buy just about anywhere for real cheap.  This method is really just a newer conversion of jug fishing (or jugging) where they just use any old nasty plastic jug with a line and hook attached.  And sorta related to limb line fishing, throw line fishing, or maybe a single hook version of trotline fishing.  Everybody’s got to do something different.

Anyway, for pool noodling, you make your noodle by tying the fish line to the end of a 1-2 ft length of noodle.  But a couple of different ways have been devised to keep the line from tearing through the noodle.  One is to put a small metal or plastic tube through the end of the noodle (across the diameter) and thread the fishing line through the tube. Another way is to put a PVC pipe (with same outer diameter as the ID of the noodle) through the length of the noodle (with a little gorilla glue to hold it in).  Then you can put two holes at one end of the PVC pipe to tie the fishing line through.  Or as Gobblin tom shows in this video, you can put two caps on the ends of the PVC pipe, put a weight in the pipe, and screw an eye-bolt to one end to attach the fishing line.  The tube is laid flat on the water and when the bait is hit by a catfish, the tube tilts, the weight shifts and the noodle stands up.  With some reflective tape on the top end, it’s easy to see, even at night.  The weight shift idea may cause a few false positives for catches, but I don’t see a problem.  Even if a little nibble turns some noodles upend, they can still catch catfish.  If you wanna be real sure, watch the noodle bob underwater or be drug around to verify the catch.

Also be sure to write you name and address on the noodles or in some states, like Oklahoma, you could get in deep trouble.  This type of noodling is a lot easier method of catching a catfish than the catfish-in-a-hole type of noodling, and doesn’t require all the yelling from the pain of being ravaged by a catfish.  But there is still plenty of yelling many times just because its so easy to grab a nice catfish with a pool noodle. Maybe we should call it Pooloodling or Poodling???

Cat Tales

Diver with giant catfish

You don’t have to hang around a bunch of anglers very long before one thing becomes perfectly clear: there’s about as much bull as there is beef whenever fishermen start swapping stories. That’s fine, of course, unless you decide to swallow some. Then you better be sure which is which.

If your fishing buddies start telling tales about big catfish, be especially careful what you swallow. Catfish have inspired more than their share of campfire stories, most of which are long on exaggeration and short on documentation. Separating catfish facts from homespun fiction isn’t all that simple, and a gullible novice, hearing the proliferation of tales about giant cats, might be led to believe that all catfish are big as Hereford steers.

You’ve probably heard this one, for instance. A scuba diver is exploring the depths of Lake Hookahawg. Seems this fellow went down in the water, and when he surfaced, he had to be helped to the bank. His face was white as a catfish belly, and he was nearly paralyzed from fright.

His companions pressed him for information about the source of his distress, and when he finally calmed down enough to recount his experience, he told of seeing catfish the size of porpoises lurking in the inky blackness below, waiting to devour some unsuspecting human. I’ve never met this diver myself, but I’ve spoken to scores of people related to him, and each and every one will vouch for his honesty.

Whoppers like this (the stories, not the fish) didn’t start with our generation. In the 1600s, American Indians warned explorers Marquette and Joliet of a fierce beast that lived in the depths of the Mississippi River, waiting to devour unsuspecting river travelers. Imagine the surprise these Frenchmen must have felt when hefty catfish collided with their boats. In his journal, Marquette wrote, “We met from time to time these monstrous fish, which struck so violently against our canoes that we took them to be large trees, which threatened to upset us.”

Old photo of 102-pounderMarquette didn’t hypothesize on those canoe-whacking cats’ size, but as no less a river authority himself, Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain, reported two centuries later, “I have seen a Mississippi catfish that was more than six feet long and weighed 250 pounds, and if Marquette’s fish was a fellow to that one, he had a fair right to think the river’s roaring demon had come.”

Twain no doubt had the same two-yard-long catfish in mind when he wrote his classic Huckleberry Finn, for in that book, Huck and his companion Jim caught a cat that would have rivaled the one that unsettled Marquette and Joliet’s canoe. As Huck told it, he and his buddy Jim baited a big hook “with a skinned rabbit and set it and (caught) a catfish that was as big as a man, being six foot, two inches long, and weighed over 200 pounds. We couldn’t handle him, of course… we just sat there and watched him rip and tear around till he drowned…”

Seems that even in Mark Twain’s day, folks appreciated a good cat tale.

