Catfish are not usually considered finicky eaters. They’ll eat most organic material they find while foraging across the bottom of ponds, lakes and waterways. But don’t be fooled, that doesn’t mean catfish are always easy to catch. Catfish do have preferences. They will feed more aggressively—and are easier to catch—when presented with certain types of baits. Additionally, there are several species of catfish—each with unique feeding habits.
A key to catching catfish is getting the right bait in front of the catfish at the right place at the right time. While most catfish feed along the bottom, a few species feed in the mid-water column. Where most catfish will take just about any bait, a few species—such as the blue catfish—prefer live bait. When selecting bait, make sure you select the bait that is appropriate for the species of catfish you’re targeting.
There are a variety of catfish rigs that will help you get your bait in front of feeding catfish and hold your bait where it will be found. The fishing rig you choose will depend on a number of factors including the quality water (murky vs clear), water conditions, as well as the specific species of catfish you’re targeting. Remember, while most catfish are bottom feeders, a few species feed in the mid-water column. You want to make sure the rig you select will put your bait where catfish feed—and keep it there.
Below we’ve listed the top fishing rigs used for catching catfish. Review the description of each rig to determine which is best suited for the type of catfish you’re targeting.
A versatile rig for fishing natural or artificial bait from shallow to deep water
Ideal for still fishing or drift fishing the bottom for light biting fish such as walleye