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What is the best way to fish for catfish?

There are many things to consider when heading out to get yourself a catfish which are listed just below.

Location - With the ability to thrive in many water systems, from shallow, warm ponds to fast rivers, catfish can be found in muddy water areas, such as a tributary and its outflow during the day as well as deep structures, like river bends, the base of drop-offs, deep holes, and humps. You may also discover catfish lurking near cover such as near timber or deep weeds.

Night Fishing – If you are enthusiastic about landing a catfish, grabbing yourself a bivvy and your overnight gear is a worthy consideration. At night, Catfish use their heightened senses of smell and taste, thanks to their barbels or whiskers to help them locate food in the dark. Try weedy areas at night to set up and you may come across some prowling cats!


Catfish will take a variety of different baits, with lobworms, squid, farmed leeches (they are a protected species and may not be removed from the wild) all working well. Deadbaits such as Rudd, Roach and Lamprey, also provide an alternative option, those with high blood leakage are most effective. Catfish are also known to hoover up beds of halibut pellets and boilies, especially those with strong fish and meat flavours.

A top tip is to pop up whichever bait you are using, as doing so will bring it to the attention of catfish and improve catch rates.


Strong and balanced tackle is required to land big catfish, lots of angler use tackle that they would use for carp fishing, with great success. Generally, to get started fishing for catfish, you will need a rod with a test curve of 2.5-3.5 lbs, a reel loaded with 200m of 15 lb mainline (as a minimum), hook links that are abrasion resistant, single hooks which are large and strong, a size 2 or 4 heavy gauge hook will work well.

You can use a range of different rigs which involve poly and cork balls to ledger livebaits just under the surface, with rudd and roach being great options for this technique. However, these methods can lead to very violent takes, so make sure you stay by your rods at all times!


Plenty of modern anglers now advocate for the use of large pellets when going after catfish, and this is now the preferred method. A hook which is at least a size 2 paired with a couple of large 25+mm hair rigged pellets is a good way to go.

Start by identifying areas that catfish are likely to inhabit or patrol, areas that they tend to lurk in or areas where they will actively hunt are great places to fish. Catfish rely on their sense of smell for hunting, following scent trails from injured fish. Therefore, as long as your baits are well presented there is a good chance a hungry catfish will find it.


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