Nineteenth century author Francis James Robinson spun one of the greatest catfish tales of all times when he wrote the story “Rance Bore-’em”. Bore’em was a braggart extraordinaire who would talk for hours, “awake, asleep, and maybe in a trance.” He was the hero of each and every tale he told, including this little ditty which ole Rance claimed was “fact, every word of it.”

“Were you speaking of fishing, sir? Well, gentlemen, I had some experience in the ‘art of hooking’ when I was in Texas, which I must tell you. Expecting to find large fish in the waters of the great state of Texas, as I passed through New Orleans, I had made to order some extra large hooks and a supply of lines, such as vessels use for anchoring! The place at which I stopped was near a large river, and the sport promised to be excellent; but it far exceeded my expectations, for we often had to send home for several yoke of oxen to pull out some of the fish we hung, and it was sometimes hard work at that!

“This is a fact, gentlemen, I could get twenty men to testify to–but this is nothing to one haul we made, which, if I hadn’t seen, no man on earth could have made me believe in a moment. We made up a party and prepared a large quantity of bait and provision for several days fishing. When we reached the banks of the river, we put in our hooks–those same big ones I had made in New Orleans–and I think there were ten of us fishing close together! All at once we had a bite, every hook was swallowed, and away we pulled, but couldn’t move whatever it was; so we carried our lines out and made them fast to a few small trees–I suppose none of them more than twenty feet in diameter–until we could get help. So we sent after and procured twenty yoke of oxen–hitched two yoke to each line, and with a long pull and a strong pull of men and oxen, up and out came one of the largest kind of Catfish–his mouth being at least ten feet across–out of him we made fifty barrels of oil, for which, in N. Orleans, we obtained thirty dollars each, thus making the pretty little sum of fifteen hundred dollars–a nice morning’s work, gentlemen. Ah! Texas is great–a glorious–a grand country to live in–everything grows in such plenty and profusion!”

Even the most trusting soul among us would feel justified in doubting the authenticity of these giant cat tales. But some of the true stories about catfish are equally amazing. Consider this one about brothers Bruce and Mackey Sayre of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Arkansas catfishIt was May 1982. For two nights straight, Bruce and Mackey had been snagging catfish in the waters below David D. Terry Dam on the Arkansas River just downstream from Little Rock. The river was high, ideal for catching cats, and the brothers had been successful, landing several over 50 pounds. But according to Mackey, those 50-pounders didn’t hold a candle to some of the cats that got away.

“We were fishing with big river rods,” he says. “And we snagged into some huge catfish we couldn’t handle, even both of us together. The 50-pounders didn’t pull anything like these fish did.”

So on the third night of fishing, the Sayre brothers set a snagline–in essence, a long, unbaited trotline rigged with 10/0 treble hooks instead of bait hooks. “The line is tight enough so if a fish swims into it and a hook penetrates the skin, if the fish pulls, it’ll get stuck,” says Mackey.

And on that dark night, that’s exactly what happened. When Bruce and Mackey returned from dinner, a pair of 2-1/2-gallon jugs used to float the line was submerged. A fish was hooked.

Upon reaching the line, they knew immediately they had a monster. It was too large to land in their 14-foot flatbottom, so they cut the line, came ashore and pulled the fish to the bank, hand-over-hand.

“When I first saw the fish, I knew it went over 100 pounds,” says Mackey. “My knees started shaking, and then my legs went clear out from under me. Bruce was even more excited.”

When weighed the next day, the 5-foot, 9-inch flathead pulled the scales to 139 pounds, 14 ounces. An all-tackle world-record, caught in Lake Lewisville, Texas the same year, weighed 91 pounds, 4 ounces. The current record weighed 123 pounds. Unfortunately, the Sayres’ flathead didn’t qualify as a record, because it wasn’t caught on a hand-held pole and line. It was one of the largest freshwater fish ever caught in North America, but it received little attention.

