Consider this the 101 for catfishing because it will give you a brief description of the entire scope of what catfishing is all about, from catfish bait to Flathead catfish. For more details, you will have to delve deeper into the art and sport of catfishing, maybe by talking to the experienced anglers when you go out each time.
There are 5 words you have to memorize right now if you’re serious about catfishing: species, gear, bait, technique, and location. Once you forget one of these words before going out on the water, you’re doomed. Seriously, you won’t be able to maximize your time, and that would be a shame.
For example, you can’t go catfishing for Blue catfish in locations like Minnesota because they’re very rare to non-existent in those waters. You’re better off fishing for Flathead or Channel catfish in the Minnesota State. Also, part of your success will depend on what kind of catfish bait you use, whether you use a stink or live bait. There are other kinds of bait, even homegrown bait with your own special recipe, or regular garden worms.
It would be a good idea to focus on the species that are common to the waters near you. It doesn’t make much sense to look for fish that aren’t there. Be a smart beginner angler by doing your homework. It’s those first few nibbles and catches that really will get you going and wanting more.
Here are some other basic concepts on catfishing:
One, since there are different catfish species, know that there is not one single fishing technique or bait that will work with all species. Channel catfish are known to be avid scavengers, which means the bait does not have to be live, just smelly. On the other hand the Flathead catfish prefer live bait, so be ready to handle squirming, live bait.
Two, you should have the right fishing gear. It’s preferable to purchase specialized gear, but since you’re just starting out, adequate would be fine. Your fishing rod does not have to come from the pile of expensive rods. It’s more important to get a fishing rod that is flexible as compared with something that’s hard to use because it’s stiff. The average size of some catfish species can be as heavy as 20 to 30 pounds, and your rod will need to be as pliable as possible when reeling them in.
You will have two choices of reels to select from. You can either get the casting or spinning reel. The spinning reel will emit this clicking sound when a fish grabs onto your bait, so you know when you’ve got lucky. It does have a backlash that could get nasty if you’re not careful. The casting reel will give you more control, and even better clicking sounds.
In the same manner, you need to choose between 2 kinds of hooks: J-Hooks or Circle Hooks. Since you’ll be handling the hook and setting it up, it should be a personal preference, so try both types. However, the J-Hook is usually a beginner’s hook.
As far as where to go catfishing, if you feel adventurous enough to venture out of your nearby waters, you could try any body of water where there is a good current because catfish don’t really enjoy going after their bait. They would rather have it come to them. You could try dams, current streams and water holes.
Going catfishing can be the most rewarding recreational activity you could ever have. It’s an ageless sport for anyone from 10 to 90. Whether you catch a 50 lb catfish or not is not always the point, it’s the satisfaction of knowing you did your best, and you’ve got tons of opportunities to improve. Enjoy!