Cold Water Catfish
One of the most well known species of fish worldwide is the Catfish. Anglers enjoy catching them as much as consumers like eating them. They are sought after by anglers for many reasons, but most of all they are so much fun to catch. The catfish live in almost any type of water and can be found all over the world. Many anglers believe that catfish taste even better when they are caught in the cold water of winter, which is one reason why winter catfish fishing is becoming more popular in the southeast.
The three most common catfish are the Blue Catfish, Flathead Catfish and Channel Catfish or River Catfish as some call it. Each one of these species has their own unique qualities that make them the favorite of different fishermen. The blue catfish is the most common and the easiest to locate and catch in any season. Anglers can fish for them anytime of the year. The flathead catfish are considered hard to catch because of their wide head and flat tail they can put up an aggressive fight. Many anglers enjoy the sport of the challenge of fishing for this species of catfish for this reason. The channel catfish are the most versatile and can adapt to their environment quickly. The Channel catfish, also known as the “River Cat”, are known for their tender and tasty meat. They are not only a culinary treat but also a popular sport fish. These are a common aquarium fish as well.
Before you go fishing for catfish it is suggested that you spend some time understanding the nature of the fish. Catfish are omnivorous by nature and have a very keen sense of smell. This means that they eat a variety of different types of food and they are highly attracted to any food with a strong odor. The size of the catfish will affect what they eat. Larger catfish eat other smaller fish. The fish they eat can be either dead or alive as the catfish are not very picky. The smaller catfish eat a diet of organisms that live on the bottom of the water. Frogs, insects, algae, crayfish, and worms are also on the menu of the catfish. The different seasons have an affect the food source of the cats because some foods are more abundant during summer and fall seasons than they are during the winter.
The habitat of the common catfish includes inlets, banks, coves, ledges and similar drop off areas. In the winter they live closer inland relating to structure than they do of the rest of the year. Regardless of the season you are fishing in they will be located near or on the bottom of the body of water. Catfish will also be grouped together in schools and can be found in some of the most diverse places so don’t overlook any area. The winter months can be the best time to catch catfish. There is less competition and bigger catfish to catch. This is why ice fishing for catfish is becoming very popular. In the areas that freeze to safe ice this approach has proven successful for catching catfish. Artificial attractants seem to have an even greater affect in cold water.
One of the most preferred methods for fishing for catfish is known as “jugging”, this method consist of trying baited hooks onto several empty containers or jugs, and then trolling at night checking the jugs for a catfish that has been hooked. Winter catfish jugging as well as Ice Fishing for cats has gained popularity over the last few years and it a rewarding way for some to enjoy fresh catfish fillets in the dead of winter. For others it gives opportunity to be in the outdoors all year enjoying the sport that many love best. Any time you are fishing in or near cold water, use caution to avoid exposure. Keep dry and warm and be safe. Always wear a PFD when fishing cold water.
I hope these tips help you to beat the winter blues by inspiring you to get out on the water and fishing for winter whisker fish. For tips like this and more for Catfishing visit Christopher Harper at: www.catfishingjournals.com
Special Thanks to Charles Alan Butler for the use of his picture (top).
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