“We didn’t think a whole lot about it,” says Mackey, whose father was a commercial fisherman. “It was just a big fish to us. I’ve seen 200-pound alligator gars when I was little, and they didn’t mean anything.”

When I ask Mackey if he and Bruce realize they caught the largest flathead catfish recorded in modern times, he says, rather matter-of-factly, they did not. “Our flathead wasn’t as big as one my daddy and grandfather caught on a trotline,” he tells me. “They weren’t exactly sure how big it was, but they figured it weighed 160 or 175 pounds. I heard stories of that fish long before mine was caught. And I know another commercial fisherman who caught two bigger than ours. One was over six feet, but it was in poor shape, so he turned it loose.”

The Mark Twain stories don’t sound quite so “stretched” now, do they?

Mackey thinks someday someone will catch a flathead bigger than his and Bruce’s 139-pounder.

“And how do you think it will be done?” I ask.

“With scuba gear and a harpoon gun,” he replies.

Which reminds me: Did I tell you the one about the scuba diver in Lake Hookahawg?

…by Keith “Catfish” Sutton

What You Should Know About Catfishing Poles

Catfish poles

You’ve invited ten friends over to your house for couple of beers. And the one thing you can be sure of is this – no matter the topic; football, cars, beer or fishing, you’re going to have ten different opinions about it.

And because you’re planning a catfishing trip – it’ll be all about fishing this time – the best place to find the biggest catfish, what bait to use – and most important of all, what fishing gear to take. Everyone has his own story (or stories) about the monster cat he caught up at the lake and how he landed it using the only kind of rod an expert angler would consider using – his.

Let’s take a look at the different types of rods recommended for catching big catfish. As a long-time catfish angler, you already know that it’s how you use the rod you have, rather than the rod itself. For the smaller catfish, you don’t need anything fancier than the gear you already have. But for the bigger beasts, you need a good, sturdy pole.

Most experienced catfish anglers would agree that the Ugly Stik, introduced in the early 80′s is the most popular. It’s available in a wide variety of models and is one of the most durable on the market; in fact one angler decided to see just how tough it was. He took the Ugly Stik and six other kinds of fishing poles and went catfishing. The Ugly Stik was the only one to survive the beating he gave it, taking 55 pounds of stress.

Why is it called the Ugly Stik? Because it is.

It has a graphite core, wrapped in fiberglass, making it extremely strong without losing flexibility. More experienced cathunters might want some extra sensitivity, but this pole is great for the more casual angler. You can get your Ugly Stik for under $50 and they’re available in different lengths. Most of them are also multi-functional for “catch and release.”

Consider a spinning pole – these are generally five to eight feet long and come with spinning reels for light or heavy use. Very popular for heavier spinning use such as that big catfish you’re after and its long length is perfect for drift fishing. There’s an Ugly Stik spinning rod that’s nine feet long and has a quick-taper “clear tip” design, foam grips, a graphite twistlock reel seat with rubber cushion inserts. These poles can be used for casting, trolling, drift-fishing and tranquil fishing – but be aware of the various added features which can make it an expensive piece of kit.

A casting pole is a great alternative – it has a longer handle and is easier to manage when you’re fighting your monster catfish because the smaller grips on other rods are inclined to get away from you during a fish-fight. Your casting rod generally has two types of reels; baitcast and spincast. You use the baitcast when you place heavier baits and need to achieve super-precise casting across long distances. But the spincast is easier to use and is a better choice for those just starting out. There’s a reel seat in the rod’s handle which keep those reels conveniently on top.

But hey, fellow angler – if, like me, you’re going out to hunt those big, bewhiskered, trophy-sized blue beasts, then you need to take a long, close look at the Quantum Big Cat rods. The rod action is faster than before, meaning that the tips are softer for those tip-sensitive cats like flatheads. These Big Cat rods still have the same super strong backbone and you’re more likely to haul that monster cat into your boat because that’s just what they’re built for. It’s got those big graphite reel seats and nicely cushioned stainless steel hoods as well as the double-footed guides with aluminum oxide inserts. It’s perfect for cat-hunting in strong currents and comes in three strengths – heavy, medium heavy and medium – depends on where you’re planning to go for your catfish date. But as we agreed earlier, the length of the pole is the important feature when you’re casting across long distances.

