Night Fshing for Bullhead Catfish

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Fishing during the night for Bullhead catfish can be a great fishing experience, especially in the Spring when the mosquitoes and black flies are sound asleep at the Doo Bugg Inn. There are dangers associated with night fishing for any species of fish, mainly related to boat mishaps and falling in the water from the shoreline. Care must be taken when walking along the shoreline, and using lights to shine on the water to “find the fish” is illegal in most States and Provinces. And, besides, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be the only fisherman out there that late at night.

Bullhead catfish are bottom dwelling junk feeders, meaning that they pretty much eat anything that is rotting or dying on the water source’s bottom. Whether fishing in a lake, river, stream or pond, the bullhead catfish can be caught with almost any lure or bait (live or dead), as long as it has a strong odor to it. Using store bought, or home made fish bait odors, and applying them to lures, like feathery jigs, will attract the bullhead catfish to your lures more quickly, and from further distances. But don’t expect a major fight to the death with these slow lunkers, as they usually just come on in with a weak reel.

In Canada, the French call catfish “barbot”, and they are a very tasty fish when marinated, spiced and cooked properly. However, the bullhead catfish is more of a junk-food eater than even his bottom-dwelling cousins are, and therefore the meat that is eaten from a bullhead catfish is not exactly the tastiest in the sea.

Bullhead catfish rely upon their sense of smell to find their food, so the time of day is only about the amount of light in the water, and on the shore. Fishing for catfish in general will be better at night if you are fishing streams, ponds, or other low-level water sources, as the bullheads will be closer to the shoreline at night.  Being closer to the shoreline makes for easier catching, as the baited hooks need only be cast 10 to 20 feet out, let to sink to the bottom, and slowly jigged and reeled in.  During the brighter daytime, bullheads are closer to the deeper parts of the water source, making them harder to locate and catch.

Almost any bait can be used, and the smellier the better when night fishing for bullhead catfish. Live baits will work best, especially when sprayed or soaked in fish attractant oils, or allowed to rot for a few days before using.  Smaller lures, representing crayfish, worms, grubs or anything else that may be naturally evident in the water source you are fishing will work with bullheads.  Soak some bait fish for a few days in a metal bucket for an extra attractive bait.

The trickiest part of night fishing for bullhead catfish can be not losing your footing and ending up in the water, or being fined for using your flashlight on the water to locate (read;  attract) the bullheads.  It may be harder to find the bullhead catfish at night, but if it is a renowned spot for the bottom-dwellers, then fishing near shore, or between islands, will usually be great spots for landing bullhead catfish.

Fish on!

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