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Are you interested in learning how to catch blue catfish? Blue catfish grow to be large and are voracious feeders that feed at the bottom. They will put up a hard fight when caught. It is native to the Mississippi River basin but has been introduced into other areas.
In this article, we discuss how to catch blue catfish, the best fishing methods, the bait, lures, fishing tackle, and fishing tips to take more blue catfish home.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Catch Blue Catfish
- 2 Best Baits For Blue Catfish
- 3 Best Lures For Blue Catfish
- 4 Blue Catfish Fishing Tackle
- 5 Fishing Rigs For Blue Catfish
- 6 How To Catch Blue Catfish In A Lake
- 7 How To Catch Blue Catfish From Shore
- 8 How To Catch Blue Catfish In Winter
- 9 How To Catch Blue Catfish In The Fall
- 10 How To Catch Blue Catfish In A Pond
- 11 How To Catch Blue Catfish In Rivers
- 12 How To Catch Blue Catfish In Chesapeake Bay
- 13 Blue Catfish vs Channel Catfish
- 14 Blue Catfish Fishing Tips
- 15 The Bottom Line
How To Catch Blue Catfish
Blue catfish eat almost anything and are often found at the bottom preying on crayfish, crabs, herring, shad, and other baitfish. Live bait and artificial lures work well when fishing for blue catfish. As bottom feeders, anglers implement fishing methods that are effective in blue catfish such as bottom fishing, drift fishing and still fishing.
1. Bottom Fishing
Bottom fishing is the fishing method in which the bait or lure is dropped to the bottom and sometimes dragged to get the attention of the fish. When there is a bite, the angler will set the hook and reel in the catch. Anglers often use bottom bouncing when implementing bottom fishing. With bottom bouncing, the bait is bounced at the bottom to attract the target.
2. Drift Fishing
Drift fishing is another fishing method that is used by anglers to catch blue catfish. When drift fishing, the boat moves over the water by the current. As it moves, the bait drifts along the water and attracts the fish under the boat and in the area. Drift fishing allows you to cover a lot of water and gives you the opportunity to catch a variety of fish as you move over different habitats.
3. Still Fishing
Still fishing is also used by anglers when fishing for blue catfish. When still fishing, you simply drop the bait into the water, sit and wait for a strike.
When still fishing you do absolutely nothing else. There is no movement of the fishing line to attract the attention of fish. The scent of the bait permeates the water and quickly gets the attention of fish in the area. Still fishing is a good fishing method for beginners who are learning how to catch blue catfish.
Baitcasting is one of the popular and widely used fishing methods when fishing for blue catfish. Anglers usually cast their lines into the water and retrieve them. This is done repeatedly until they get a strike. Fishing rods with lengths from 7 ft and longer are used to help cast farther.
Best Baits For Blue Catfish
Shad is baitfish that blue catfish prey on at the bottom and it works well as bait when you are learning how to catch blue catfish.
Live herring works well as bait for blue catfish and is more effective when it is live and turned into cut baits. This combination is very effective when fishing for blue catfish.
3. Peeler Crabs
Peeler crabs are very effective as bait for blue catfish as they prey on crabs at the bottom. When you are learning how to catch blue catfish, peeler crabs will be a good bait to use when fishing.
Menhaden is also a good bait that is used by anglers to catch blue catfish.
Crayfish is one of the prey of blue catfish and it works well when you are fishing for blue catfish. It is also easy to use as bait when you are learning how to catch blue catfish.
6. Blue Crabs
Blue crabs are also good bait for catching blue catfish.
Mussels work well as bait for blue catfish as they prey on mussels, crayfish, crabs, and other baitfish at the bottom.
Best Lures For Blue Catfish
Jigs can be used to catch blue catfish when they move into deeper water. However, anglers use more bait when fishing for blue catfish than lures.
Blue Catfish Fishing Tackle
There are many options for tackle when fishing for blue catfish. Blue catfish are ferocious fighters. They will give you a hard battle as they don’t want to leave the water. Therefore you will need a strong line and a heavy tackle. A medium heavy-action tackle with at least a 30 lb test will get the job done when learning how to catch blue catfish.
Additionally, a heavy leader is needed to prevent blue catfish from breaking the line. A reel with a minimum of 200 yds of line will work when fishing for blue catfish. Some anglers use braided lines while others swear by monofilament lines. If you opt for braided lines, it should be at least one with a 50 lb test and for mono, it should be no less than a 17 lb test.
