Catfish are found in still bodies of water, such as creeks, lakes and ponds, as well as in slow-moving rivers. These bottom-feeders spend most of their time filtering bits of dead fish and plankton out of the detritus at the bottom of bodies of water. There are many different ways to catch catfish, depending on the bait and hook you're using, as well as the type of water you're fishing in.
There are many different ways to use bait to catch a catfish. Catfish like to eat bits of dead fish, so you can use their natural taste for this delicacy in your favor. Shrimp, crawdads and mackerel are all commonly cut into small pieces and then placed on a hook to catch catfish. These fish can all be purchased fresh or frozen at your local supermarket. Additional bait used to cat catfish includes freshwater clams and minnows. Most of these baits are cut into chunks large enough to sink to the bottom of the body of water when hooked.
There are many different hooks you can use when angling for catfish, and the size and type often depend on the temperature of the water and the size of the fish. Octopus hooks of varying sizes are most commonly used for catfish fishing, as well as nautilus, treble, shiner and Texas bend hooks. Larger hooks should be used in larger bodies of water, as this is where the bigger catfish will be. Since catfish are bottom-feeders, you will need to use a sinker to get the hook and bait to the bottom of the body of water.
Because catfish are bottom-feeders, you won't need to cast your line far in order to catch a good-sized fish. Most ponds, lakes and rivers have plenty of catfish available for the sport fishermen. When fishing in a pond or a lake, cast your line from 20 to 30 feet from the shoreline. Hungry catfish looking for smaller fish to eat along the shoreline will eagerly take your bait. The best way to catch catfish in rivers is to cast in river bends when the water level is normal, or at drop-offs in deep holes with the water level is high.
Once you've chosen your appropriate bait and hooks, there are many different ways to snag your first catfish. Some anglers chum the water with bits of bait to draw in a large number of catfish before casting in. Once a catfish has taken your bait, wait up to 10 seconds before sinking the hook, as they are slow-moving and don't tend to strike like other fish. When fishing from a boat, some anglers use a jug line, or a long fishing line with plastic jugs tied to it in order to keep the line tight.
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