Night Time Catfishing 101
Night Time Catfishing 101
By Chris MeGee
Night fishing is probably the best way to catch a big catfish. Big catfish feed largely at night and this method of fishing offers the greatest chance of hooking up to the monsters underneath.
Most folks think the moon phases affect the catfish, I personally have much better luck on moonless nights verses full moon nights. The only real benefit of the full moon for me is the fact that you can see your line better and it’s easier to see where you are casting. The most important thing besides having fun is to make sure and be comfortable as possible while you are fishing. As it is night and the bugs do tend to come out, make sure that you have plenty of “Off” or some other type of repellent to keep the pest away. Also some other things you may want to bring along would be: an ice chest with your favorite beverages and maybe a snack or two, also a nice lawn chair and rod holder. A big net is a must as there is a chance of finding the biggest cat of your life and you don’t want a dinky little net for the job.
When night fishing I try not to set out more than two or three rods depending on where I am fishing. From the boat it is a little easier to fish three rods if you have rod holders mounted on the boat where you can have one on each side of you and one in front. Never use less than 20lb test line, I usually string up my CastAway rods with 25-50lb test Stren line. I have found the best hooks for the job are the new Daiichi Bleeding Bait Circle hooks. The red color, even at night, triggers something in the fish that makes them want to bite. I have found that there are a few tricks that need to be learned when fishing with circle hooks compared to regular hooks. Don’t set the hook, just reel or lift the rod slowly. Circle hooks can find “home” by themselves. Choose the smallest size hook you can get by with for faster penetration, I usually try to stay with a small 2/0 to a 4/0 for most catfishing trips. Circle hooks tend to get hooked in the corner of the fish’s jaw; this is great especially at night as it makes getting the hook out of the catfish’s mouth much easier.
You will also want a reel that is strong enough to handle a possibly 100lb plus fish. I personally us Abu Garcia reels, but any really good real will do, this is definitely not the place to scrimp at, with out a quality reel, rod and line you won’t catch that fish of a lifetime.
Bait is a matter of great importance; I generally won’t go night fishing without live bait. I feel that the larger fish didn’t get that way by eating any old smelly think they swim by. Shad or large shiners tend to make the best baits. A really great bait that I have used in other states and I think you can find in some places around here is goldfish. I think the catfish must just hate them because they never come back whole. Also you might want to carry along some good old fashioned night crawlers, catfish of all sizes will gobble them up.
Try night fishing for catfish, you really will have a great time and catch some of the biggest cats you ever have.