Fishing Rigs For Blue Catfish
1. The Carolina Rig
The Carolina rig is one of the popular rigs used by anglers for many species of fish. It is best used when the body of water is slow-moving. The parts of a Carolina rig are the leader, swivel, and sliding weight. With the Carolina rig, the fish can easily pull the line freely if you use the bait-feeding option on the reel.
2. The 3-Way Rig
The 3 Way rig is ideal for areas with many snags. It also works well for fishing with live bait. The 3-way rig does not slide up or down the line and this allows you to cast far off. It consists of a 3-way swivel with a leader and the line with the weight at the bottom. Additionally, this rig is usually used in bodies of water with fast-moving currents since it avoids entanglement.
3. Santee Cooper Rig
Besides the float that is attached to the leader, the Santee Cooper rig is awesomely similar to the Carolina rig. This rig keeps your bait out of the muddy bottom. It can prove to be very effective when the fish is a little higher in the water column and not at the bottom. Live or dead bait can be used with this rig.
How To Catch Blue Catfish In A Lake
There are many areas on a lake that can hold blue catfish. Points, deep holes, windy banks, and coves are prime targets for blue catfish.Here is a tip: if you are on the banks of the lake at a spot where the wind is blowing straight into your face, that is a good area to target for blue catfish.
Why? The wind will blow baitfish and other nutrients into the shoreline and this food source will attract blue catfish.
Points are good areas for casting into deep water. When you are not getting any luck in shallow waters, focus on points to get your baits deeper into the water column. Coves attract blue catfish as small baitfish like to gather in coves. This attracts blue catfish as this is an easy food source for them to target. Target from the back to the mouth of the cove for blue catfish.
Casting is one of the popular ways anglers fish for blue catfish on lakes. However, if it is a large lake, you can use a boat to drift fish, bottom fish, and also still fish.
How To Catch Blue Catfish From Shore
You can target blue catfish from the shore. Whether it is fishing from the shores of lakes, rivers, or ponds, you can find spots where they may be holding out and cast your bait there. Deep holes, points, coves, and windy banks are some of the areas to target when fishing for blue catfish from the shore.
When fishing for blue catfish from the shore, move around and observe if the wind is blowing into your face from the spot where you are standing. If the wind is blowing in your face, you have found a gold mine.
The wind also blows baitfish and other marine life into that direction and blue catfish will go to that area for an easy meal, and lots of meals. Cast into that area to catch blue catfish. You can use rods with a length of 8 ft or more to allow you to cast very far when fishing from the shore. Heavy spinning tackle is the best option when fishing from the shore, but baitcasting tackle also works.
How To Catch Blue Catfish In Winter
During winter blue catfish will go deeper in the water column and seek cover to ambush baitfish. Rocks, logs, fallen trees, ledges, and other structures will be areas to target. Use fish finders, sonar devices, and ice fish finders to help locate where blue catfish are congregating.
Once you have areas to target, you drop your bait in that area and wait for a bite. Baitcasting and bottom fishing are fishing methods often used by anglers to catch blue catfish during winter.
How To Catch Blue Catfish In The Fall
During fall, blue catfish are faced with new sets of challenges. there will be fewer baitfish as they die when the water temperature starts to drop. Because of this change, there is less food for the catfish. Blue catfish will move from shallow water to deeper water as we move from fall to winter.
Use cut baits to target blue catfish that are settled deep in the water column. Bottom fishing, drift fishing, and baitcasting are fishing methods that are used to catch blue catfish.
How To Catch Blue Catfish In A Pond
Fishing for blue catfish in a pond is similar to fishing in a lake or river. Choosing the right equipment and bait is crucial to a successful fishing trip. Light tackle will work for a pond and the regular baits used will also work for a pond. Live bait and cut baits will work when fishing from a pond. Baitcasting is the popular fishing method anglers use when fishing for blue catfish in a pond. Cast out your line, after it reaches the bottom, reel it back in.
How To Catch Blue Catfish In Rivers
When fishing for blue catfish in rivers, you can target structures, eddies, deep holes, and river mouths. Fallen trees, piers, rocks, barges, and sunken logs are structures to target when fishing for blue catfish on rivers.