Whatever your plans, remember this; fishing is like romance – the next best thing to doing it, is talking about it.

by Wade McBride

Enjoy Your Fishing Experience

catfish

Fishing gives you an enjoyable experience, especially if you follow a few catfishing tips to catch good catfish of your own choice. You’ll find catfish is a popular catch for most anglers, especially because they make tasty meals. For an enjoyable fishing trip, you should keep a few cafishing tips in mind, including the times to catch catfish, how to bait a hole for catfish, and the way to rig for catfish.

Cat fishing tends to be more successful during the nighttime, without the moonlit sky. While these fish are caught successfully during the day by many anglers, others swear by fishing at night. You will also find that rainy, overcast days are great for cat fishing as well. After a rainfall, catfish tend to come out biting as well, because the drifting water in creeks and riverbeds can bring larger catfish out to scavenge.

Bait plays an important role in catching catfish. The most commonly used catfish bait includes crawfish, shrimp, perch, chicken livers, shad, worms, beef livers, stinky prepared baits, chicken hearts, grasshoppers, hot dogs, beef heart, salt pork and even ivory soap. The key is smell. Catfish have a great sense of smell, and tend to go after smelly bait. Baiting a hole is a good way to catch catfish. To do this, you need some soaked grain and oats or horse and mule feces can also be used for baiting a hole. Grain needs to be soaked in water for a few days, until it turns sour. You will need to fill a coffee can with the soaked grain, which will attract catfish.

It is simple to rig for catfish and once you know how, you can easily do it to help catch even more fish. The methods of rigging differ depending on the water you are fishing in. Very calm water, for example, means you should tie a hook and half-ounce ball sinker at the end of the line, which will keep the bait moving with the slight action of the water. If you are fishing in rough, rapid water or drift fishing then you need to tie a barrel swivel on the line after sliding an egg sinker on as well. The bait will be moved along with the current of the waves dragging along with the bounces of swift water. You should use a hook that corresponds to the size of catfish that you want to catch—a bigger hook for a bigger cat.

Catfishing Tips and Secrets Exposed

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When it comes to fishing, one class of fish that is widely known is the catfish. Catfishing has grown to become much loved in various parts of the globe. So you should not be baffled to understand that many have taken interest in it. Catfishing tips ensure that you maximize your chances of success whenever you are fishing. With knowing these tips you conserve time and energy, and you also get to come home with something you enjoy. Gathering the right information is important and once you get the correct catfishing tips that you seek, you migrate from being an amateur into a professional in no time.

One aspect of catfishing tips that you need to know and appreciate very much is the time of the day that you select to do your fishing. Although there is considerable liberty as to when you may decide to go for catfishing, some periods of time are clearly better than others, so why settle for less? To get the best results, you need to schedule your fishing at a time when the catfish will be feeding. This is because they move to the upper layers of the water in large numbers when they scour for food. Try fishing during night time to test your luck, especially one without the moon being too visible. The early hours of the morning are also a very good time period to fish.

Another of the catfishing tips that you need to consider is putting the environment into consideration when you go fishing. The depth of the water body is also an important factor. The availability of the catfish is also determined by the currents of the water. If the area is windy by nature, that is better because larger amounts of food are available and this tempts the catfish to come to the top and forage for food.

Your catfishing tips are not complete until you incorporate the kind of bait that is to be used. The type of bait is crucial to your success in catfishing. You need to know that the best bait for catfish are those that smell strongly and taste well (to the catfish). This is premised on the fact that catfish depend on the sense of smell. For such type of baits, the popular examples are worms, shad, chicken liver, prawns and other crustaceans. It is also not advisable that you make use of frozen bait, the fresh ones produce better results. Apart from the baits that have been mentioned earlier on, it is also very good if you can come up with baits that you prepare for yourself. If they work for you then stick to them.

