Catfishing in Ponds

The Catfish You’ll Find in Ponds
The three most common catfish species you are likely to find when catfishing in ponds are the channel catfish, the flathead catfish and the blue catfish. The channel is the smaller of the three and the one you are more likely to catch. The flathead and the blue catfish can grow to huge sizes. You would normally expect to catch a 20 pounder, but the largest flathead ever caught was 5ft long and weighed 124lb. You never know what may be lurking in those murky waters!

So What do they Eat?
Each of these catfish have different eating habits and therefore this will affect your approach to catching them. Because the channel catfish tend to eat bugs off the surface of the pond or forage for dead fish, they are easier to catch. Flatheads are very active feeders having a large appetite which also makes them easy to catch. The blue catfish is a fussier more discerning eater and thus harder to find, you will have to choose your bait more carefully to snag this wonderful creature.

Landing the smaller Channel Catfish
If you are going after the smaller channel catfish use ultra-light fishing tackle. You may want to take several rods with you and have them soaking at the same time. You should make sure the drags are set loose on the reels, this ensures the fish can swim off with the bait hooking themselves in the process. As soon as the fish takes the bait, tighten the rod down to feel the pressure then start fighting the fish. This should keep the fish hooked.

Here’s a couple of hints to make it easier to catch these fish

  • Allow your bait to soak for a while
  • Chum the water – You can use dog food or cornflakes mashed with peanut butter to bring the fish to you

During the summer, fish early morning or during the evening
You will get even better results if you fish after nightfall

Want to Catch a Larger Beast?
Fishing for the larger flathead or blue catfish you should take a medium action fishing rod. You can use either a spinning or baitcasting reel. Do not use a single hook as these larger cats will easily remove the bait from these without getting hooked. Use a treble hook, once the catfish bites on one of these they can’t escape.

Fancy a bit of Noodling for a Change?
If you want to keep things simpler and you are braver than me try noodling for your catfish. Make sure it’s legal in your state. You will catch flatheads this way as they live in holes or under brush in ponds and rivers living a fairly static life. The noodler goes underwater places his hand inside a suspected catfish hole. The catfish should swim forward and latch onto his hand. If the fish is particularly large, the noodler can hook the hand around its gills. Thankfully catfish don’t have teeth. If there is any danger, it’s not from the catfish, beware, you may stumble across some other nastier beast instead!

Happy fishing!

Hank Roberts