Gafftopsail Catfish

Gafftopsail Catfish have a unique dorsal fin that looks like sail. These fish are found in bays and coastal waters throughout the Gulf coast. Effective methods for catching Gafftopsail Catfish are bottom fishing, drift fishing and spoon fishing using crabs, shrimp, artificial jigs and spoons.

Gafftopsail Catfish

Region: South
Habitat: Ocean, Bay, Estuary, Canal

How to identify Gafftopsail Catfish

The gafftopsail catfish has a gray-blue to dark brown body, with a pale gray abdomen. They look like any other catfish species; however, their tails are deeply forked. These catfish have venomous spines in their dorsal and pectoral fins. They have a slight hump in their backs on top of which their dorsal fin sits.

Where to catch Gafftopsail Catfish

Gafftopsail catfish can be found in the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod to Panama. They also live in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Look for them in the western coastal areas of Florida in mangroves, along beaches, and in brackish estuaries.

Range: South
Gafftopsail Catfish Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Gafftopsail Catfish:

How to catch Gafftopsail Catfish

The gafftopsail catfish is highly pursued as a game fish. It is very fast and will fight hard when caught. The best method to use when trying to catch these fish is surf fishing, fly fishing, or casting off of piers or jetties. Bottom fishing can also be effective. Anglers should opt for light surf fishing gear. Another option is drift fishing in the ocean near reefs or wrecks. Gafftopsail catfish generally prefer waters that are between 70 to 80 degrees fahrenheit, so those fishing in Florida should plan to fish from April to May or from November to December.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Gafftopsail Catfish:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Gafftopsail Catfish

Gafftopsail catfish will hit on both baits and lures. Small live baits, such as small sand crabs, fiddler crabs, or live shrimps, work quite well. For lures, artificial jigs and worms are good options, as are spoons.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Gafftopsail Catfish: