There is nothing quite so relaxing as drowning worms all day in sear of regular catfish for a taste fish fry. However, there comes a point in every catfish fisherman’s development when he feels the call to go after the big boys. Unlike most freshwater fish, catfish can reach simply gargantuan proportions that are often in excess of fifty pounds, and it is likely that any water way with a healthy population of catfish will have some of these monsters lurking nearby. While going after the big boys requires considerably more strategy and patience than leisurely fishing, the first time that you land a monster catfish is a moment that you will never forget.
Before diving into the strategy of catching a huge catfish, let’s start with making sure that you the right tools for the job. While any fisherman who is worth his salt should be able to tell what kinds of poles can handle a big catch, it is crucial that you put some thought into whether your reel is right for the job as well. At the same time, you want to make sure that you have the proper tackle in the field, including fresh fishing line that has a high enough test strength to handle the weight of a major fish. You definitely do not want to get one hooked only to lose it to the snap of a moldy fishing line.
The next stage of going after the big boys is making some informed decisions about bait, and some quick research will show that every catfish pro has their own opinions about the best bait. From casting out rank chicken livers to sticking your fingers down in the mud and wiggling them around until something bites, the variations on catfish bait are practically endless. However, nearly everybody agrees that the ideal bait for monster catfish needs to be as stinky as it is bloody. For fishermen who are planning on getting serious in their hunt for monster catfish, it is recommended that you look into making your own catfish dough, but be aware that the recipes for this homemade bait are not meant for anyone with a weak stomach.
The next step in any winning strategy to land a big catfish is the same as the cardinal rule for commercial development: location, location, location. The first thing to learning how to locate these fish is to understand that they change their stomping grounds to coincide with the changing seasons. At the same time, these bad boys are fiercely territorial and rarely move about once they settled in for particular season. Regardless of the time of the year, catfish stick to only about 10% of the given area of any body of water, and the most rewarding way to find these locations is through careful observation on your part.
Wherever catfish are located during the course of the year, big catfish have regular habits of behavior when it comes to feeding that a smart fisherman can exploit to help him land the cat fish of his dreams. Depending on the species of catfish that you are after, you will probably find that the majority of the action occurs at night, so that it is particularly helpful to find an access point that will let reach the water after dark. Of course, catfish are bottom feeders and generally scavengers, which is why it is so important to use very stinky bait when going after these fish at night.
No matter how much you know about the lives of catfish or how funky your catfish bait is, it will not amount to anything if you do not have patience to dig in your heels for the long hall. Much like hunting big game in the backcountry, fisherman hunting after the big ones have to learn to get used to going home empty handed. This is a major change in mindset from casual fishing where you are happy just to be reeling in whatever is biting, and it is not for everyone. However, nearly every fisherman that makes the switch to going after the monsters report a long stretch of unsuccessful outings before they finally started bringing in the big ones.
For those who are able to masker the knowledge and summon the patience to learn how go after the big ones, catfish fishing has rewards unlike any other form of fishing. Fishing for huge catfish is more akin to hunting than angling, and the feeling of finally bagging your elusive prey is indescribable. It may not be easy, but it is a great form of outdoor sporting for those who can make the cut.