Who catfishes from their kayak or canoe?

Last year, while fishing for bluegill using a long ultralight and meal worms for bait (couldn’t use spinners or fly rod because of hydrilla weeds), I began catching two and three pound catfish. Great fun on a 7.6’ ultralight and 6 lb test, especially when the cat buries him self in hydrilla and you pull in the fish and another three pounds of weeds. That started me catfishing on a regular basis, in fact, that’s my primary game these days.

I’ve bass fished most of my life, also fished for bluegills extensively, almost always my fishing was with lure. Can’t say my success rate for fish over 1 1/2 lbs was that great, but since taking up catfishing, have caught plenty over 4, a few 5’s, and a 7 lb blue cat. Gotten so serious about it I bought a castnet so I could feed the kitties what they eat. That has worked well.

So, does anyone else fish for catfish on a regular basis? No catch and release of those bigger than legal size here, they all go into the cornmeal and get fried. Can’t do that with most game fishes these days.

we catch them on occasion…
but usely quite by accident. I’m primarily a smallie-chaser here on the upper reaches of the mid-atlantic. But I shy away from eating anything out of our rivers due the high mercury content and lurking PCBs in the bottom.

I foul hooked a 10 lb channel cat once throwing a jig and pig …they can give you quite a ride to be sure.

Tried it once this year, and will try it again. The canoe I was using is so big and stable, and I was anchored, that I took a little nap while I was at it.

It was a tidal section of the Potomac, and by the time the wind kicked up and the tide shifted, I had a little situation on my hands trying to get the anchor undone and back to shore. Found out later it’s only 4’ deep there and I could have jumped overboard and walked back dragging the boat, which made for a good laugh at my expense back at camp.

  • Big D

PCB’s, dioxin, and mercury are good
reasons to stay away from eating catfish from some lakes and rivers, especially channel catfish. Your Potomac sounds like the lower part of the San Jacinto River and the Houston Ship Channel from where the San Jac empties into it down to the its mouth in Galveston Bay…PCB’s, dioxen, and other nice chemicals from all the refiners and chem plants on the channel. Hardly anyone fishes it anymore because you can’t eat the reds, specks, flounder or crabs, except in limited portions. But, the fishing can be good there.

My preferred method is to drift with my bait on bottom, Carolina rigged with sliding egg sinker. Usually have a 20-30 lb leader. If the wind isn’t heavy, just drift, but if gets up over 15mph, use a drift sock. Winds higher than that, I will anchor. I catch most of mine in 6-10 ft of water, though when its cloudy or a storm is brewing, you’ll find them shallow. Cats can give a very good account of themselves, especially in shallow watter. If they can’t go deep, they’ll battle it out on top, though don’t come completely out of the water like bass.

Accidental but fun…
…I too, catch catfish by mistake when fishing for smallmouth. Usually I am throwing a crankbait or a jig in hot weather, and when something hits that stays low and zig-zags through the water, I know I have a catfish instead of a smallmouth.

I have thrown all of mine back due to environmental concerns. Being at the poor end of a big, dirty river, I don’t know what the c-fish are eating and retaining, so back they go. Maybe some day I will get adventurous, nail one to a board, and do some skinning like mom taught me. Until then, I almost always keep a pliers on hand to help unhook their powerful mouths.

As a die-hard smallmouth fan, I am sorry to admit: a catfish pulls harder and fights longer than the smallmouth in my neighborhood.

Mmm mmm good
My local lake, Utah Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, is great for catfishing, and they are good eating.

The lake is also fouled with 7 million non-native carp (seriously), so I go into the shallows and kill a carp with my pole spear, then fish carp meat right of the bottom for channels, I also use shrimp.

Worms work good also, but are more likely to catch mudcats than channels, or even white bass, which are also good eating.

I have yet to hook up with a BIG channel cat, though, one of these times…

Accordiing to In-Fisherman, shrimp
usually accounts for some of the biggest catfish, mainly channels, reported to the magazine. My best luck for larger catfish has been with bait from my cast net. It is only a 3.5 footer, easy to cast, but I get all the bait I need. Where I’ve been launching lately, most of the baitfish I get in my net have been small sunfish. The live a long time in a floating bait bucket I keep in the water once to the fishing grounds. I use them live and as cut bait. Get the most action on heads with the guts exposed. Also get shad in some places, but can’t keep them alive so use as cut bait. Shad is a good producer, but doesn’t hold up as well to drift fishing. I’ve never caught a catfish on a worm, though have tried.

Believe it or not…
the use of live bait is absolutely forbidden in Utah, so I haven’t played with a cast net (too many bucket biologists doing illegal plantings is the stated reason for the live bait ban, and the ticket for using live bait cost hundreds of dollars in a state where a speeding ticket may be only $50)

I believe it about the shrimp being a top bait, it really works around here, and chicken liver does too but it sucks to handle liver, although one time I used chicken liver in a crawfish trap in Utah Lake, and caught two largish mudcats!

I’m trying to stick with carp meat just to have a reason to thin the numbers, and the carp meat does bring in channels.

I think I could kill my weight in carp every hour on Utah Lake, and never put a dent in them.

Seven frigging million carp.

Carp are a delicacy
In Europe and Asia Carp are highly prized for their meat. If you decide to try to prepare some make sure to keep from getting it wet or soaking it in water. The meat can just fall apart if you get it wet.

The old timers 'round here
harvested the carp in huge numbers.