For catfishing tips, the type of tackle that you employ is also quite important. With the wrong tackle, you will get disappointing results. The 2/0 eagle claw bait holder hooks are highly recommended for various reasons. By using them, they allow for better gripping of the fish and reduces the chances of their sliding off the hook, unlike as in some other kinds of hooks. These are features that are very important considering the fact that the catfish can be very aggressive and uncooperative.

Catfishing Tips Can Help You Enjoy Your Fishing Experience

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Fishing gives you an enjoyable experience, especially if you follow a few catfishing tips to catch good catfish of your own choice. You’ll find catfish is a popular catch for most anglers, especially because they make tasty meals. For an enjoyable fishing trip, you should keep a few catfishing tips in mind, including the times to catch catfish, how to bait a hole for catfish and the way to rig for catfish.

Catfishing tips: the catch

Catfishing tends to be more successful during the nighttime, without the moonlit sky. While these fish are caught successfully during the day by many anglers, others swear by fishing at night. You will also find that rainy, overcast days are great for catfishing as well. After a rainfall, catfish tend to come out biting as well, because the drifting water in creeks and riverbeds can bring larger catfish out to scavenge.

Catfishing tips: bait and baiting a hole

Bait play an important role in catching catfish. The most commonly used catfish bait includes crawfish, shrimps, perch, chicken livers, shad, worms, beef livers, stinky prepared baits, chicken hearts, grasshoppers, hot dogs, beef heart, salt pork and even ivory soap. The key is smell. Catfish have a great sense of smell, and tend to go after smelly bait. Baiting a hole is a good way to catch catfish. To do this, you need some soaked grain and oats or horse and mule feces can also be used for baiting a hole. Grain needs to be soaked in water for a few days, until it turns sour. You will need to fill a coffee can with the soaked grain, which will attract catfish.

Catfishing tips: rigging

It is simple to rig for catfish and once you know how, you can easily do it to help catch even more fish. The methods of rigging differ depending on the water you are fishing in. Very calm water, for example, means you should tie a hook and half-ounce ball sinker at the end of the line, which will keep the bait moving with the slight action of the water. If you are fishing in rough, rapid water or drift fishing then you need to tie a barrel swivel on the line after sliding an egg sinker on as well. The bait will be moved along with the current of the waves dragging along with the bounces of swift water. You should use a hook that corresponds to the size of catfish that you want to catch—a bigger hook for a bigger cat.

These are just a few catfishing rigs to help make your fishing experience enjoyable. Do you have a few catfishing tips of your own? Chime in with your own ‘secrets.’

Catfishing Tips and Tricks-3 Uncomplicated Ways To Success

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Everybody usually would like to catch the largest cats they possibly can, and in that respect will be a lot of different catfishing tips and tricks to help you be successful at this.

This article is going to look at 3 things you will have to do if you desire to catch a lot more catfish.

Make Certain You Have The Appropriate Catfishing Gear

The very first step to catch the largest catfish you can is to make sure you have the appropriate gear to catch that giant fish. Any kind of cat over 40 pounds will probably snap rods and destroy your fishing reels.

You want to purchase big fishing gear and at least a 6 ft or longer heavy action fishing rod. Get the best fishing reel you can afford, and spool it with up to 80lb. braid. This way you will not lose any huge catfish that you are fortunate enough to hook. Make use of this catfishing tip and trick to improve upon your currentprocedures, and don’t forget that patience is the primary key to catching fish.

Fish In The Proper Place

The 2nd step is to be sure you drop your sinker in any spot that there could be a obstruction in the lake or wherever you are fishing. If you have a group of logs in the lake, large rocks or anything else that is deterring the current, that is where the monster catfish will be.

Catfish feed where the lake isn’t moving very much and so this is precisely the place you will come across the large ones. Anywhere below a dam is a superb destination for catching drifting catfish. Be sure you allow your sinker drop to the bottom; you want the food to appear extremely appetizing to a lazy bottom drifting catfish. If you keep these 2 catfishing tips and tricks in mind you will be catching the monster cats in no time.

Fish At The Right Time Of The Day

Third, if it’s possible and if you want the very best outcome, make use of these catfishing tips and tricks at night. Catfish tend to move to shallower areas alongside banks to feed on fishes that are smaller than them.

