Catfish is a carnivorous freshwater fish that lives on the national background of lakes and slow-flowing streams, in cavities formed by water currents, around the branches and roots of submerged trees. Although it is accepted that it grows up to 1.50 m on average, publications exceeding 2 m have also been found. They live up to 80 years. While it is active when the water temperature is 14-18 degrees, its activation decreases when the temperature increases and decreases. There are no natural enemies in the habitat of an adult catfish. Except for humans. So do you want to know the details of fishing for catfish?
Fishing for catfish is a work that takes patience. We can describe catfish catch as hours of patience, a moment of excitement, and a huge reward. Chicken wings, leech, worm, soap, offal, dead fish, meat, etc. can be used as bait in catfish fishing. At least 1 thick line and large hooks are used. It is essential to use a sinker weight kit for the hook to drop to the bottom. The fishing line is left until the bottom is found, and the fishing line is left a little space for the first hit and must be tied to a solid place such as a tree or a solid stake that is hammered on the ground and a bell is added to the fishing line. Since the fish will be affected by the vibrations and noises of the predator on land, it is essential to go farther to the maximum distance that the ringing sound can be heard. When the bell is heard, the fishing rod is quickly gone and the fishing line is pulled.
Silent Monster of Streams and Lakes: Catfish
I will try to tell you what I know about catfish, one of the ruthless predators of our lakes and streams. As a characteristic feature, you can recognize the color close to dark brown, with its long tail fin and long whiskers that are not in the form of a fork, unlike other fish. While observing their environment in the water with their small eyes, they actually do not see very well. Rather, it approaches its prey by perceiving the vibrations around it with its mustache. Any moving object is prey for him.
While entering the winter, it preserves its energy by hiding itself in soft cavities and mud and enters a still period. It hunts so much that it won’t go hungry. It just isn’t as active as on hot days. There are even those who catch catfish by hand during these periods. The hunting instinct, which starts from childhood, becomes insatiable and it becomes a hunter who does not choose food as its age and size progress. Feeding on frogs and small fish in their juvenile times, as the catfish grows, it also includes waterfowl and other creatures in its menu.
In addition to being so aggressive, it does not have real divisive or incisors. Its teeth are curved inward and are numerous. Prey that gets into its mouth is constantly pushed in and has no chance of surviving. It hunts by swallowing its prey at once, and this is the biggest advantage of having a large mouth structure. Although their body looks bulky, they are very agile and incredibly agile thanks to their skeletal system. Thanks to its natural camouflage color for prey on the water, it approaches its prey from below and catches it in one move. So much so that it has even been seen to catch some birds.
When catfish go hunting, they are very hyperactive, so they choose areas where they can feed their stomach as soon as possible. When it chooses the frogs as the target, it can walk close to the reeds, while it can lie in wait for the small fish that flock in shallower waters when it is going to hunt for fish. Therefore, when choosing a place for hunting, calm areas should be chosen especially for streams where such places are located, and slightly shallow areas for lakes. Catfish do not have the habit of choosing food, but everything that moves is in its feed potential. However, as with every fish, there are smells, sounds, and images that attract him too.
You can also catch catfish, which are usually caught using the bottom fishing line, by using a float fishing line. However, since it will be difficult to estimate the size of the fish, you should prepare your fishing gear accordingly. As can be seen in documentaries or hunting channels, catfish can be caught at any time of the day, day or night. The important thing is to capture a quiet environment. You have to be very quiet when hunting catfish. Since catfish can hear even small vibrations thanks to the antennae located at the edges of its mouth, it is likely to move away from there.
Things to Watch Out for When Fishing for Catfish
Even lighting a fire in night hunts affects the hunt. Even if a fire is lit, we must definitely cover the side facing the water. Even when walking by the water, we should walk very quietly and without hitting our feet. In addition, we must fix our fishing line well to the ground, as the catfish will pull the fishing line strongly and hard when caught in the needle. There have been many catfish that took the fishing rod away. We must use needles and fishing line according to the fish. We have to leave the bar of our machine open a little, and when the fish is caught, we have to tire it and then pull heavily.
As I said at the beginning of our article, catfish is a voracious fish. Maybe it’s hard to believe, but you can hunt this fish even with a sponge caught in coagulated blood. But basically, you need to know the fish’s eating habits. If you are going to use bait fishing lines, your priority should be scented or bloody baits. For example; It can be hunted with baits such as Earth Leech, coarse worm, insects, chicken gizzard or liver, dead fish, live fish, or even mice. There are those who hunt catfish with a spoon, but I have never tried it. Small catfish may attack, but the big ones are more cautious about eating, so catfish hunting is one of those prey that requires patience. Below I have summarized the various information you need to know about catfish hunting:
- The bow has velvet teeth, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt you.