A free, easy, and seemingly endless supply of protein.

Cubed, in mason jars, used like canned salmon.

No one talks about eating them now.

The state just finished a test project with one full time gill net boat (small boat, crew of three), and determined five boats in five years would make a huge difference.

Some is used for pet food, some for fertilizer, sadly, the rest goes to a landfill.

The fun part is: the gill net crew is sworn to secrecy about the size and number of fish they release (ALL non-carp), so there are rumours swirling about monster sized large mouth, channels, and walleyes, supposedly folks are watching the crew with spotting scopes.

O.k., live baiit may be illegal in Utah,
a sucky law. But, if you can use a castnet to gather bait, then put them in an ice chest, they’ll be dead bait, great for catfish, especially blues and channels. Shad aren’t going to live anyway unless you have a round bait tank and spend about $100 on a life support system. Heads and the mid section are best baits for cut bait. If you can catch sunfish, cut them up into pieces. That’s an alternative if castnets are outlawed. Since I don’t think Utah has any flathead catfish, then live bait is not an issue. But, then, they do allow worms?

To fish liver, the cheapest of store bought baits, you gotta keep it cold. Either cut it into thumbsize pieces or cut up swatches of panty hose, tie the live in the panty hose, and run the hook through it. Hot dogs also work for channels. I’ve caught 4 lb channels on Oscar Meyer cheesy hot dogs, but people tell me the cheap hot dogs work too. Besides, if you keep them cool, what you don’t feed the fishes, you can eat, a yucky thought.

If you can get it, of the commercial prepared baits, Danny Kings appears to be the best. If no one in your area handles Danny Kings, he has a web site, just google Danny King’s Punch Bait. Its not punch, but you punch a # 4 treble down into the bait with a popsicle stick and pull it out. But, in a pinch, slim jims will work too.

It is a sucky law…

– Last Updated: Aug-17-06 2:28 AM EST –

and not a popular one.

The fish I see in the shallows are usually red sided shiners, and I SHOULD gather some, folks do pay good money to buy them around here, and I hear they catch fish.

Um, are far as I can tell, I'm not making this up, worms are legal (and very popular), but I think they are supposed to be dead when fished.

Awww, hell, if the man is gonna' fine me for using a squirming night crawler, so be it.

Actually, I've never heard of anyone being hassled for LIVE worms, I think it's just one of those odd technicalities.

Good tips on liver, but I like the hot dogs and slim jims better, using bait that is also lunch has its advantages.;-)

Sunfish we got, by the kazillion, Deer Creek reservoir.

No flathead here, bullhead (mudcat) and channel, state record on channel is 32lb 8oz, 1978, Utah Lake.

The big records in Utah are at Flaming Gorge, lake trout 51lbs, rainbow trout 26lbs, brown trout 33lbs.

Another suggestion, crayfish, or as

– Last Updated: Aug-17-06 2:40 AM EST –

we in the south call them, crawdads. Your very own Wildlife Resources dept. has advice on how to catch:


Of course, it oriented toward eating the things, a real pain in the rear. But, crayfish are excellent bait. Possibly, that's why the fish like shrimp. Now live crayfish, that's the ticket for smallmouth bass.

Oh, those minnows you see, if you can set out a minnow trap or siene, they make excellent bait even dead. Just put several on the line.

You know, funny you should say that…
I was just up at the Gorge, 4x4’d into a ultra remote spot, (didn’t see anyone on the water in 3 days), all with the intent of getting into the crawfish and using them to night fish for channels.

In the end: it was too cold and blustery at night, and I didn’t have the proper gear for the temps (in a wet ride scupperpro), so I didn’t fish for cats at night, just smallies and rainbows from shore, so I didn’t use dads for bait.

Used 'em for lunch and dinner! Feasted for two days, they are tasty little suckers, and a pain in the butt to handle, cook, and eat. Used salmon cat food for bait.

photobucket of my trip, craw pics are in upper firehole and lowes bay folders.


Canned Tuna as an Attractant

– Last Updated: Aug-17-06 8:44 AM EST –

buy a few cans, punch holes in them top and bottom, and drop them where you're fishing...the tuna in oil will bring the cat's to you.....

Alternative methods...hang a dead chicken from a tree or bush that overhangs the water, and give it a few days...as the maggots develop and fall the area underneath the chicken becomes a fertile fishing spot, and artificial baits will be more effective....

55 Lb cat caught at Guntersville Lake Alabama


Read about Bama Catfishing......


I have a 12 ft Wilderness pungo and my wife has a pamlico we live on the river we went for a 9 mile ride I caught 4 cats 1-3.5 1-3.25 and 2-1.5 2walleyes 1 keeper 1 short 1 smally 1 sucker I troll down stream with crank baits and hold 2 poles under my knees try this and have fun.

Better yet, drift with 4 rods in the
water at the same time. It’ll keep you busy. Yesterday, caught 17 catfish, including a 9 lb channel cat. starting throwing back anything under a couple of pounds.

Not tried it from a kayak
But float fishing from the dock at the back of the house using frankfurters has given plenty of sport.

Ah, the old weiner trick. Done that.
Had my best luck with Oscar Meyer cheese hot dog weiners. The cheese is an added attractant, a proven channel cat love. I’m not sure what channel cats won’t eat, except I’ve never gotten one to take one of those smelly prepared bait concoctions.

Hey, Cockney, what about those Wels catfish? Real monsters.