Catfishing Tips: Bait, Location, Time And How

Popular baits and catfishing techniques including how too bait a hole, what to bait it with and tips on how to rig your line.

Catfish are known scavenger fish that are attracted to any number of baits. The following is a list of common baits known to catch catfish:

Live and cut perch

Live and cut shad




Chicken liver

Beef Liver

Chicken hearts

Beef heart

Prepared stink baits


Ivory soap (yes, this really says ivory soap)

Salt pork

Hot dogs

Where to catch catfish

All rivers, lakes and creeks in the South have catfish in them. Some of the better lakes in the Dallas area are Cedar Creek Lake, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Ray Hubbard, Lake Lewisville, White Rock Lake, Lake Richland Chambers and, better known for its bass fishing than its catfishing, is Lake Fork.

All of these lakes have good access to bank fishing, and plenty of boat ramps for launching a boat. They also have numerous creeks that flow into them. Creeks are good places to catfish because of all the food and freshwater they provide. Some of the best catfishing you can find is at the mouth of a creek where it runs into the lake after a big rain.

When to catch catfish

You can catfish at anytime day or night; however, there are certain times that are better than others. Catfish feed more often at night than during the day. A good time to go at night is when there is no moon. Some people will disagree with this and prefer to go on a full moon night. All I can say is go fishing during all phases of the moon and you be the judge.

It's always good to go catfishing after a big rain and fish the swift water in a creek or river. Also, a cloudy or rainy day is a good time to go. I like to go on a windy, cloudy day during the spawn and fish the wind blown banks. This is a good time to catch some big cats.

How to rig for catfish

Rigging up for catfish is about as simple as it gets. For fishing in still water, tie a hook on a leader about eighteen inches from the end of your line, then tie a half ounce ball sinker on the end of the line. This will keep the bait a foot or so off the bottom and allow the wave action to move the bait.

For swift water or drift fishing, slide an egg sinker onto the line, tie on a barrel swivel, then tie on a leader about eighteen inches long. This will allow the bait to move around in the current or to bounce along as it is being dragged.

Always use a hook comparable to the size of fish you are expecting to catch. A 3/0 or 4/0 hook is about right for your average size catfish.

Baiting a hole for catfish

A good way to get the catfish biting is to bait a hole or an area that you want to fish. To do this you will need to go to a feed store and buy some grain to soak. Milo, horse and mule feed, or even oats are good choices. Get a five gallon bucket with a good tight lid. Now pour the grain in the bucket and run water in the bucket until the grain is covered with water. Put the lid on real tight and let the grain soak for several days until it has soured. (Check the grain after the first 24 hours to make sure you still have plenty of water in the bucket as the grain needs to stay good and moist to sour). After the grain has soaked for three to four days, it's ready to be used.

Take a coffee can, dip out a can full of the grain and throw it out into the area you are going to fish. Take care as it only takes a couple of cans to attract the catfish. Sometimes it may take an hour or so to draw the catfish in. You can do this in several places and move from one place to another as the fishing slows in one place.

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