- Your fishing rod, line, and needle must be suitable and strong enough to catch catfish. Otherwise, you may feel disappointed and regretful if any of them are weak.
- A scoop can be used to remove smaller catfish from the water, but we must take the fish out of the water by holding the fish by the mouth, so we must wear gloves.
- Regardless of the size of the catfish, do not try to hold it by its body. Since the body of the fish is slippery and oily, it will be difficult to hold it anyway, and the catfish with a very strong tail can slap you with its tail.
- As per the law, please return fish under 90cm to the water.
- If the leech is to be attached to the needle, at least 2 should be attached. Attach the leeches to the needle right in the middle of their body so that they can play comfortably on both sides and attract the attention of the fish.
- Your chances of catching catfish will increase if you throw off pieces of offal such as fish pieces, blood liver, spleen into the water, and smell your location. Catfish are extremely sensitive to smell and react very quickly.
How to Fish for Catfish?
Catfish can be recognized by its characteristic dark brown color, long and unlike other fish, its tail fin that is not forked, and its long whiskers. While observing his surroundings in the water with his big eyes, he perceives the vibrations around him with his mustache and terrorizes the water with skillful hunter equipment.At winter times, you may witness local hunters catching catfish by hand. It is so voracious that it can attack anything that moves above and below water. The catfish species, named as catfish abroad and found in aquariums, is also a member of the same family.
Contrary to its bulky body structure, it is very fast in the water thanks to its skeletal structure. On the underwater hunt, thanks to the natural camouflage provided by the body color, it approaches from below and completes its attack in the blink of an eye. Its meat is very tasty and effortless. It is skinned and made ready to cook in pieces. The cleaning of a legally sized catfish is no different than that of a lamb. Since this fish is very hyperactive when hunting, it chooses areas where it can feed as soon as possible.
Catfish are clever enough to get their prey out of stone, so to speak, and they have no habit of choosing food. Since there will be plenty of fish populations to hunt in muddy areas and other food to be obtained from mud, it does not travel in stony areas except in compulsory cases. In creeks, it tries to hunt by fixing itself in the edge areas where the flow is still. I advise amateur fishermen to look at the event from a more sportive perspective, as a recommendation for the catfish fishing, which is caught by local hunters sometimes by hand and sometimes by hand fishing. Generally, you can catch catfish using bottom fishing rods. If you intend to hunt with fake baits, then your choice should be during the day.
Catching Catfish in Detail
Catfish are also very sensitive to sound. For this, you can attract the attention of the fish by hitting the water with a shovel or similar object around the fishing line you throw near the water (to get a full sound). Finally, when the bow takes the fishing rod away, it does this job a little harshly. So let the fish travel for a few seconds to prevent them from damaging your fishing line. Then, leash your line according to its strength and tire it by giving the way and wrapping it with the ability to stay. Regardless of the size, a combination of thick line and a brown large needle should be used for the bow. Whether you use a float fishing line or a bottom fishing line, be sure to prepare your fishing line with a sharp and solid fishing line. Since the mouth structure of the spring is hard, I recommend that you do not rely on the cheaply sold needles in the market.
In addition, if you do not trust yourself, try not to use a shackle-shaped fishing line and try to prepare single-needle fishing rods. For example, a bottom fishing line or float fishing line that you will prepare with a 4/0 brown short scimitar needle and 0.60 line is enough as a starting point for you. You can also prepare the float fishing line with this combination. But don’t be stingy with the float and try to use the largest (fist-sized) float possible. Your fishing rod should be 3-3.5 meters long and has proven itself in terms of durability, and your pasta should have a size proportional to your rod. In a place with more diversity such as insects and frogs, there is no such erroneous behavior as hunting using live or dead fish. Likewise, in the hunt to be made with fake fish, the appearance of fake fish must be compatible according to the environment and weather conditions.
Things to watch out for include:
- You cannot use a scoop to get the catfish out of the water. Therefore, keep gloves with you and remove the fish from the water with the help of gloves by holding the mouth.
- Please return the fish below 100cm to the water.
- Do not be stingy when using the bait. For example, at least 5 leeches must be attached from a needle in the leech.
- If you feed your location with fish pieces or fish organs, your chances of getting yield will increase. Catfish overreacts to smell.
Baits and Hunting Techniques to Be Used in Catfish Fishing
There are two kinds of catfish hunting: hunting made using natural bait and hunting using artificial bait. Catfish are generally nocturnal and hunt for night prey, so they search for their prey in the shallow parts of the waters at night, in the rivers, on the bottoms of trees, and in front of reeds. Hunting time is late at night and early in the morning. Since it is a carnivorous fish, its preferred foods are worms, leeches, crayfish, frogs, life fish, liver, spleen, tripe, water rats, and even waterfowl. In short, catfish is a voracious fish.
