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Night Fishing For Catfish – Enticing Trophy Catfish Into A Feeding Frenzy!
Equipment you will need:
- a boat
- Boat anchors
- A separate 12V battery to run the lights
- Night lights
- Underwater lighting
- Live bait keeper
- Chum bag Rod Holders
- Casting a heavy bait or spinning rig
- Insect repellent
Night fishing for catfish can be very rewarding fishing. Trust me if you do it right you will catch fish, not only will you catch fish but some will bite! Catfish feed at night and are very active, and when they go into feeding, the fishing can be incredible! Catfish are attracted to underwater lights and have a very keen sense of smell. So if you can find their nocturnal attractions, you can attract them to your hook with a few simple methods that I will explain here. But first you need to prepare and prepare for night fishing, it is completely different at night than during the day. What you take for granted during the day, do not use at night.
Setting up the boat for night fishing
Before you even think about fishing for catfish at night, you should have the following items: lights inside the boat, battery or Coleman fuel-type flashlights with two mantles. Adjust your lights so that they evenly distribute the light inside the boat. I personally fish from a 20 foot pontoon and have 3 halogen battery powered lights hanging 2 forward, left and right and one hanging from my canopy at the back. (I used my Colemans, but they attract a lot of insects)
You will also need secondary lighting on your person. This lamp is used for re-rigging your fishing poles. Trust me, no matter how prepared you are before you start your trip, you’re going to run into some obstacles, from crossing lines, thunder, or catching fish. (You can limit this by using a heavy tackle and making sure your line is fresh) I personally use a led light attached to my ball cap.
You will also need a light to illuminate the surface of the water, I recommend a 12v halogen light that can be pointed outside the boat. Install it on the side of your boat in the center. I personally use and adjustable halogen that I can clip to the railing of my pontoon. Aim the light at a 60 degree angle from the boat into the water. This will lighten the surface.
You will need a recessed light source. You are probably asking yourself now why do I need an underwater light? Underwater lights create plankton eddies that attract baitfish. Once the baitfish start learning, the big cats will come. Attracting Schools Underwater light fixtures come in a variety of sizes and shapes, I use a 36″ long one about 4″ in diameter. Place the submersible light in the surface water light pattern you just set up. Attach your underwater light about 12″ off the bottom, (without an anchor they would float on top of the water). Attach the underwater light about 2-3 feet from the boat.
You’ll need a secondary power source for a submerged light, a water light bulb, and your aerator pump to run your live bait or live well.” Don’t use your boat’s power supply” It will drain your battery.” Want to be stranded on the lake at night? If you take a well-charged 12v marine as your second source battery, it will last all night.
You will need all your poles pre-rigged if you have rigs, I would rig 3 poles per person before getting on the water. The reason I suppose is that it is a real pain to “empty” re-forge at night. You’re going to do it anyway, but if you already have spare poles set up, use them before you have valuable waist time out of the water with poles.
Determining the cat’s nighttime accommodation
It has been my experience that big cats roam the shoreline or backwaters at night to forage. Every body of water will be different. I highly recommend that you do your research on the body of water you plan to fish for nightfish. At the very least, get a topographical map of the area before you travel. They can be obtained at any local bait and tackle store in the area. (I suggest you visit one of these shops to still get the local scoop, if you dig deep enough these guys can map the point where you should start fishing. It saves a lot of time.)
Attracting cats to your boat.
Once your surface lights and underwater lights are set up and ready to go, you don’t even need to do the next step, you’re ready to start fishing. Underwater lights will attract schools of baitfish, but I’ve taken it a step further, because if you play lotto with the fish’s hyper-sensitive sense of smell, you can send the big cats into a feeding frenzy! well you say how
Well the answer is to introduce “chumming”. Chumming removes the smell of dead fish and fish guts that small baitfish and catfish feed on. There are many commercial trapping systems that you can buy and they work very well, but I use a simple, very cheap method that anyone can install. First, you will need a nylon mesh bag that you can seal tightly. (a good example is the mesh bags you put golf balls in that have adjustable string closures) This is what I use, works great, very cheap. Next, get a good sized freezer bag, 3 should do for an overnight trip.
Next, buy about 2 dozen good-sized pieces and cut them into 1″ to 2″ pieces, making sure to do this in a pan that won’t squeeze out all the juices. Fill freezer bags and juice all together and leave them in the sun for the day. Yes, it smells to high heaven by the end of the day, but that’s what you want! Now tie the freezer bag inside a mesh bag that can be sealed. Close the bag tightly and tie a line to the bottom of the bag about 2 feet long. Attach about a 2-pound clip to the bottom of the bag. Now attach the line to the top of the bag with enough lead line to reach the bottom of the bag. Now, before you drop the bag down, grab an ice pick, or something sharp that will puncture the bag but not destroy the plastic. Hit the freezer bag a few times, then pull it down and secure it to the side of the boat.
Now it’s time to fish! But before we go there, let’s revisit your catfish equipment. There are many catfish rigs you can use and they all work in the situations they are designed for. When fishing at night and sinking light rigs, you want your line about 2 feet from the light source, close to the outer edges of the source beam.
You will only be fishing a short distance from the boat, so your rigs should be set up to fish close to the boat. You can fish with a tight line with a basic hook and a small sinker. Or use a slip bobber system. I prefer to use a slip bobber system.
I use a single hook ring. Both of the devices shown in the illustration work well, but I prefer only one hook. I use a double hook rig when fishing for other types of fish. I use all heavy duty, open face and spin cast rod and wheels with 30 pound test. When you get a lanker on your lane, you want to tackle the fight. You will miss a few small cats but it will be worth it when you catch your first 10lb plus catfish.
Use of bait
Both channel and blue catfish will eat almost any small fish such as suckers, small shad or bluegills, both live and dead. I use both live bait and dead “cut bait” I usually rig a single pole with a small live jig no more than 3 inches long. My other poles will be bait cut baits, usually LARGE suckers 6″ or longer cut in 1″ to 2″ pieces.
Now grab your rigs, get your boat and get ready for some exciting night fishing for catfish! Once you catch a lunker for £10+ you’re hooked for life! So have fun and good luck!
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