The mouths of rivers are a great place to target blue catfish and many other species of fish as they hang around the mouth for baitfish. Many baitfish will travel through the mouth of a river and this is an easy spot to feed on baitfish. Find the bait and you will find blue catfish as they eat almost anything.
Blue catfish will move deeper in the water column during winter. Targeting deep holes will help you find blue catfish as they will settle in there preying on baitfish. You can also target blue catfish in current breaks as they wait in ambush in the current breaks for baitfish. When fishing for blue catfish in rivers, you can use a number of fishing methods like baitcasting, drift fishing, and bottom fishing.
How To Catch Blue Catfish In Chesapeake Bay
Blue catfish have been introduced into the Chesapeake Bay for more than two decades now. When fishing for blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay, look for structures that they may use as cover such as channel edges, creek mouths, and flats.
Use the fish finder or sonar device to locate catfish and anchor up-current from where you will be fishing for blue catfish. Deeper holes and channel areas are prime areas to target for blue catfish. Most anglers cast out and retrieve that line when fishing for catfish. This is repeated until they get a bite.
Drift fishing can also be used to catch blue catfish. Bottom fishing is another fishing method that can be used to catch blue catfish on the Chesapeake Bay.
Blue Catfish vs Channel Catfish
|Blue Catfish||Channel Catfish|
|Anal Fin Rays||More, up to 30||
Significantly fewer than Blue Catfish
|Tail||Pointed Tail||Rounded Forked Tail|
|Size||Very large, weighs over 100 lbs||Average size, not more than 30 lbs|
Blue Catfish Fishing Tips
- Blue catfish during spring or summer when the water temperature is between 70 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Blue catfish put up a serious fight when hooked.
3. Blue catfish can be caught all year round with the period between March and May being the best months.
4. Blue catfish are most active at night or in low-light conditions.
5. Blue catfish will take live and artificial bait.
6. Some anglers use bait with a foul odor such as cut herring, mud shad, or menhaden to attract blue catfish.
7. Blue catfish are voracious feeders and target crayfish, blue crabs, shad, and mussels.
8. Blue catfish are bottom dwellers.
9. The defense mechanism of blue catfish includes serrated spinal barbs or spines on their pectoral and dorsal fins that secrete toxins.
10. Live bait is the best bait for catching blue catfish. When learning how to catch blue catfish, use a lot of live bait.
11. Stinky bait works well when fishing for blue catfish. The odor of the bait will attract the catfish. Live bait with an odor is a perfect combination when targeting blue catfish.
12. Blue catfish have a very good sense of smell. As a result, baits with a foul odor will be more effective than regular bait when you are fishing for blue catfish. This is a good tip to remember when you are learning how to catch blue catfish.
13. Blue catfish grow to be big, therefore, use hooks with sizes ranging from 3/0 to 9/0. Circle hooks are the preferred choice for many anglers.
14. From your fish finder, look for areas that are deeper than the rest of the river. Blue catfish will most likely be in that area.
15. Circle hooks are the best hooks to use when fishing for blue catfish.
16. Look for current breaks as blue catfish will be around current breaks in ambush for baitfish.
17. Blue catfish grow large and fight hard. You will need a heavy tackle and a strong line to handle the ferocious fight of a blue catfish.
18. The right tackle and rigs will greatly improve your chances of catching blue catfish. The Carolina rig and the 3-way rig are some of the popular rigs used when fishing for blue catfish.
19. The position of the boat is important when fishing for blue catfish. Always position the boat up-current of the area you want to fish.
20. Tailwaters are a prime spot to target blue catfish and many other species of fish. A tailwater is the section of a river just below a dam. The current is swift in tailwaters and blue catfish, because of their size, can hold their own with the aid of large rocks, eddies, current breaks, and boulders. Baitfish are chopped up by turbines and dumped into the flow thus presenting a food supply for blue catfish.
The Bottom Line
Blue catfish are a favorite of anglers because they are ferocious fighters when caught. They can be caught throughout the year and are bottom feeders. Additionally, they are voracious feeders and will eat almost anything.
The right equipment and bait are needed as blue catfish grow large and will fight you. In this article, we shared information about how to catch blue catfish to help you be successful with catfish fishing. If you fish for flathead catfish, you can also read how to catch flathead catfish, how to catch channel catfish, how to catch white catfish, and catfishing tips.