How to Fish for Catfish in Ponds

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Catfish are one of the most commonly stocked fish in ponds and small bodies of water. And while not all ponds contain catfish, those that do often produce fish of 10 lbs. or more. Besides growing to a large size, catfish are hard-fighting and are fairly easy to catch on a variety of baits. They also provide good family fishing fun. Ponds that contain catfish typically also contain bluegills and largemouth bass, and these are also excellent gamefish.

Spool your reel with 10 lb. line until the reel is nearly full. Do not over-fill the reel, as this can lead to backlash, tangled line and other problems.

Tie the size 1/0 fish hook to the end of your line and attach two or three split-shot sinkers about 12 inches above the hook. The number of sinkers depends on depth; use more sinkers the deeper your pond is.

Bait your hook with a large lively night crawler. If you are using large worms, use the whole night crawler; if you are using smaller worms, you may put two or three on the hook. Other good baits include chicken livers, cut bait and cheese. Catfish hunt by smell, so "stinky" baits work well.

Cast your line into the deepest part of the pond. This is typically where catfish will be found. The bait will rest on the bottom. If you know the depth of the pond, you can use a bobber and set it so that your bait will float a 5 or 6 inches off bottom.

Prop your rod up against your rod rest. Rests can be bought at most tackle shops, but a forked stick driven into the ground works just as well.

Watch your line and wait. When your line starts moving off, this means a fish has taken the bait; set the hook with a swift overhead motion, then play the fish to shore. Needle-nose pliers may be needed to unhook catfish.


  • Try fishing for catfish at night. Cats are often more active at this time, and fishing by the light of a lantern or campfire can be fun.


About the Author

When Richard Corrigan isn't writing about the outdoors, he's probably outside experiencing them firsthand. Since starting out as a writer in 2009, he has written for USA Today, the National Parks Foundation and LIVESTRONG.com, among many others, and enjoys combining his love of writing with his passion for hiking, biking, camping and fishing.

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