As Fall time comes around the waters cool and the bite picks back up after the heat of summer. With summer being one of the most common and often times most effective time to catch lots of catfish. But the fall is also an amazing time to go fishing for these freshwater giants. It can also be a opportune time to catch a personal record cat. With winter getting closer and closer everyday, the water temps are starting to drop. Catfish like most other fish often gorge themselves right before the freeze of winter.
The catfish itself is a very warm watered fish. Usually preferring water with the temperatures in the range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They are a opportunistic omnivores - feeding on all kinds of baits, and a wide variety of animal and plant materials. Often times you will find them on or next to the bottom of the lake. They are predominately a bottom dwelling fish, but they will still feed and take baits near the surface. They have numerous taste buds all over their body, the most being on the whiskers of the catfish. Its almost like a giant tongue swimming through the water, that is why we often try to get the smelly stuff to fish with. Often times the more it smells the better it works.
We offer a wide variety of different dip baits here at our store. The dip bait hooks themselves have a treble hook and a rubber plastic on it that hold the dip and its smell while its in the water, and it gives the fish something to put into its mouth and eat. Dip baits work great, they almost work like a chum bait drawing the catfish into you. Working more effectively in ponds or lakes. Another easy yet very effective way to catch catfish is to use shrimp. They are similar in smell to crawdads as they are both crustaceans. The Shrimp will hold on the hook well and they do a good job at holding smells and scents that i can spray on, anywhere from garlic or a blood spray or dip. Probably the best all around hook to be using on a cat fishing rig would be the circle hook, which is a hook that when is pulled on works its way into the corner of the fishes mouth and insures the same strong hook set every time. Its a strong hook that sets its self by the fisherman just reeling the line and keeping tight pressure on the fish. NOT a quick jerk like most other common J-Hook type hooks. The circle hooks come in a variety of sizes and make sure the ones you have for cat fishing, have the bait keepers on the shank of the circle hook. Having them will help out a-lot for keeping the bait on the hook at all times. No matter if you are in a boat or on the shore cat fishing a simple slip rig is probably the most effective way to catch them. It allows the catfish not to feel any pressure on the line and give him any reason to drop the bait. The slip rigs looks like this. I often find myself using this rig near 70% of the time when i catfish. It works very well with the circle hooks. You can find all the weights and terminal tackle on our Basspro website. The different things that you will need will be leader line, swivels, glass bead(to protect your knots from your weight), and of course hooks you don't have to only use circle hooks on these rigs they would work great with the standard J-Hook.
When it comes to the right gear, as in the rod and reel. Personally i prefer to use a bait-caster reel it is must easier to cast those larger weights with some precision. One of the best ones on the market are going to be the Abu-Garcia Ambassadeur C4, then pair with a medium heavy to heavy action rod. You want something that is going to be a bit longer, to help you out in handling and directing those bigger fish and help you get farther casts. If you are not looking to spend that much money on a quality fishing reel, We always have our different combos that are specially designed for cat fishing, which would work well and get the job done. You can look at a few of the ones that we carry a very popular one would our Bill Dance line of combos. They have larger reels and rods to handle bigger line and ultimately bigger fish. Lastly would be the line, most popular would be the braided line you can get 80lb braid that had the same thickness as 20lb mono. So you can get a line that is 4 times as strong and a fourth the thickness than a similar mono line. Braid works great for your mainline. The line Is amazingly strong and is almost impossible to break. The best leader material to use would 100% fluorocarbon line, for the fact it has great abrasion resistance. Often times you will find yourself fishing around rocks, trees, brush you name it. It can all rub and wear down mono and braided lines to the point were they get weak and break. There is more information on different types of fishing lines and there properties on this link right here Choosing the Right Fishing Line.