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Bait 'n' Rig Tricks For Catching Big Catfish In Rivers

It's not just "lore" of the American South... the biggest catfish live in rivers.

In North America catfish-filled rivers are plentiful throughout, except for the extreme north.

Depending on where on the continent you are fishing, the most plentiful species will be Channel Cats, Blue Cats, and/or Flathead Catfish.

Blues and Channel Catfish live in similar areas, but the Flatheads are the "oddball" of the bunch with their own habitat and tendancies.

One thing to note: almost all catfish species prefer darker than normal conditions, and tend to hang out in deeper waters with a lot of structure.

Old School Fishing Secrets

Unusual Catfish Fishing Tricks Trigger More Strikes From Monster Hogs...

...and they're all inside my "Catchin' Catfish Like Crazy" email newsletter publication...

In the next issue, you'll discover:

  • How to tweak 3 unusual catfish-catching "rigs" so you catch bigger catfish like clockwork.
  • A neat way to trigger savage catfish strikes in "hot holes" that exist in every river.
  • Strange "little "balls" that can create a catfish feeding frenzy when you toss 'em into the water.
  • And more...

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Because they love these low-light conditions, "night time is the right time" to catch catfish... and it's really the best time to fish for them.

Now, the current in the river can be your friend, or your enemy...it all depends on your approach.

Usually, catfish like a pretty solid flow, so working with the current is your best shot at catching 'em.

Choose a heavy, sinking bait for fishing in the current. (or choose a heavy enough sinker weight to get that baid down to the waiting cats...)

You can also use jugs or trotlines to cover a lot of water, and get your baits in the "bite zone".

Trotline Fishing For River Catfish

With trotlines, you strech line across a span of the river and secure both ends (to trees, docks, whatever you can tie each end to. Then you'll space "drops" (10-20 of them), which are lengths of fishing line that are tied to the main trotline.

Throw at least 2 hooks on each (if legal).

You want to get the center drops down deep in the channel towards the bottom, and as the drops move from center they come up to follow the contour of the bottom channel.

Keep all drops near the bottom, and the catfish.

Jug Fishing For Catfish

With jug fishing, you'll use a number of jugs (which act as floats), each with a baited line suspended unerneath them.

Use different drop lengths on each jug to cover a lot of water... and also vary the baits between jugs.

If you decide to go with a rod and reel, make sure you are using the right gear and tackle based on the size/strength of the catfish in the area, and the strength of the currents.

Shore Fishing

When fishin ga river from shore, use a sliding ledger (or slipweight), for weighting your line... without creating a stop between the bait and the end of your rod.

This is a great system from fishing rivers because heavy sinkers help you battle the current. (All while the bait is floating free, naturally... and it is linked to the rod tip and NOT the sinker.) The downside is the current pull may life the bait away from the fish.

Boat Fishing

If fishing from a boat, try a sinkerless heavy bait, and drift fish it through holes and troughs at the bottom where the big boys hang out.

Try floating downstream from above the deep holes...bait in tow, and let lots of line out...and let it flow naturally near the bottom, so it goes right by the big catfish.

As for bait, the big ones love dead fish (or stink baits), with flatheads behing the only live-prey hunters of the 3 main catfish species.

Keep in mind that all of these species get around using their sense of smell (and touch). So... any bait you choose should have a strong scent to it.

Cut baits and stink baits work well... along with chicken liver, cheese, soap bait, bacon, hot dogs, and many, many more.

For flatheads use live bait fish.

Quick Tip: chumming an area of water a day before hittin that spot is a great way to fill it with ready-to-feed catfish.

Finally, always check your local fishing regulations about trotlining, jug fishing, and chumming... laws vary by region.

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