Summer, Catfish, And You: Tips For Catching Catfish All Summer Long

Posted on: 13 June 2016

In the summer, heat and spawning patterns can make it difficult to catch some types of fish. Catfish, however, are a good target for anglers pretty much all summer long. Morning or night, catfish are one of the most consistent and popular types of fish to catch when the air temperature gets hot.

However, if you're not familiar with fishing for catfish, you're going to need to keep a few things in mind. You're also going to need some specific gear in order to maximize your ability to land a great fish. The good news is that these concepts are not difficult to understand, and the gear that you'll need is not very expensive.

Types of Catfish

One of the most important things to consider when setting up to catch catfish is the type of catfish you want to target. The three common types of catfish that anglers often target are:

  • Channel catfish
  • Flathead catfish 
  • Blue catfish

Channel catfish can grow as large as 50 pounds or more and are found in most freshwater habitats. The keys for finding channel catfish are an adequate food supply and clean, sandy river and lake bottoms. They tend to stay away from strong currents, so you should look for warm, quiet areas when fishing for them.

Flathead catfish prefer deep, large bodies of water. They also prefer water with a firm bed, and tend to congregate in deeper pools and depressions where the water flow is slow. They, like the channel catfish, are predominantly bottom feeders.

Blue catfish are the largest freshwater fish in North America. They typically range from 20-40 pounds, but can easily exceed 100 pounds at their largest. You are most likely to find them in large bodies of water with swift currents

Catfish Rigs

Once you've determined what type of catfish you're most likely to find in your area, it's time to put your rig together. The first thing to consider is your fishing rod. Since catfish are large, muscular fish, you're going to have quite a fight on your hands when one strikes. Make sure that your rod is up to the task of withstanding the pressure applied by a fish weighing 20 pounds or more.

Your line is also a major consideration. It's not very difficult for a 50 pound catfish to snap a light fishing line. Remember, you're fishing for fish that are quite large when you go after catfish. Make sure that your line is at least 10 pound test.

Your hook is the final consideration you should make when checking your gear. Most catfish anglers prefer circle hooks--they will tend to hook a catfish in the corner of the mouth as they swallow the bait, making it more likely that they'll stay hooked for the entire fight. You won't need to set these hooks like you would with a typical j-shaped hook. Instead, simply let the catfish take the hook and it will set itself.

Proper Catfish Bait

Catfish are opportunistic eaters that will take advantage of many different meals. In fact, it's not uncommon for fishermen to have success using raw bacon or hot dogs as their bait of choice! That's because fragrant, greasy bait tends to do well with catfish in general.

The important thing to remember when choosing your bait is that catfish are primarily bottom feeders. That means insects, shellfish, and other items commonly found on lake and river bottoms are always a good choice. However, catfish are not exclusively bottom feeders--contrary to popular myth. Feel free to experiment and find what types of bait work well in your specific location. For more advice on choosing the right bait, check out websites like

Catfish are a strong, entertaining catch for fishermen that can provide entertainment all summer long. From record-breaking lunkers to pan-sized dinner catches, you'll have a very rewarding summer fishing season once you learn to target these fish.