How to Catch Catfish: Guide for Beginners


Catfish fishing is so much fun if you know how to go about it. This type of fish is somewhat difficult to catch because they fight hard and they are willing biters. However, if you think about the great taste and how many you could catch in a single day, you would discover that it is worth it.

Have you always wanted to know how to catch catfish, and it’s been quite difficult getting the hang of it? Here is a guide for beginners on how to catch this type of fish without stress.

Where Will You Find Catfish?

You don’t just walk to any water area and start hoping to find catfish swimming about; there are selected places where you will find them. Catfish can be found in different water systems, like shallow and warm ponds, fast rivers, tributaries, river bends, deep holes, humps, drop-offs bases, and any other muddy water or deep area.

The location where you’ll find catfish often depends on fish species and the fishing time, i.e., day or night.

When Will You Find Catfish?

During the Day

Catfish can be found in muddy water areas and deep structures during the daytime. Cover like deep weed edges and standing timber aren’t also left out in the places where they can be found.

At Night

Weedy areas, Shorelines, Flats, Bars, and Points are some of the best places to catch catfish at night. Nighttime is the perfect fishing time because catfish go out to look for food with their barbels improving their senses of smell and taste.

What are the Species of Catfish?

Generally, there are three significant species of catfish in the USA – Channel, Blue, and Flat Head; however, there are reports that there are over 3000 known species of catfish in the world.

Each of these species has its designated habitat; thus, you may not find the three of them co-existing in a body of water near you.

Also, the interesting thing is: catfish are plentiful and large. They can live up to 60 years and grow up to 600 lbs. in size. A large catfish is called “Giant Catfish.”

Channel Catfish

The most popular species of catfish found in many water areas is the Channel Catfish. This type of fish has a good sense of smell and taste; hence, it mostly feeds at night. Plant materials, fish, crawdads, and clams are sources of food. It grows up to 12 to 24 inches in length.

A Channel Catfish tastes great, making it quite the preferred choice.

Blue Catfish

Another type of Catfish not-so-difficult to identify is the Blue Catfish due to its color. It also has no scales; hence, it is also identified with its smooth skin. This type of fish is large and lengthy (40 lbs. and 40 inches long).

A Blue Catfish is only good for sport.

Flat Head Catfish

The largest size of catfish known belongs to the Flat Head Catfish species. This type of catfish is mostly found in muddy, murky areas – hence, the name “Mud Cats.” They are also found in slow-moving rivers and embankments.

Flat Head Catfish have flat heads and a yellow-colored body, making them easy to identify. Unfortunately, they are difficult to catch because they are loaners and large (up to 123 lbs.).

What Do You Need to Catch Catfish At Night or During the Day?

An angler who wants to catch plenty of catfish knows to go fishing at night. However, it doesn’t matter what time you go; as long as you have your gear, there will be something to catch.

Catfish fishing doesn’t require many tools. However, the density of your gear depends on the type of fish you are hoping to catch, i.e., small, average-sized, or massive.

If you are catching catfish of massive sizes, you will need the following:

Rod and Reel Setup

A fishing rod and reel are two important things you need for fishing. The only thing is: the sizes vary depending on the type of fish you are set out to catch. In your choice of rod, you should make do of something strong and with maximum resistance to abrasion and corrosion. The combination of a strong rod and a good reel (with aluminum spool) can get even a large-sized catfish out of a water area.

See here on how to change a fishing reel from right to left-handed.

Fishing Line

Another significant equipment you will need for fishing is a line. The modernly braided fishing line is quite effective because it allows free pulling – almost like a freight train.


If you would like to try another catfish-catching method, baits are effective. As long as there is food attached to the baits, catfish will be attracted to them. They eat almost anything they come in contact with.

Rig Setup

A rig with a strong, durable hook is a great choice of equipment to catch catfish.

Fishing Pliers

Having a plier in your gear is consequential because it is what is used to remove the hook from a catfish. It helps you keep your hands away from the barbels.

Fishing Nets

Even though fishing nets and lip-grips is a bit extra, they are still useful in catching catfish.

How to Catch Catfish: Step-by-Step Guide

There are different ways to catch catfish, depending on the fishing equipment you are using. However, a common method used is the slip-sinker rig. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to catch catfish located near bottom with a slip-sinker rig technique.

Step 1: Thread a sinker on the mainline

Step 2: Add a bead

Step 3: Tie the mainline to one end of a swivel

Step 4: On the other end of the swivel is a hook and a 1-2 ft. monofilament leader

Step 5: Leave the rig at the bottom for some minutes or hours

Step 6: Draw the rig back and remove the catfish with a plier


If you’ve always wanted to learn how to catch catfish, this beginner’s guide has helped so much to put you in the right way. With the ideal equipment, you shouldn’t have a problem catching this slippery type of fish.