Channel catfish is the smallest among the three main types of catfishes but the most challenging to keep it hooked and trapped. Ask any angler, and they will agree in no time that if you want to face the highest thrill while fishing, you need to target channel catfish. Channel catfish fishing, therefore, is favorite among the anglers, the most skilled ones, one because it’s a true-blue gamefish, hard to trap, but you enjoy the fight and pull, two, it proves to be a delicious fry fish, and last but not least, they are a specimen pretty abundant in several water bodies.
Rather than expecting to hook a big fish, you can count on catching moderate-sized fish continuously, one after another. And that is the best part about channel catfish angling.
Best Period to Catch the Channel Catfish
Summer is the best period to catch the channel catfish. That too, they are available in abundance during this period as it is their pre-spawning point. The water remains a little warm, and channel catfish love a warm temperature than the low heat. As we highlighted the summer season, we must also mention that channel catfish are found all year round, even in icy cold water.
As the channel catfish are into warmer weather, you must start catching them a couple of hours right after the sun has already set and the water is still not too cold, not too warm, just the right temperature, or right before the sun is about to set.
Keep on Searching for The Channel Catfish
Keep in mind that channel catfish will not come to you getting allured by your lure. You will have to take the bait towards it and allure it by taking the lure deeper and almost in front of its mouth.
You can surely angle channel catfish sitting at the shore or the bank of the river, pond, or any water body but hopping on the boat and roaming the water body filled with channel catfish is also a great idea, the better idea, to be frank. Don’t waste your time in just one stop for too long. A mere fifteen minutes pass without catching a channel catfish must tell you that you have to go on a search.
Channel Catfish Equipment Arrangement
The Fishing Rod
What you need for catching channel catfish is pretty much given. We have talked about it being a gamefish, hard to obtain. Also, it’s a fish not too big, but you can catch plenty of them. So, you will need a long rod for apparent reasons, and it has to be light too.
- The long rod will help you to cast further. You can pitch and shoot accurately, closer to the gamefish for it to lap the bait up. And even if the predator fish try to roam around aggressively in the water after well-hooked, managing the long rod will be easier and convenient.
- Then, continuous fishing of the channel catfish will lead you to hold it for too long. So, when the rod is light, it will be easy on your hands, and you can hold it continuously without fatiguing your arms.
- Coming to the rod tip, better you choose a rod with a sensitive tip. It’s a small fish, and you might mostly shoot far away. Unless your rod has a sensitive tip and immediately warns you about the bait being taken, you will fail to realize it, and the fish will be long gone.
- Choose a rod made with a combination of different materials. That is what makes it firm, accurate, and sensitive yet lightweight.
- So, to be precise, get a 7–8-inch lightweight rod with a sensitive tip.
The Fishing Reel
We always talk about combo rod and reel because a reel must complement the rod as if they have a life of their own to converse with and understand each other.
- For catching this challenger, you need a fishing reel with a perfect drag system. There is no need for a heavy fishing reel that winds up a ton of line. Keep the reel lightweight too.
- Precise pressure on the fishing line and control over it is supremely crucial for a safe and successful channel catfish catch. It never should be like the fish is vehemently trying to escape, and your reel just doesn’t let you hold the line. Instead, it overruns.
- We prefer a bait cast reel for angling multiple channel catfish, the low-profile ones, instead of the spinning reel. The reason- it combats overrun or backlash of the spool with its unique braking system while you cast.
- Any low-profile bait cast fishing reel will work, but make sure it makes the right combo with your fishing rod.
The Fishing Line
The first condition we want to mention is the line being lightweight. It should be nothing new, to be honest. We have talked about keeping the rod and reel lightweight. The fishing line just follows. Precisely the light, sturdy fishing line. Not the one so light and cheap that it breaks with a slight pull by a small fish.
So, more than monofilament, we prefer the fluorocarbon fishing line for catching channel catfish. The fluorocarbon ones are a little stiff and have better sensitivity. All this makes fluorocarbon our preference in angling channel catfish. Try a 15-20 lbs. test fishing line and about 18-20 inches leader length.
The Fishing Hook
It has to be sharp, as sharp as a hook can be. Unlike other fish species, channel catfish has a thicker, hard mouth which is arduous to pierce and hook the fish unless it’s too sharp. You will lose the fish if you are compromising with the hook quality and type. We prefer treble hooks, a size 6, to be precise.
Treble hooks are known for hooking fishes in such a way that they hardly can escape, very unlikely to the circle hooks. Do not try big hooks. Nor the small ones. Blindly follow us when we say the all-rounder #6 fishing hook will do the job of hooking channel catfish just the right way. Big fishing hooks will not fit the small mouths of the channel catfish, and the smaller ones will not be as effective to pierce the hard mouth; instead, the fishes might gulp it and get killed in the process. So, the #6 treble hook will be for us, for angling channel catfish.
The channel catfish loves the smelly stuff as their bait. Also, they are opportunistic feeders and prefer a good meal. They can be pretty selective when it comes to feeding themselves, and looking at the distinct stuff they get attracted to, the statement remains true. But they can be pretty basic, too, knowing that you can prey on them with a mere minnow or nightcrawler. Talking about the distinct bait, you can take a piece or morsel of chicken breast, liver, steak, or pork meat and use it as a channel catfish bait.
They will give up on those distinct baits, no matter whether the bait is live, disgustingly wriggling or dead, stinking bad. Also, keep in mind that the preference in foods changes for the channel catfish every season. Hence, if they are not taking a particular bait that you thought was the best, check; it’s mostly a different season now.
The Rig We Prefer – Santee Cooper Rig
Santee Cooper Rig is one of the most commonly used rigs in catching the channel catfish. It’s a better version of the Carolina rig, to be more accurate.
Things You Will Need
- A bullet sinker
- A small bead
- A swivel
- A peg float or bobber
Step by Step Guide of Setting Up the Santee Cooper Rig
- Take the main fishing line end, and we assume you have wind it up on the reel and then have taken it through all the rings of the rod. And now you have the line end dangling from the sensitive tip.
- Insert the bullet sinker first through the dangling mainline. It will be on the mainline, 10-12 inches far from the hook.
- Now the same way, pass the line end through the bead and the swivel.
- Take your leader line and knot it with the swivel. An improved clinch knot will work just fine to tie the swivel with the line end. Keep in mind the three components will stick together after you have hooked them on the mainline.
- Now take the leader line and tie it to the other side of the swivel. Use the same knot this time as well.
- Your leader line is tied with the mainline through the swivel. Now take the other end of the leader line and take it through the peg float.
- The distance between the peg float and the hook must be no more than 2 inches. So, after you have lined the peg float, tie the treble hook with your favorite knot with the line end.
- Pull the hook with one hand and the float with the other, gauge the distance and when it’s 2-inch, just insert the peg to lock the peg float in its place.
- Add any of your favorite bait to the hook, and your Santee Cooper Rig is ready to catch multiple channel catfish.
The perfect location and having ample channel catfish there are not enough. You will have to know to explore the right spots of that very location to catch multiple preys. Now you know what equipment you need and how to set it all up the best way. So, use it along with your best technique, timing, and location, and have a fun channel catfish fishing experience.