Big Catfish are unique creatures. They are big and lazy. They are super selective but extremely effective at feeding. You are dealing with a fish that has been alive for many years. When you target big catfish, you need to be on top of your game. In this article I will discuss 5 tips that will push your chances of catching a big catfish much higher.
Tip #1:Throw Big Bait
I’m not overly concerned about what bait it is or whether it is alive of dead. That all depends on the time of year. I am just concerned about having something big for the catfish to feed on. You want a chunk of meat that is gonna make that catfish’s mouth water. A 6 inch bait is a good sized portion to throw out there. Lucky when you are doing this, you will limit the number of little catfish that bite your line. Most people that want to catch big and truly big catfish don’t care to be bothered with those squeakers.
When using this big bait, make sure its fresh. These big girls are used to eating the best available food. Don’t think that they will take an old piece of bait over a fresh bait fish swimming by. You’ll lose that one most all the time. If you keep the bait fresh, you raise your chances of catching big catfish.
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Tip #2: Find the Best Structure with Cover
Large catfish want to be in the best places to feed. They want a structure that will hold a lot of bait fish and offer up plenty of cover that can be used at whatever depth they wish to hunt at. These types of structures are typically points or channels that go back into creeks. On these structures, you need to find the best available cover.
In this case you are looking for a large piece of cover. These big fish need large cover to hide under. We’re talking about big laydown trees, Grass mats, and stump fields. Have you ever noticed how the best fishing lakes are always grass lakes. That’s no coincidence. Grass can hold 10 times the bait per acre when compared to a bare bank. Wood doesn’t even come close.
Grass offers many places for bait fish to hide and more food for them to feed on. So make fishing around grass a future destination if you haven’t. Hydrilla seems to be one of the best since it grows so deep.
Check out these articles about some great tips of structures are covers.
Tip #3: Fish with Snail Like Patience
Big Catfish are very effective feeders. They can literally get hungry, move to their feeding area, and eat within a few minutes. They might get hungry 2-3 times a day but only be active for 20 minutes all day long. This means that you only have a small chance of catching this catfish. You must be willing to wait her out.
You can turn this into an advantage by only targeting an area when the fish are supposed to be most active. This means early and late. If you have read many of my posts, you know how much I talk about fishing during the best times. It just makes things easier.
You can expect to fish for this large girls for many hours before finding one. I’d love to pull a figure up for how often the average guy catches a big catfish and how long it took that person. I imagine that it will take a person nearly 50 hours of fishing before they catch a fish over 40 pounds.
All this means is that you need to have a lot of patience, and be prepared mentally to wait. Find something to do with the spare time. Get a hand held game, call someone, bring a friend who loves to fish, sun tan, or read a long book. Anything to pass the time.
Tip #4: Fish a Hole Multiple Times
Don’t fish a big fish hole just one time. You might not catch a thing one day and then three fishing trips later you catch a good one. Just like I talked about earlier, you might miss the timing for when the fish was feeding. Or maybe you didn’t throw your bait beside the cover that the catfish was using that day. The reasons are infinite but if you have a good fishing hole then you should stick with it.
Make a little checklist for what makes a big fish hole:
- Bait fish present
- Good Structure
- Good Cover
- No Small Catfish on good cover.
Did I throw you off with that last one. Yes small catfish can be a bad thing. Big catfish will run smaller fish off of good cover. They are territorial and want the best location to feed from. Imagine an NFL player telling you that he wants your seat at McDonalds. You can fuss and fight but he’ll get your seat one way or another. Just like a big catfish would do.
When no little catfish are present, your odds of catching a large one is amazingly higher.
Tip #5: Bring the Big tackle
Ok I feel kind of bad because this is pretty obvious but most people don’t come prepared. Trust me when I say that I didn’t. It took a big flathead catfish to make me think harder about what I was doing. You need a stout heavy action rod and a reel with a strong gear ratio, atleast 5.0:1. When it comes to line, 65 lb braided line is the way to go and a 7/0 hook is as low as I would go.
Let your big tackle help you, not hurt you. Don’t try to rush the fish in, but let it tire itself down. Those big catfish aren’t used to using a large amount of energy so they will tire out. When that happens, you can work that big girl in.
Just a quick note, there aren’t many of those big catfish. When you are letting her go, you should take the time to revive it. She will be too tired to swim that big body to get back to the proper depth or fight any current. So take your time reviving it and don’t keep it out of the water for too long. Those big fish aren’t common and take a long time to grow that big. Lets try to keep a few around for everyone else to catch.
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