- Natural Feed Hunting
The bait used in this method of hunting are worms, leeches, frogs, live fish, and water rats. The types of fishing lines to be used are bottom fishing lines and float fishing lines. Only frogs and water rats are used for surface hunting.
Bottom Fishing Line
In this type of fishing line, the size of the fish should be taken into account, and the knotted rope fishing line, which we call thick line or dacron, should be used. Line thickness should be between 0.70 mm and 1.5 mm in general. But 0.70 mm and 1.5 mm fishing lines are mostly used in release fishing lines. If you are using a fishing line, the thickness of the line you will wrap in your machine should be 0.45 – 0.50 mm. The rods used are 100-200 gr. They should be between 3 meters and 4 meters, although their length varies according to the region where fishing takes place. The hand fishing line is very simple and a swivel should be used after the mainline, the swivel should be strong according to the size of the fish. It should be adjusted according to the size of the shackle and the number of shackles between the body and the sinker.
Generally, the number of shackles can be 2 or 3 depending on the state of the water in the region. The mole should be kept between 15-30 cm in length depending on the water condition in which the fish will be hunted. Because generally, the river and stream bottoms are tree roots and reeds, the length of the shackle should be kept short and even the bottom fishing line should be suspended according to the depth by using a long tree branch. Bottom fishing is generally applied in lakes and rivers with a clean bottom. Worm, leech, live or dead small fish, liver, spleen, and tripe should be used as bait. If frogs or water mice are used as bait, the bait should be left in contact with the water.
Float Fishing Line
In this type of fishing rod, a float is used to ensure that the feed is kept at a certain depth according to the area and depth of the fish. The float to be used should generally be in the form of an egg. However, since the depth adjustment can be made according to the depth of the water in the float system, the float must be of the floating type. After the mainline, the float should be attached and a swivel should be used between the mobile sinker shackle and the sinker to the extent that the float can lift.
As for hook, Mustad 2300 series long bar 5 – 9 fishing hooks should be used. The hook to be used in both fishing lines should be preferred considering the size of the fish. If worms are used as bait, approximately 4 – 5 – 6 worms should be attached according to the size of the needle.
- Artificial Bait Hunting
Artificial baits are silicone baits similar to fish, frogs, and mice that are manufactured in similar ways to natural baits. In addition, the artificial feed to be used should be selected according to the size of the fish, and a certain size of equipment should be used. Since the catfish lives in deep water, artificial baits and sinking baits should be preferred. Floating baits are those in the form of frogs and water mice. Floating baits are generally used for night-time fish. Because catfish seek night food in shallow water. Before using artificial baits used at night, a fragrance spray should be applied to the artificial food in order to attract the attention of the fish.
Thus, it is ensured that the artificial feed attracts the attention of the fish. Since the catfish is a bulky and slow fish, the artificial bait should be pulled slowly as far as possible. A fishing rod should be used in this type of hunting. The fishing rod is much easier and more comfortable to use than hand fishing lines. Another method of hunting catfish with artificial bait is hunting with a spoon. The spoons used in this type of hunting are spoons weighing 50-80 gr. But the spoon should be attached to the fishing rod with a silicone worm and the spoon should resemble a kind of squid. In this way, much better results can be obtained.
We cannot use all kinds of ingredients for this freshwater giant. If we want to be successful and mince the fish without breaking the tackle, we have to use the strongest material. Especially for the body, it is beneficial to use a line with high tensile strength as possible and to renew this 1m piece and other knots after each hunt. Whether tackle on reel rod or hand fishing rod; the fishing line consists of a large and sturdy swivel followed by a body 1 m tall with a needle at the end. This fishing line can be suspended with a plastic bottle in some connected or unsuitable bottoms (mud, excessive algae, etc.).
- Plate mussels
They are usually found attached to a stable surface, they are brittle, externally homologous, and mother-of-pearl on the inside. It is beneficial for the mussels to be used as bait to be as large as possible. It is also beneficial to feed the environment with 3-5 medium plate mussels. Plate mussels should be used fresh. Plate mussels that can be used as stock can survive in chlorine-free freshwater (lake or well water) for 2-3 weeks provided that the water does not get too hot. Mussels collected in one month can be used in this way in the following weeks. Plate mussels are cut open with a knife inserted between the two shells and the muscle in the middle is cut open and the meat is separated from the shell by peeling the inner edges of the shells.
- Slug and Blood leech
Slugs are alive that roam the gardens leaving a silvery trail. It is found in abundance in garden areas. It can also be collected at night with a hand lamp. It can be stored in a can or jar with some soil and green herbs. The jar or the can must have openings for ventilation. The slug is applied live to the needle. In the blood slug, the leech must be naturally in the water where the bow to be hunted. The water leeches are smeared with a stick with the help of a stick, and the swimming leeches are held by a small aquarium bucket or by hand. Blood leech is also used alive, it is an acceptable bait because it dies late. Since the fish targeted to be caught in catfish hunting is very large, it is useful to always have a sturdy gaff with you. Cleaning the inside of the hunted catfishes increases the quality of the meat.
Fishing for Catfish with Silicone Bait
In the following paragraphs, I would like to tell you as an amateur angler, one of the rarest and most valuable freshwater fishing species, catfish, and fishing with fake (non-organic) baits. This lovely beast has many subspecies. There are many urban legends about its size, diet, and hunting habits (such as a diver entering the lake frightened by seeing a giant catfish and warning those around him not to enter that lake). In fact, not much is known about them. Maybe this obscurity makes the hunting of this fish more attractive and valuable.
In fact, we should not dismiss what is described, because it is Europe’s second-largest freshwater fish after sturgeon, with a length of up to 3 meters and a weight that can exceed 100 kg. It waits immobile while sunbathing in the underwater living area or on the shore, it is not easily noticed and knows very well to hide because its color is in harmony with the region. Catfish are timid and immediately disappear when noticed by humans. These characteristic behaviors of the fish change completely when they start hunting, they are extremely fast, greedy, and aggressive while hunting.
It hunts by silently approaching its prey or by attacking the prey that is approaching it without realizing it. The moment of attack happens extremely quickly and the prey it catches has little chance of escaping. It swallows its prey as a whole, and hundreds of stingy sharp teeth in its lower and upper jaws make it easy. If you are going to hunt this fish, please keep your hand away from its mouth because it can really hurt you. It hunts virtually anything that moves in the water and can swallow, including puppies, waterfowl, rodents, all aquatic creatures, even shiny tin boxes. The largest spring in its area is the top predator of that water basin, and when it gets the chance, it also hunts small creatures on the waterfront.
Adult catfish often prefer nutrient-rich water basins where they can find frogs and other freshwater fish, and from my own experience, they can live wherever and deeply they can find them. You can catch it even in a shallow area of 0.5-1 m that you never expected, but in deep rocky areas where the animal can hide and in deep, low-current places with tree roots, your chances increase and you will catch bigger prey. It also prefers basins where mosquito larvae are abundant, adult catfish are not after these larvae, other small fish and frogs that feed on these larvae suddenly become prey of catfish. If frog sounds suddenly increased in the watershed where you were fishing and there was some movement in the water, most likely catfish are at work.
As far as I know, I talked about the regions where fish can be found, let’s come to our preliminary preparation and fishing line selection for throw-pull fishing. Catfish is a large and strong fish in size, so at least 15-20 kg pulled fishing line should be used. Instead of connecting the artificial bait you will use to the line directly, use steel wire because the fish can break the line with its teeth like sawing.
The fishing rod and the fishing pole that we will use must also be very strong. I recommend using filler fishing rods and machines with strong action. Your chances increase even more if the artificial bait you will use, be it Rapala or silicone fish, etc., is similar to the creatures that the fish hunt in the area where the fish live. We hunted with white, orange, and transparent spotted silicone fish, the size of the baits varied between 5-10 cm, but I made my best catch with brown-spotted silicone fish, which were more like the fish in the region.
Best Fishing Rods for Catfish Hunting That You Can Buy Online
- Richcat Fishing Rod and Reel Combo，Medium Heavy Poles and Reels Telescopic Rod Kits for Adults， 22lb Line Pre-spooled with Spining Reel for Saltwater Freshwater Catfish Bass Fishing
- KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Perfect Conventional Reel for Catfish, Salmon/Steelhead, Striper Bass and Inshore Saltwater Fishing – No.1 Highest Rated Conventional Reel, Reinforced Metal Body
- Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod – 24 Ton Carbon Fiber Ultralight Fishing Pole with CNC Reel Seat, Portable Retractable Handle, Stainless Steel Guides for Bass Salmon Trout Fishing
- Yoshikawa Baitfeeder Spinning Reel Saltwater Freshwater Fishing 5.5:1 11 High Power Stainless Ball Bearings 30Lb Drag Right Left Hand Reversible Front Rear Drag Live Liner 3000-6000
- KastKing Crixus Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Baitcasting Combo, IM6 Graphite Blank Rods,SuperPolymer Handle