Catfish Fishing Tips

This page was put together to help fishermen educate themselves on catfish and catfish fishing. The information provided isn’t specific to novice or expert anglers, as both first-time and well experienced catfish fishermen will benefit from the information below. You’ll be able to start off by learning the basic, need to know information about catfish, along with some of the best catfish fishing tips available on the web. We also provide you with world catfish fishing records and further resources.


About Catfish (Siluriformes Order)

CatfishCatfish is a common name for a large group of ray-fined fish in the siluriformes order. Their common name comes from their prominent barbels that resemble the whiskers of a feline. They can be as large as 600 lbs (Mekong giant catfish) or as small as a parasite (candiru). Catfish can be found on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Catfish can be known by a wide variety of slang names like chuckleheads, mud cats and polliwogs. They have no scales and have a slimy, mucus-covered body. Their cat like whiskers make them easy to identify, but not all fish species called catfish actually have barbels.

Catfish FishingThe majority of catfish are bottom feeders and don’t possess any incisiform teeth. Instead they capture and eat their prey by suctioning or gulping them into their mouths. Their prominence in aquaculture is due to their popularity as a game fish and a food staple, especially in Asia. They are also a common invasive species in many countries around the world. While there has been no proven or documented case of a catfish killing a human, the catfish are still believed to be able to do so. Many species have fins with embedded stingers that can inflict pain when they are grabbed or handled the wrong way.

Catfish Fishing Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Are you looking for some tips for catching catfish? If so then this section is perfect for you. Read below to learn the best tips and techniques.

  • Cater to Their Sense of Smell – Catfish hunt with their whiskers that are loaded with sensors to detect smells. Most catfish bait is stinky and oily, but will bring in the monster catfish. We recommend using the Wild Cat Pre-Molded Bait— its strong smell makes it very effective.
  • Don’t Forget the Liver – One of the most popular types of bait for catfish is chicken liver. While you won’t catch monsters off this type of bait, it will bring in catfish from afar. Use a treble hook to prevent losing your chicken liver when you cast.
  • Use Circle Hooks – These circle hooks are difficult for catfish to shake off and if they strike it right you won’t even need to set the hook.
  • Use Fishing Rod Holders – When you’re fishing for catfish you’re fishing for a potentially large, powerful fish. Make use of a quality fishing rod holder to make sure your rod is properly secured. Nothing is worse than looking away for a second to then realize your rod has taken off into the water.
  • Fish Near Submerged Structures – Catfish, like many other fish, like to hang around and hunt by submerged structures. This can include sunken trees, branches and man-made fish cribs. Many fisherman will even submerge their own structures and come back weeks later to fish near them, just make sure it’s legal in your area and that the structure won’t pollute or poison the water.

Worldwide Records for Catfish Fishing

With all the different species of catfish out there it can be hard to keep up with the current fishing records. Below we put together the all-tackle world catfish fishing records for you to review and see what you need to do to break them. We get our data directly from the IGFA (International Game and Fish Association) and you can visit them in our additional resources section below to lookup all catfish records. Maybe one day we’ll see your name on our page.

Catfish World RecordW. Whaley caught a channel catfish (ictalurus punctatus) in the Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina, USA on July 7th 1964 that weighed 26.3 kg (58 lbs. 0 oz.)

Catfish World RecordKen Paulie caught a flathead catfish (pylodictis olivaris) in the Elk City Reservoir in Kansas, USA on May 19th, 1998 that weighed 55.79 (123 lbs. 0 oz.)


Additional Resources on Catfish Fishing

We hope that the tips and information on this page were successful at making you better at fishing for catfish. In case you’d like to continue your research you can use the below websites to learn more about catfish.