The very best bait to use for night-fishing is night crawlers, catalpa worms, leeches, grasshoppers, and crayfish. Catfish commonly still prefer to dwell by obstructions, fishing near a current obstruction is always pretty important.

In the event that you utilize all of these catfishing tips and tricks you can be catching the sort of cats you’ve always hoped to. Never fail to keep in mind that that the most crucial thing to do is check out your lines and have patience, catching fish is a game of chance just as it is of luck.

My Best Catfishing Tips And Secrets

Channel Catfish

Here are some of My Best Catfishing Tips that you should keep in mind the next time you go drown some worms. With warmer weather just around the corner catfishing is in the forefront of most anglers minds. Follow these tips and tidbits and make your next catfishing trip an adventure.

Seasonal Catfishing Tips

Catfish move in to shallow banks to spawn during springtime and using minnows will bring a quick catch.

Catfish are very active during spring and early fall. This is the time when the waters are rising either from the winter snow melts or the autumn rains.

The reverse is also true.

Catfish are less active when the water levels are falling.

Catfish are much less active during the daytime and become very active and feed at night. Dusk is the Best time to drown some worms.

The Winter months should not be ignored. Just present your bait in a slower manner giving the sluggish yet hungry catfish time to respond.

Summer catfish seem to prefer the cool, oxygen rich fast moving streams.

At night the reason the catfish come into the shallows is to feed on the baitfish, normally they are bottom feeders.

Hot summer nights are a great time to go catfishing, the warmer waters of the day tend to make the catfish groggy and slow moving. They tend to do their hunting and feeding at night.

Catfish Habitat Tips

Catfish LOVE to lurk in holes in side banks, (Undercuts) or sink holeson the waters floor, in and around fallen trees, hollowed out stumps, or at the base of dams.

Know where a clam bed is? For catfish a clam bed is a great source of food. Fishing slightly down river from the clam beds should allow you to snag a catfish coming to chow down.

Areas around docks are good in lake or pond fishing. A lit dock at night is even better.

Light means insects,

insects mean baitfish,

baitfish means catfish.

When fishing at night be sure and be more quiet than usual. Remember you don’t have the daytime backgroud noises to cover up sounds.

Fishing in moving waters or those with a current requires the use of cut bait, you lower the bait upriver of the vicinity of the catfish and allow the movement of thwe waters to carry the scent of the bait to the catfish, drawing it out to feed.

Learn the habitats of the different catfish species such as Channel Catfish that enjoys a different habitat from the Blue Catfish.

Catfishing Bait Tips.

The Fresher, The Better, cut bait from fresh chicken livers to bloody scraps from a catfishes usual diet of baitfish such as, trout, bass, shad, perch, and minnows, to even the bloody entrails of another catfish.

When using liver or cut bait be sure to secure the bait to the hook in some way. Elastic thread, or a small section of panty hose wrapped around your bait and the hook will assure you of not having to continually replace the bait because it simply fell off in casting or was pulled off by the prey.

Remember, when your using cut bait that you need to give your bait at least 15 minutes to soak to allow the catfish to discover the scent and lock on to it before you relocate your bait.

Catfish like to feed on moss and algae that grow on and around structures that are man-made.

If using a Cheesy type bait in the summer heat you’ll need to add a little flour to thicken the consistency and therefore make it easier to keep on the hook.

Fishing in still waters like Lakes or Ponds requires a Live Bait that will wiggle around creating vibrations in the water that get the catfishes attention.

Catfishing Rig Tips.

When considering the weight of line to use, take into consideration the depth you are fishing. The deeper you fish the heavier the line you should to help protect frombreaking your line on snags on the bottom. Average choice is a 10lb. line.

When catfishing in rivers or streams you fishing pole length should be in the 6′-8′ range. For the lakes and ponds the shorter rods seem to do just fine.

Using a leader with a swivel allows the catfish to twist around which they tend to do once hooked. The twisting fish stands less of a chance of breaking off and saves your line.

Hook sizes of 1/0 and 2/0 are recommended, circle hooks have gained quite a following among anglers as they seem to set themselves.

