Successful catfish catchers know where the cats are, what they want to eat, and which method of angling will put the catfish on their tables.

Depth checking and pattern fishing like Allen O’Dell does also can work for the jug catfisherman. By putting out jugs with short lines and long lines, an angler soon can determine which jugs are getting the most action and re-rig his containers to hold the baits at the optimum depth. Not only is learning to fish depths critical to catching cats, but knowing where the catfish like to be in swift water is another cat-catching key.

One summer, my family and I knew there were cats in the swift-moving creek where we were camping. But after fishing an entire day in varying depths with different baits, we still had only two catfish to show for our efforts – not much for our family to eat that evening. On a reconnaissance trip I’d made earlier downstream, I located a large boulder midstream. The water washed around the rock, leaving a pool on the backside. Because this spot was the only place we hadn’t tried, we decided to test the pool with our rods, reels and red worms. We found catfish stacked behind that rock like cordwood, and each cast brought a cat to the shore. In a short time, we had all the catfish we wanted to clean for supper. Catfish aren’t usually current fighters. They prefer to stay just off the current, swim-out in the current to grab food and then return to the sanctuary of the slower-moving water.

For more catfishing tips, check out my guide on the best catfish baits.

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