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How to Catch Blue Catfish

After you have caught some average size freshwater fish and want to give yourself a real fishing challenge you may want to consider fishing for the Blue Catfish.  It is one of the largest freshwater species of fish and delivers one of the best fishing experiences an angler can ask for.  Because of their large size and fighting nature it is recommended to fish with heavy tackle when fishing for these giants.  If you are unsure as to how to catch catfish, then read our more general article about catfish fishing.  However if you are seeking a real fish story then continue reading about how to catch a Blue Catfish.

Blue Catfish Facts

Catfish are easily recognized by their barbels or “whiskers”, which provide a very important function of feeling for prey and allowing theme to stay anchored in heavy currently.  What might also not be so obvious about catfish is that they have an incredibly good sense of smell.  They have about eight times the smelling power of a typical freshwater bass.  Many angers will use excessively smelly baits when fishing for catfish.  Blue Catfish are no exception, as they are an opportunistic predator that will eat anything dead or alive.   Their typical prey consists of  Crayfish, Mussels, Frogs, Minnows, Shiners and any other plentiful food source at the time.  Bluegill also work very well as bait while fishing for any species of catfish.

The largest recorded catfish ever caught weighed 130 lbs.  Which is a very rare size fish to be taken from freshwater.  Many anglers will use saltwater fishing tackle while fishing for Blue Catfish.

Blue Catfish Fishing Techniques

A variety of techniques can be used while fishing for catfish.  A major point while fishing for any species of catfish is that they are generally located near or at the bottom of the river or pond.  A very common rig while catfish fishing is the three way rig.  This rig consists of  a three way swivel with a weight attached to one eye of the swivel and a size 5 fishing hook attached with fishing line to the other eye of the swivel. 

Live or dead bait can be used.  They can be caught either anchored or drifting from a small boat.  One technique that works well for me is to cast and perform a very slow retrieve on the river floor.  Pay attention to rips or dips in the river bed as the large catfish often find holes where they can find refuge from the fast moving water. 

Fishing Locations

Target locations that have very large slow moving rivers.  Rivers provide the catfish with a steady flow of food which allows them to grow to such massive sizes.  The following rivers and states are ideal places to find Blue Catfish.

  • Mississippi River
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Arkansas

Also find areas with large dams and bridges that form areas where large catfish can hide.

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