In closing I want you to remember that… Fish show up at the same places and times every year and go after the same baits, year after year. They aren’t aware of the state, country, or body of water they reside in. Catfish behavior is the same everywhere.

Fishing Tips and Techniques for Catfish of the USA

catfish

Catfish are common in American waterways, fun to catch and delicious as table fare.

Channel catfish are the most abundant of the North American catfish species. They usually weigh 2-4 lbs, occasionally reaching weights of 40 pounds or more. Channel catfish are easily distinguished from other species, except blue catfish, by their deeply forked tail fin. They are olive-brown to slate-blue on the back and sides, with silvery-white on the belly. Channel cats can be caught using a variety of natural and prepared baits including crickets, nightcrawlers, minnows, shad, crawfish, frogs, sunfish, suckers and “stink baits”.

Blue catfish are the largest American catfish. They grow faster and live longer than channel catfish. Blue catfish grow to over 55 inches long and can weigh over than 100 pounds, living 20-25 years. Adult blue catfish have stout bodies with prominently humped back in front of the dorsal fin. They have deeply forked tails similar to channel catfish, but lack spots and have a large straight edged anal fin. The back and upper sides are blue to slate gray, and the lower sides and belly are white. Blue catfish are primarily large-river fish, occurring in main channels, tributaries, and impoundments of major river systems. When fishing for trophy catfish anglers use live baits including bluegill, perch, large shiners or other bait fish.

White catfish are another American species. White catfish are bluish-gray with white undersides, broad head, large mouth, stout build and moderately forked tail. Their white chin barbells distinguish it from other species of catfish. White catfish occasionally reach lengths up to 24 inches and weigh 6 pounds but a typical fish is around 12-14 inches. White catfish are found in fresh and brackish waterways of the Atlantic Coast from New York to Florida, including the Chesapeake Bay and its system of rivers, creeks and streams.

Several species of bullhead catfish live throughout North America, with 3 species being well known. They are similar in appearance, but easy to distinguish from non-bullhead species due to their squared tail and stocky build. Black bullhead have dark chin barbels and lack mottled markings on their sides. Brown bullhead have mottled sides and light margins on their fins. The common yellow bullhead are distinguished from other species of bullhead by their yellow or off-white chin barbels.

Depending on the region, bullheads may be referred by a variety of common names including bullhead catfish, bullheads, mud cats, pollywogs, pollies, river catfish, horn pout and others. Black, Brown and Yellow bullhead catfish prefer slow moving or still waterways but will tolerate a variety of habitats, including muddy water and low oxygen levels. They rely primarily on sense of smell to find food which consists of almost anything, alive or dead.

Bullhead catfish can be caught with the same techniques that are commonly used for other catfish. They are easily enticed with worms, hellgrammites, stink baits or cut baits fished on the bottom. they make excellent table fare and are a good choice for anglers that enjoy simple relaxing fishing for edible fish.

Large catfish are sometimes caught by “noodling”. Noodling is done by wading in water and inserting a hand down into holes under mud banks, rocks, or inside of hollow logs. Using bare hands as bait, the noodler wiggles their fingers in the hole in hopes that they find a large catfish. If the noodler is lucky, a monster catfish will strike and attempt to swallow their hand. The noodler then must pull the fish out onto land or onto a waiting boat without being pulled under water.

Catfish can be skinned and filleted, with the resulting flesh being white, mild tasting and suitable for a wide range of cooking methods. They are one of the most commonly discussed fish products online and plenty of cooking ideas are available by finding a seafood blog. The following recipe is for a classic meal of deep-fried beer-battered catfish.

Photo by Hank Shaw of simplyrecipes.com

Beer Battered Catfish

1 lb. catfish fillets
1/2 cup flour or seafood breader mix
1 egg (beaten)
1 bottle beer
1 small onion (minced)
1 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl blend flour, salt, and pepper or use seafood breader mix.

In a separate medium mixing bowl beat egg well, add beer and minced onions, mix well.

Cut the catfish into 2 inch cubes or strips.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or skillet.

Roll the catfish into the coating, then dip into the beer-egg mixture, then back into the flour mixture.

Place dipped catfish in heated oil, cooking until golden brown.