Introduction to Catching a Catfish

Introduction to Catching a Catfish

Catfish are one of the most popular species of fish in the United States. Not only do they grow to enormous sizes, but they are great table fare and excellent fighters. But while catfish are a great species of fish to pursue, they can sometimes be a little tricky to catch!

Different Types of Catfish

The first thing to know when it comes to catching a catfish is what species you are after. In the United States, there are three main species:

Blue Catfish

Channel Catfish

Flathead Catfish

While many of these will show up in the same waters, they are all different and act differently as well. But each of them is great to catch and eat well too!

When to Fish for Catfish

Most anglers believe that you can only catch catfish at night. While it is true that most catfish are much more active at night, you can also be just as productive during the day. It all depends on where you are fishing and species of catfish that you are pursuing.

Catfishing at Night

Catfishing at night as plenty of advantages, such as:

  • Weather is cooler
  • Fish move to shallower water
  • Flatheads are much more active

Catfish are scent-based predators and can easily find their way around in the dark while searching for food.

Catfishing During the Day

During the day, catching catfish has a few different strategies and advantages than at night. If you fish during the day, keep in mind that:

  • Fish will be in deeper water
  • Channel catfish are the most active species in the daytime
  • Visibility is much better than at night 

If you are fishing during the day, always try and find the deepest water that you can. Catfish love to hang along the bottoms of whatever river, lake, or pond that they call home. Find the deep water, and you are sure to find catfish.

Best Baits to Use for Catfish

There are many different ideas as to what is the best bait to use for catfish. The truth is, there are plenty of different things that you can use to effectively catch these fish. The best bait will entirely depend on what species you are after as well. 

Best Flathead Baits:

  • Sunfish
  • Bluegill
  • Crayfish

Best Blue Catfish Baits:

  • Cut herring
  • Cut Shad
  • Live or Dead Bluegill

Best Channel Catfish Baits:

  • Stink baits
  • Worms
  • Hot dogs

The key to catching a catfish is to match the bait to the species that you are after. Flatheads are the most predatory species and prefer live bait. Blue catfish don’t mind dead or cut bait, but still prefer to eat smaller fish. Channel catfish are mostly scavengers and will feed on just about everything, and a simple worm or even a hot dog on the hook can get them to bite.


Catfish are a great species of fish to learn to catch, and after you start to learn how to effectively catch them, you can then start to enjoy the great eating that they also provide!