A Beginner’s Guide To Catching & Cleaning A Ton Of Catfish

A person holding a fish

Catfish are one of the easiest fish to catch, and one of the best tasting fish to eat.

You don’t need a flashy fishing boat or complicated techniques to catch catfish, and most of the ponds and rivers in your area are probably home to quite a few catfish that are the perfect size for eating.

If you’re capable of catching smaller fish on a simple hook, worm, and bobber set up then you have the skills you need to catch catfish as well.

With warm water temperatures in the summer, catfish can be slow to the bite and somewhat lethargic, but there are several relatively simple ways to ensure that maximize your chances of catching fish your next time out.

First and foremost, you’re going to want to bring a cooler with you to keep your catch cold and preserve that great taste.

Catfish generally hunt using their sense of smell and taste, so baits like chicken livers, hot dogs, live  minnows or chubs, cu up sunfish and bluegill, crawdads, frogs, big fat night crawlers or dead gizzard shad tend to get their attention.

Water columns in lakes form layers in the summer, with colder oxygen-deprived waters sinking to the bottom. That means you don’t fish in water deeper than 8 to 10 feet on most lakes. Use baits fished on the bottom or suspended above the bottom with a bobber and let current or breeze move the bait around.  Circle hooks are the best option for catching catfish.

Look for areas with underwater vegetation or structures like sunken logs, brush piles, or rocks, that’s where big cats hang out. If fishing in a stream or river, position your bait just upstream of brush piles so the scent of the bait is carried downstream into the structure to draw the catfish out. If fishing a lake, look for shallow water where baitfish congregate.

The video below outlines some of the basic gear and techniques you need to start catching catfish from the bank.

The anatomy of a catfish can make them somewhat difficult to clean, but don’t let that deter you from turning the catfish you catch into a delicious meal. Just make sure you have a really sharp fillet knife, as catfish are really tough.

Check out the basics of filleting a catfish below.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock